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Hotmail declares war on graymail

Microsoft Hotmail characterizes an email as "graymail" when the same message that one person thinks is “spam” could be really important to another person. It’s not black and white, hence the name.

What's in your inbox?

Despite the drastic decrease of true spam in the inbox, we found that most customers are still seeing newsletters, product offers, and other clutter. In fact, 75% of email identified as spam by our customers actually turns out to be unwanted graymail that they receive as a result of having signed up on a legitimate website. And because of inbox clutter, it’s easy to lose track of the really important messages in your inbox that you want to get back to.

Some features are:

1. New newsletter category

A new special category for newsletters. Using the same SmartScreen™ technology that helps Microsoft fight spam, email are categorized correctly as newsletters 95%. Every time you categorize an email manually the remaining 5% emails as a newsletter, the filtering just gets better.

2. One-click unsubscribe

With Hotmail unsubscribing from a newsletter is just a click away and Hotmail will let the site know to stop mailing you, use Sweep to immediately clean up your mail and remove all the old newsletters from that sender, and finally send any new ones that come in to your junk mail until the sender takes you off their list.

3. Schedule Cleanup

Schedule Cleanup, a new tool, unique to Hotmail, that works behind the scenes to keep your inbox organized.

With Schedule Cleanup, you can:
  • Keep only the latest message from a given sender
  • Delete messages as they get old (3 days, 10 days, 30 days, or 60 days)
  • Move messages to a folder as they get old

Here are some ways to use Schedule Cleanup:
  • Keep only the latest event calendar email from your favorite site
  • Keep only the latest deal from Groupon or LivingSocial, or any other deal vendor
  • Delete your newsletters after 10 days – that way, whether you read them or not, they are never clogging up your inbox
  • Automatically archive mail from your financial institutions to a folder after 30 days


4. Keeping important mail right up front: Flags done right

At Hotmail, we think the right way to track important messages is with flags, and our upcoming changes make flags even more powerful.

When you feel a message is important, flag it to be it “pinned” to the top of your inbox and stays there, even as new email comes in. This means it is easy to keep track of your most important messages. What’s more, you can even set up rules to automatically flag incoming mail from certain senders, so that your most important mail is always right there at the top of your inbox.


5. Have different types of email? Create custom categories

You can quickly create a new category and apply that category to all related messages at the same time – no searching for mail, no complex rules to create. You can categorize messages right in the message list with the new categories column. And categories show up as QuickViews right next to folders, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.


» Hotmail declares war on graymail | Inside Windows Live

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