Mailing lists, mailing lists, and more mailing lists. We sign up for them on purpose. We get signed up for them when we enter contests. Or, we get signed up when people who collect our business cards add us to their company’s mailing list. No matter how the newsletters end up in your inbox, chances are that it might be taking over.

This *special* mail is called graymail. Graymail is… well… that gray matter between real mail and junk mail. By definition graymail is the ever-growing amount of newsletters, deals and updates that fill your inbox. Sometimes you love it, sometimes you hate it. According to a Hotmail study over 80% of the mail in our inboxes is made up of graymail. That is a lot. That means only 20% of your email is real mail. So you don’t actually get that much email from friends, family, and business associates. That is kind of depressing, isn’t it? LOL!

I try to keep a good handle on my own email, but it is hard. I often get well over 100 messages per day. Yes, that is a lot. This is made up of a combination of the things mentioned above plus mail from those that fill out the comment form on my websites, PR pitches, deals from Groupon, invitations to events, and email from friends. Whew! I THINK I finally convinced my friends to stop forwarding me jokes. Oh, and lets not forget about all the urban legends. Oy! Don’t forget… check your facts first folks. 🙂

Anyway, with the amount of email that we get each day keeping it all straight can be hard. Like I said, I try. Sometimes real mail does get away from me though. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone back through my mail from days before and come across the ultimate pitch that I missed the first time, or found money in my email. It happens quite a bit!

Also, I am an email horder. I don’t like to lose important info, so I hold on to almost everything. I delete the obvious junk immediate sometimes, but it comes in so fast! And I tend to hold on to newsletters because I think I might get around to reading them one day. Yeah… I know it is not likely.

Hotmail has recently made several improvements to their service to help us tackle graymail. These tools include:

  • Sweep: Allows you to delete or move all the emails you’ve received from a specific sender – past, present and future.
  • Categories: Hotmail automatically categorizes newsletters, social updates and photos to within 95% accuracy. You can also create your own custom categories to tag your mail with.
  • Alias: Allows you to create full, disposable email addresses to use for signing up to sites and notifications. Email sent to these addresses will arrive in your inbox, but senders will never know your actual email address.
  • Schedule Cleanup: Just like Sweep, but with the added factor of automatically running rules like based on time intervals. So you can keep only the latest mail from a sender, or have Hotmail delete or move files that are older than 3, 10, 30, or 60 days.

Sound good to you? If you want to learn more check out the demo at: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/hotmail/conquergraymail/autoplay. You can also view the commercial below for more info.

 

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign from Technorati and Hotmail.