Standup Paddle Boarding on Mission Bay in San Diego
A couple of years ago I wrote a post on Local Living Email Deals when there seemed to be a new competitor starting up in the niche every month. I signed up for GoldStar,, Groupon, Living Social, Yelp Deals, Google Offers, Travel Zoo Local Deals, and Facebook Deals. Amazon started sending me the deals even though I didn’t sign up for them. A few companies in the original post have pulled out of the market (Yelp and Facebook), and one company, voucher resellor Lifesta, folded. I started getting “Deals for the Cure” about the same time as Facebook Deals went away, again without really signing up for it.

I was in the market for a deal, and I guess so were a lot of other people as the number of people receiving these emails swelled. Then the buyout offers, and public offerings came along. The “paper value” of some of these companies swelled to match the number of emails they were sending out. I have to admit that I actually still look at these offer emails, but I’m growing very tired of it. If you throw in the offer emails from all the online companies that I have bought something from and never bothered to “opt out” of their email deals… companies like TigerDirect, CompUSA (actually the same company as TigerDirect and the email will go away soon), Overstock, Newegg, Amazon (the fact that I had bought anything from them automatically put my name in the local email deal bag too), and the list could go on and on. Every travel site I ever booked a plane ticket, hotel, or rental car on… resulted in another email deal and these guys rarely send me an email offering anything less than an “amazing” deal. Want an email receipt in Macy’s or another department store… here comes another daily sale email! This stuff isn’t SPAM, I invited all these people to email me I’m sure as part of the terms of service of my purchases.

To be honest I have gotten some good deals by looking at these emails, I mean I am positive that I would have never done Standup Paddle Boarding if it was not $11 for an all day board rental! However, the other 99.999% of these emails don’t benefit me. One of the other benefits in the beginning for me was inspiration to try new things and places, but the repetition has made my inbox a place of monotony not inspiration.

The emails have also become a distraction and are in the way of me noticing useful information in my inbox. The deluge of emails has even changed my email habits. I used to keep all my emails, not most, all! I have emails from the early 90’s on backups around here somewhere. At some point about a year ago I decided to start clearing out my inbox. I search for these deal email senders first and deleted all the deal emails. That got me started… then I cleared out other junk, things I will never look at again. Now I’m delete happy every day. It is a rare email that escapes the chopping block! If in doubt about ever looking at the email again, it is gone! I’ve become delete happy!

I’m ready for the next phase. I’m ready to start opting out of these emails. I’ll start with the emails from companies that usually get deleted based on title alone. Online companies that I once bought something from can quit sending me deal emails and I’ll still be able to find a great deal online when I need something. I mean how many Black Fridays are there really! Get deal/sale emails from enough companies and I bet there are 52 of them. There are a few that I just won’t want to stop. Of course, once I prune the daily jungle of email traffic down to a “formal garden” I’ll be less likely to delete the ones I really want to see in a daily machete swinging email deletion frenzy. I’m eager to get started, where are those “opt out now” pruning shears…

  1. Eleanor Fitzgerald says:

    Eric, By coincidence, I did the same thing this week. I wanted to “clean up” my mailbox and I too went “delete happy”. I removed more than 10,000 and I have only had my current address for three years. I wanted to add to your story that I was quite surprised to see the number of different email address from a single company. For example, Best Buy had about four separate origins, all with different “sender” addresses. Upon further investigation I found most companies have about three.

  2. eric.rial says:

    Hey Eleanor – A packed inbox can be distracting. I have 9,016 unread emails in my inbox according to the numbers inside the (####) on the top of my browser tab. That’s a tad ridiculous. I’m betting at least 80% of those could be deleted without opening them.

    I think each one of those separate origins is considered a separate type of email and will require a separate opt out. Some of the companies list them all and let you opt out of all of them in one place. A few of them don’t, I’m sure so that they can continue to fill your inbox.

    Anyway, I’m making pretty good progress on stopping the deluge. In a week or two I may be spending less time deleting than reading the worthwhile emails that I still get!

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