Sanebox Is Priority Inbox for Gmail Done Awesome

I’ve been using Sanebox for awhile and I absolutely love it – it has changed the way I use Gmail. I was very excited with Priority Inbox for Gmail when it launched, but it didn’t quite hit the mark for me – perhaps it would have gotten better if I had invested more in training it. I found too many emails marked as priority that really weren’t. So I eventually reverted back to the regular view of Gmail.

When I heard about Sanebox, I was initially skeptical. It was hard for me to believe that a product could actually do a good job of sorting my emails into high and low priority emails. But Sanebox proved me wrong. I had two main asks of any product in this space – for me to use it, it has to do meet the following two key criteria:

1. Accurately score the vast majority (95%+) of my inbound emails with the right level of priority. I don’t want to miss too many important emails due to the system scoring.

2. Don’t ask me to do much work in terms of training – the more work I have to do, the less valuable the product is to me.

Sanebox has worked great for me on both counts. All I did was sign up and then connect my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. And from the day I turned it on, it gets most of my emails right. I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out which emails are regular ecommerce subscriptions / notifications and put those in a separate place. But where Sanebox really shines is in solving the hardest email problem of all – determining whether a person with whom I have never emailed is in fact an inbound priority or not. Sanebox gets this right 99% of the time. Which makes me trust the service more and worry less about missing important emails.

Also, Sanebox does a good job of putting the emails they’ve filtered out into an easy place to find them – your SaneLater label. I only check it once or twice a day – the advantage of having faith in the accuracy of the Sanebox judgment score around priority is that I don’t have anxiety that I’m missing important emails. And “SaneLater” is the right label for the folder – it’s mostly stuff I should read but just not right now if I’m pressed for time or want to stay focused on the most important stuff.

I also think that it’s really interesting and cool that they’ve taken an anti-freemium approach. While I really like the freemium business model, this is one of those products where I’m glad to pay if it means that the developer will stay in business. Plus, with the design of the product, there is no natural or easy segmentation between what you would give the free and paid users while maintaining a good service for both.

Disclosure: I am not an investor in Sanebox – I’m just a fanboy.

  • Thanks for the love, Charles.  And glad you like the anti-freemium rant (v2.0 of that coming soon)!

  • agree with ‘happy to pay if it means they’ll stay in business’, it sucks to get used to a tool and it goes away for lack of revenue (e.g. Zenbe)

  • awwright, giving it a try. you rarely steer wrong on these types of productivity apps.

  • Look forward to that, and will once again, toss a tip of the hat towards you and the Sanebox team, Dimitri!  Great product.

    Thanks for another fine read, Charles!

  • A

    I’ve only been using it less than a week I think. Once my free trial runs out I fully intend to subscribe. I don’t mind paying for it either.

    I had considered switching to yahoo that claimed they had an app that was free that could do this but I couldn’t get my e-mails from gmail to transfer over and it was just easier to go with sanebox. Plus I read that sometimes yahoo mail goes completely down and if you send too many e-mails for security reasons it will lock you out of your e-mail for 48hrs! Who goes 48hrs without checking their e-mail?! That’s a big no no for me especially since I’m in school and sometimes have group projects that I need to e-mail back and forth about.

  • M.

    Another move to take over the WWW by google,as commentator A wrote here 3 hours ago “but I couldn’t get my e-mails from gmail to transfer over”
    cynical, maybe just a tad.

  • “bulk” filter is all I use, anything that gets past that likely has come from a real person.

  • QuantamPro

    What a fantastic product. I don’t know what I would do without Sanebox as it neatly filters all the incoming e-mail traffic to my accounts, and as the author say, prioritises it in ways that are really helpful. So cheap as well. I’m surprised that it doesn’t cost much more. As a CEO I’ll be ordering our IT Department to buy hundreds of licences for this essential product. I’m glad I liable to get a good price as this software is going to rocket up in price, and value.

