The Shoeboxed Email Address

Back in July when we were testing Shoeboxed before we launched it to the public, we thought it would be necessary to have someone sign up for a bunch of mailing lists from online stores.

Well, for some reason, I was chosen to take on the wonderful chore of finding the most popular online retailers and asking them to send me emails whenever they wanted to. Luckily, I had to given them my Shoeboxed email address to test out the system, so they were being diverted from my personal Gmail account.

Since July, though, I have accumulated more than 1500 emails from online stores. I get almost daily emails from 3-4 stores. I get emails from stores I never signed up for. I once showed my account to a potential user and found a Victoria’s Secret email sitting in my account. Then I had to explain. “You see, back in July, we were testing…”

Anyway, diverting emails away from your personal account is great, because it keeps your inbox free from the 3,000 emails you might get from online stores is a calendar year. This has always been one of my favorite parts about Shoeboxed, and sometimes it takes a back seat to some of the new features we have been rolling out, like uploaded receipts, improved receipt-reading algorithms, and Shoeboxed Mail-In. But I just wanted to give it a little love here on the blog, and remind everyone what a daily convenience your Shoeboxed account may be quietly giving you.

Shoeboxed to My Inbox’s Rescue!

In my 21 years of life, I’ve bought ONE t-shirt from J.Crew online, but in the last two weeks, I’ve received the following e-mails from their online store:

Last Chance for free shipping
Presenting… free shipping
New at Crewcuts… Seaside Chic
Hello sale…
New men’s must-have: the cardigan

Let’s recap why this is annoying. First of all, I don’t need a cardigan, and neither do the rest of you guys out there. Second of all, I’m in Germany, and J. Crew doesn’t even ship here, so I couldn’t care less what their non-existent shipping costs. Third, CrewCuts is the children’s clothing line at J.Crew, and unless there’s something I don’t know about, I’m not buying baby clothes for a while. Though I do like J. Crew otherwise, I hate getting all these irrelevant e-mails in my inbox.

But now that Shoeboxed is up and running, I went to jcrew.com and modified my account settings. In about 20 seconds, I changed the e-mail associated with my account to my @shoeboxed.com address. Now all these store notifications come into my Shoeboxed account. I also one-click-unsubscribed from J.Crew e-mails, causing them to only show up in my Shoeboxed account, and to stay away from my personal inbox.

I still like J. Crew, and I still get those e-mails in my Shoeboxed account, but now I don’t have to have them in my inbox, where all my important personal communications are. My personal inbox is breathing easier, and so am I.

I also did this for all the other stores where I shop (and the stores that send me e-mails even though I don’t buy stuff from them) and changed out my e-mail address.

So now, whenever I’m in the mood to shop, I just go to my Shoeboxed account, see all my new e-mails, check out all the places that are having sales or recommending new products, and start shopping from there.

Attack of the SPAM!

A few weeks ago, Mo described how people have begun to create temporary, disposable email addresses to combat the rising threat and annoyance of email spam. It shocked me to learn that people are willing to go to such lengths to avoid spam. First, people have to find the website that supports this process, then they have to actually create the email address, and then of course they have to repeat the process a few weeks later. I have enough trouble remembering my single email address that has remained constant for the past three years – the idea of changing email addresses and passwords every couple of weeks terrifies me. (As a side note, I also used to believe that simply not checking my email was an effective countermeasure for spam. Let me tell you, it is not. I currently have 11,259 messages in my inbox.) But I digress. Learning how much trouble people are willing to go through to avoid spam inspired me to find out a little bit more about the spam “industry.” Here are some interesting factoids that I stumbled across:

  • 85 billion spam emails were sent out every day of 2006. That comes out to 32,850,000,000,000 (almost 33 trillion, if I counted my zeroes right) spam messages sent in 2006.[link]
  • The average internet user receives 5,475 spam emails every year. In other words, that’s 15 pieces of spam a day, every single day. Even worse: that number is constantly increasing.[link]
  • Currently, over 83% of all emails are spam.[link]
  • When grouped by continents, spam comes mostly from Europe (35.1%), Asia (33.4%), and North America (22.9%).[link]
  • One of the reasons that spam continues to be global annoyance is the fact that a small number of Internet service providers (ISPs) knowingly sell their services to spam companies. Right now, the networks hosting the most spammers are verizon.com, att.net, and vsnlinternational.com.[link]
  • Believe it or not, spamming is technically legal in the United States, provided it follows a few guidelines set by the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.[link]

All in all, I would have to say that these statistics are pretty scary. The fact that there are literally billions of pieces of spam being sent out every day makes me glad that Shoeboxed will be there to help sift through it. Maybe now I’ll actually start checking my email.