05 October, 2013

Email Filters

Since I use a smartphone, I get immediate notifications for emails, like SMS. I've decided I don't want to be notified when Groupon has a new deal, or Amazon has special offers, and only want to be notified of emails personally directed to me. For all other emails, I'll check them at my convenience.

So, I've decided to start using filters. Here's my hierarchy, in increasing priority:
  1. Emails from senders I don't want - straight to trash. This is usually for sketchy companies that don't have proper unsubscribe functions. Use sparingly - try to use only for addresses, not whole domains. Same as blocked addresses in Yahoo email.
  2. Emails from senders I want to read, but don't want to be notified of - Bulk Mail. Skip Inbox. Check often in case important emails get directed here (a receipt instead of an advertisement). Tip - some companies start such emails with ADV or such emails contain "unsubscribe" in their content. You can use these to filter.
  3. All other emails - to Inbox.

Update 26 Oct 13
Ok, you know how things seem to happen after you mention them? You might say it's confirmation bias, but I know this: after I started using filters, I got at least 2 emails from new senders - an "inaugural" newsletter, and an Etsy newsletter. I haven't bought anything from Etsy in 2 years, but they decide to start sending me a newsletter NOW.

Update 28 Oct 13
Ok, seriously? I just got an email from a restaurant I've only been to once, and that was more than 2 years ago.

Update 19 Dec 13
I decided to start using a "disposable" email address, and noticed something funny - Gmail doesn't have such a feature. It's odd because it's quite a well-known feature, so they must be intentionally leaving it out. I suspect Google is eschewing anonymity and disposable address in favour of good filtering and spam detection, which is why their filters are so much better than Yahoo's. Another sign of this is they're slowly forcing people to use their real names in different places, such as on YouTube comments.
Well, Yahoo has disposable addresses, but I chose an impractically long base name in the past, and it seems you can't change it (despite what searches say), so sadly I can't use it. But Yahoo DOES allow a second email address, which is meant to be more permanent, but I can still change twice a year, so it's practically the same for me. Speaking of Yahoo's filters, they're terrible:
  • For blocked addresses, you could block entire domains in the past, now you can't
  • At least you can filter entire domains to Trash, but sometimes my filters don't work
  • You're supposed to be able to sort filters according to the order you want them applied, but they keep jumping back to the order they were created

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