Posted in: Email

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.