Trouble Managing Your Emails? We Try (and Abandon) UnRoll.Me

For the work-at-home mom, emails can seem like another hassle in an already stressful day.  We often find that between 400-900 emails can come into our inbox, and sorting through them can be overwhelming!

We first tried out the new service UnRoll.Me as an attempt to get our emails under control and get rid of some of the "clutter" that we didn't want to deal with.  The UnRoll.Me site says that it can help you unsubscribe from unwanted emails and help you decide which emails to keep in your inbox.  You can continually tweak your settings so that it knows how to handle new emails that arrive each day.  The thought is that, after a bit, it will know how to handle future emails, with very little maintenance from the email box owner.  But does it work as promised?

I set up my UnRoll.Me account for my Yahoo email, and right away I was impressed.  It showed me all the emails that I had in my inbox (600+), and I went down the list and marked each email as "send to my inbox", "add to rollup", or "unsubscribe."  This thrilled me to no end.  I knew that I had hundreds of email subscriptions arriving daily, but I hadn't had the time or energy to click on each one individually and go through the unsubscription process for each!

As you can guess, I unsubscribed to over 70% of the emails I was getting and indicated that I wanted most of the rest to go to my inbox.  The few that I wanted to stay subscribed to, but only look at once a week or so (like Twitter Direct Message notifications) were put into a "roll-up" that I could check on at my leisure.  It would contain all of the rolled emails into one long digest.

After about a month of using the service, I started noticing two things:

1. My inbox was manageable!  I had very few new messages, and the ones I saw, I actually wanted!
2. Some of my emails were appearing marked as "read", even though I hadn't read or opened them.  I was concerned that my email was hacked, so I reset my password (and the updated it again in the app.)

Happy that I was unsubscribed to all the junk mail, I thought that it was worth the buggy "read" message quirk that I was seeing a few times a day (that never quite stopped).  It wasn't until I accidentally deleted a message from my inbox one day, however, that I figured out what was really going on with

Here's how it went down:

I saw an email from a blog network in my inbox, but accidentally swiped the "delete" button on my iphone screen.  It went into my trash, and I remember hours later that I needed to retrieve it.  From my desktop, I went into my Yahoo! emails trash folder, and I was SHOCKED at what I saw.  Hundreds upon hundreds of emails were there.  Emails that I had never deleted.  Emails from companies I wanted to hear from.  I felt sick.

Apparently, one of the "perks" of UnRoll.Me was their "unsubscribe" feature (a feature I assumed actually UNSUBSCRIBED me from email mailing lists.)  In fact, the unsubscribe feature merely flags emails with a particular sender name to be diverted from the inbox to be put directly into your TRASH folder.  I wasn't unsubcribing, I was trashing hundreds of emails a day.

To make matters worse, when I unsubscribed, I thought I was doing so by email newsletter manager.  In actuality, UnRoll.Me was using their own method of determining a sender and trashing emails from that sender -- even if it didn't actually come via a subscription mailing list.  What this meant was, if I "unsubscribed" from a daily deals newsletter because I didn't want to see their ads every day, I may also have given UnRoll.Me the impression that I never wanted to get any emails from the company that issues the newsletter -- even a personal email that indicated I was a winner in a giveaway, or that they wanted to work with me to do a promotion on my blog.

That was not good.

In doing some research, I found several reports of users who felt misled about the use of the word "unsubscribe" to manage (or actually "trash" emails) and that they had found important emails in their trash folder as a result of UnRoll.Me's interpretation of the sender or sender address.

I immediately deleted my UnRoll.Me account (which was difficult to determine how to do, by the way.)  You have to go into your account setting and work from there.

Needless to say, I learned the hard way that a very easy method of hand-off email management is likely not what I wanted.  I'll be taking a little time each morning to officially unsubscribe from unwanted emails.  I'll also be very careful about using similar services in the future.

How do you manage your emails?  Have you used with success?

*Photo by Sean Loyless via Flickr.

1 comment:

  1. I use it's a competitor to that isn't so scammy.


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