  • I agree with most of this..ok ALL of it. eMail is such a target of spam, scams, nuisances, sales-pitches, etc. In fact it’s surprising that the gMail team don’t have a greater handle on this! It’s a pity we need services like this, but the fact is, we do.
    I also agree that companies need revenue to exist, so charging is necessary, because the alternative is the dreaded Ads-model (horrible ads all over the place.)….Sanebox sounds like a good idea to me!!…btw I’m not a Fanboy..can’t even afford to use the service yet …but will use it in 2013 LOL

  • thomas

    how come these articles never have screen shots or a working link to the download?

  • Quasy

    As a CEO you should get REAL email accounts for your employees, not gmail… you need more than sanebox to prioritize your actions in general…

  • JSebastian

    Email accounts, or email application?

    Gmail has both. I doubt he is relying on the domain ; thus the accounts are in whatever his actual domain is. Gmail becomes just an application. And what’s wrong with that? At my company we use Google Apps, including Gmail, but most people also run Outlook. Why? Because its convenient to have all your email available in both online and offline mode. People are no longer tied to their devices and that’s where conventional email solutions fall down. And who wants to run an Exchange Server, what a mess, and talk about expensive!

  • San

    Simple solution is to use multiple inbox feature from labs. Just label mails as they come in with a filter rule and a combination of multiple inbox – you have the same result for free!

  • My company’s EmailTray is a full email client that sorts email into 4 Inboxes and syncs across devices. So it’s yet another email overload solution. It’s a free email client downloadable at

  • Sanebox is aptly named – flooded inboxes can be difficult to sort through and clutter can make users miss some important emails.

  • Joster


    TO SOMEONE YOU WANT TO SPY ON (Your boy friend/girlfriend/would be spouse/boss
    whom U hate/colleagues etc). [Without their knowledge and/or permission] Got
    the idea?

    As long as you know
    their (Your boy friend/girlfriend/would be spouse/boss whom U hate/colleagues
    etc) phone number – that’s it! (When you
    open a new account, Google will actually strongly recommend you LINK YOUR
    GOOGLE ACCOUNT WITH A CELL PHONE – of course they presume you will give your
    own number – How naive)



    [Although constitutionally speaking it is CRIMINAL]

    Once someone else takes charge of your account that person
    can keep restoring the account indefinite number of times no matter how many
    times you delete your account completely.
    Also if you delete your Google account completely too many times, your
    cell phone will be defunct!

    If Google does not take corrective action to prevent this, FEDERAL AUTHORITIES
    will soon intervene.

    It is indeed scary and shameful that a company like Google
    with a workforce (AT LEAST THEY CLAIM SO) that supposedly has uniquely high
    acumen and IQ couldn’t figure this out! CRIMINALS/TERRORISTS CAN REALLY USE IT

    I have been a victim of the above. I have tried to contact
    Google several times – But Google hides under recorded messages. It is perhaps
    the only multibillion dollars corporation that does NOT have a customer service
    number to call and talk to a live person … shame on you GOOGLE!


  • Why not just use a real e-mail tool like Microsoft Outlook? gmail sucks. Its free and all. But cost of sucky tool is in wasted time.

  • Tie Breaker

    Re: How to Hack Facebook Like it?

    This may be useful:

  • Curmudgeonly Card Punch

    “All I did was sign up and then connect my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.” And say good bye to privacy forever!

  • TinCanFerry

    What Privacy?

  • steve

    are you not sent a text when you link your account? you would need access to the phone you were attempting to spy on, even if all the rest of your crazed rambling was even possible.

  • Well said and you are sent a text message to the device.

    imho Google is one of the “good guys” out there. They are few and far between these days.

  • Why not come back and post a pic of your egg-on-face look the first time MO decides you are lazy and just zaps everything in every email folder?

    I have never heard of an email client being called a “tool,” Gordon. Is this trending along with the travesty in the Middle East or even the over-exposure of the Duchess of Cambridge?
    Didn’t think so.

  • Tyrosine

    Mastering Gmail is easy. You need three labels: “respond,” “waiting,” and “to do.” Everything else should be archived upon reading because if it’s not actionable it shouldn’t be in your inbox.

