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.

Comments (68) on "Sanebox Is Priority Inbox for Gmail Done Awesome"

  1. “the more work I have to do, the less valuable the product is to me.”

    There’s (sorry furpurr) just something wrong with this statement. I know the author is talking about IT but there is something very American about admitting laziness.

    I just hope my mechanic or surgeon doesn’t (sorry again furpurr) take up this philosophy.

  2. Not really. Ever heard the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder”? For many things in life, there is absolutely no reason to do ten things, when five gives youths same results. That’s not laziness, it’s efficiency.

  3. I dont have time to sift junk emails from facebook, twitter or any of that social media bullshit, hence I dont use those services.

    I may be old school but newsletters, group emails, and email threads still work dont they?

    And guess what, you can setup your inbox to sort them out for you in categories, without paying a ridiculous monthly fee so that a 3rd party can browse your non-encrypted emails and categorize ‘MOST’ (?!) of them correctly.

    The big question here… is it compatible with ICQ, Friendster, Myspace, Ping, Geocities, ConnectU, The HUB, Yahoo Buzz, Google Buzz, Orkut and iYomu?

    If you dont get it search for ‘fads’ and ‘bell curve’

  4. didn’t Norton loose a lot of credibility a while back for installing spyware on peoples computers?

  5. This seems less like a comprehensive review and more like an vested interest holder who’s covering the conflict of interest with a convenient ‘fanboy’ label. Are there any downsides we should know about? Will it work with workplaces that have rolled out google as their email service provider (a lot of universities have)?

  6. I wrote the post – I don’t have any financial interest in the product whatsoever. I just like it. It works on Google Apps for Your Domain as well.

  7. The comment below on the uniqueness of americans willingness to admit lazyness is kind of of the mark. Rather, we are just too busy to retrain on things that should be obvious. I was in a hotel last year that put in some crazy elevator optimization software between three elevators. They tried to force users to the optimized elevator based on destination. Unfortunately, if you got on the wrong one (i.e the door just happened to open when you were standing there) you couldn’t get off on any floors not allready programmed. Took me the whole three days to figure out how to use the elevators… bottom line, if your software is not easy to use, it better be extreemly valuable to the end user. Better to try for both..

  8. I prefer to error on the side of dumping anything not explicitly recognized into spam. Would rather loose somethings than fill my phone with noise. If it is important, they’ll call me eventually… If they don’t know my number, I probably don’t want to hear from them..

  9. How many emails does a normal person get every day anyway. Surely to need a service, you must be recieving tons of spam or being victimised by cyberbullies. When does someone find it too difficult to speed check and delete. Or is everyone submitting 100s of begging letters or something and needs to keep check for suckers.
    How many needs a secretary, 10/20/30/40/50/60 a day, ??
    Maybe you are all in body part transfers ?
    If you use nothing at all, you may stay off more mailing lists.

  10. no he has handed those evil corps all his data. are you retarded? they all look through your data if you are stupid enough to sign up

  11. No — this is not the answer. The answer is not a tool, it’s a technique, attitude and state of mind called #zeroinbox.

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