These days, you can barely browse a page on the internet without websites and businesses offering you newsletters advertising there products. Either that or offering the classic ‘We may give your details to a third party who will also bombard you with advertising emails’ tick box. You have to be so careful because some are opt-in and others are opt-out. Quite often they are rather conveniently difficult to spot and cleverly worded. If you have to, or accidentally sign up for something, then you get a constant stream of mails to your inbox. It might not be spam in the strictest sense, but sure feels like it sometimes.
Sometimes it may simply be websites you have signed up to for a promo and to receive a serial key. The common ones are the foreign language promo’s when you have to register on a website which isn’t in your native language. I still get the odd one in German or Chinese from things I registered for years ago. Also, a friend has made the ultimate mistake and let the kids use his email address a few times to register on websites and buy some things online. It’s no surprise the amount of unknown newsletters his account has been signed up for is now quite alarming!
If your email account gets rather cluttered up with these junk emails, it can take quite a bit of time and effort trying to get rid of them by checking each mail, searching for the instructions, and then going through the unsubscribe procedure. This is where a useful online service called Unsubscribr comes in handy. This free service can scan your ‘Inbox’ and ‘Trash’ folders, identify the newsletters or mail shots, and then allows them to be unsubscribed quickly and easily. Multiple unsubscribes can also been done at once with a few clicks.
Unsubscribr does currently have one major drawback in that it only supports Gmail, Google Apps, Me.com / Mac.com (iCloud), Yahoo! Mail and AOL Mail at this time. They say they are working on adding more services so keep an eye on the site if your mail service is not included yet. It’s probably a good idea to use something like Gmail anyway when signing up for promo’s and other such offers, not your personal account.
The free version has a limit of being able to search back through mails up to five days old and can only scan the Inbox and Trash folders. For a one time fee of $2 this extends to thirty days old emails and allows scanning of any folder in the mail account although at the moment this is limited to single domains only. To get started, visit the Unsubscribr Website, enter your email address into the box and click ‘Start‘.
After that, you will be asked for permission for the service to access your email account and will be redirected and asked to sign in if you’re not already. The website does state no usernames, passwords or mail addresses are stored on their servers and OAuth is used to access your account, as well as also encrypting communication between themselves and the mail provider. Have a look in the FAQ for more information.
The options windows will have only one option for the free user which is a tick box to exclude social media notifications. Click ‘Begin Scan’ and your emails will then be processed. Once the scan is finished, a new window will be displayed with all the messages that have been identified as newsletters or coming from mailing lists.
If any message has the option of a tick box, clicking the ‘Unsubscribe’ button and then ‘Just unsubscribe me’ is all that’s needed. ‘Unsubscribe and delete all’ will also delete the messages from your account. This sends an email on your behalf to remove you from the list. Messages with no tick box mean an extra step may be needed after clicking the button. This may simply be a confirmation page to say you have been removed from the list, or might redirect to the related website where you might have to click on a button or link to finish the process. Multiples can be selected, simply tick all you require and click the unsubscribe button above the list.
It’s worth reminding you that a lot of the time, unsubscribing is not always instant and you may continue to receive messages for periods of up to 28 days and beyond in extreme cases.
Unsubscribr isn’t perfect, for instance it missed a couple of messages I had in the trash folder which wouldn’t be missed if they were never heard from again. That said, this service is not many months old and hopefully detection can be optimised further and more mail services are added in future.