  • ljarque

    Privacy died the died internet was made public…

  • Why does Norton say that your program is untrustworthy??? I won’t use it.

  • Gmail has already turned my email over to government hackers who shut down my email for 3 days in ’06 then prevented me from logging on between 1 and 1:30PM EVERY DAY FOR FOUR YEARS! All this because I write satire. I don’t need Sandbox to make things easier for them

  • Edgar James

    Maybe it’s Norton that’s not trustworthy?

    CNet reviewed it and likes it. A lot. So did the few users that downloaded it.

  • Yup, we just did raise the price 😉 Shoot us a note at We’ll get you set up

  • isnt

    Ugh. As if Gmail alone wasn’t bad enough, you now have given access to all your email to four of the largest corporations in the world. I’ll stick with Fastmail.

  • Matt H Kennedy

    No he hasn’t. They have no access to his e-mail whatsoever. He’s linked the accounts. It’s a totally different thing.

  • Brett

    Done awesome? Learn the language

  • avimarcus

    I use boomerang.. $5/month.. for unlimited “send laters” and “remind me” — my most used feature is to boomerang a message, but ONLY if the person I mail doesn’t respond. That way nothing gets lost due to the other person not responding.
    Otherwise, I just use priority inbox and process ALL email. I have to look at it anyway, don’t I? Other than spam, which gmail USUALLY handles just fine.
    If it’s stuff I signed up for that I don’t want anymore, I unsubscribe…

  • balconybar

    Hi there, “awhile” is not a word.

  • PenGun

    Found your problem:
    my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.

    Yeah that’s it. I just use gmail as another mail supplier. I just pull it to my client just like any other.

  • Christine Tabor

    hmm, looks interesting… I had pretty much given up on gmail, since I’m so used to folders in Outlook… still not sure I can get used to filters and labels.

  • John Hossack

    I can only agree with you in this matter! I try not to take to much notice of what go’s on in these sites! They to me a pain!

  • christianstt

    sounds good

  • Redacted

    I am one of those government hackers who was part of your case. You were shut down not because of your “satire” (isn’t satire supposed to be funny and/ clever?). It was the P2P activity into and out of yor PC of pornography which seemed to include underage minors and in two cases what looked to be pictures of them at a “donkey show”. To fully review, and do proper follow up of your images (particularly the large number in the encrypted “” file) takes time.

  • Carlo

    Agreed, I, can handle a few email accounts each getting a heaps of email i have never neeed more than that. To be honest if you have any dicipline you can use hotmail, gmail, whatevermail web based and they all do the job.

  • Carlo

    I’ve found when software “zaps” anything “for no reason” the problem was sitting in front of the keyboard…. Most of the time

  • Carlo

    As CEO try teaching the staff to use whats there, instead of confusing them with new software they still have to learn to use. As CEO you may not have time….. Than you probably shouldnt be wasting time posting commenteabout some piece of software. That what your IT dept should do.

  • Skptc

    Because it’s a paid service and someone who was really excited about it WOULD post screen captures and a link. Instead this is like a text advertisement parading as a news item.

  • Boxbe

    Boxbe is a free solution.

  • iRick

    Just set up an outlook account to import your gmail and filter it as you please. Gmail conversation “threading” was making me crazy (just try to find some of the messages buried 5 or 6 deep), when I starting using outlook to process and store the gmail, it was the end to the problems.

  • Odd: Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary both regard it as an adverb.

  • Both are technically words (“awhile” and “a while”) but balconybar is right in that I should have said “a while” instead of “awhile” in the case of this post.

  • White

    Gmail is the biggest harvester of spammers and adware and bots. They do nothing to stop this abuse. I can’t see how Gmail could do anything to improve for us, short of closing it down.

  • lechinaman

    died the died the diddly ied

  • furpurr

    “go’s”?? How about “goes”?? WHAT is with Americans & that horrid overuse (more often than not, completely incorrect use!!) of the apostrophe??!?!