Use Gmail Filters to Auto-forward Receipts to Shoeboxed

With Gmail, it is easy to set up filters that will automatically forward certain email messages to another address based on rules that you set. This can be helpful for use with Shoeboxed, as you can train your Gmail account to forward email receipts to Shoeboxed, where they can be better organized into categories, generate statistics, and be integrated with your paper receipts.

I went through and created what is hopefully a handy guide to help you set up filtering on your Gmail account. If you don’t have a Gmail account, but you want one, you can sign up for free at www.gmail.com. Let’s get started!

  1. In your account, click on “Settings” in the top right corner.
  2. Click on “Filters” tab and then click “Create a new filter”
  3. Here is where Gmail asks you to set up rules for which emails it should automatically forward to Shoeboxed. I played around with this for a little bit using their “Test Search” feature, but I had pretty good success with putting “receipt” OR “purchase in the Subject field and revolution OR alert OR “You Have a New” in the “Doesn’t have” field. This makes it so that anything with the words receipt or purchase in the subject line will be forwarded on. The words that I chose for the “Doesn’t have” category rule out blog updates (because our blog is called Receipt Revolution), Google Alerts that I get for receipt-related info, and of course, notifications from Shoeboxed that I get when I have new receipts.
  4. Click “Next Step” and you’ll be taken to a page with more settings. Click the checkbox “Forward it to:” and enter in your Shoeboxed email address (yourusername@shoeboxed.com) and click “Create Filter”. If you want to send in all your past email receipts, also check the box “Also apply filter to ## conversations below.”
  5. Wait and watch the email receipts come into your Shoeboxed account!

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.

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.