How Unroll.Me is Disrupting Email Marketing


There’s no getting around the fact that much of the internet is driven by advertising and marketing. After all, with the rise of companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others, exchanging ad space for cash is one of the most dominant revenue models on the internet. Still, despite all the money marketers spend on ad space, email is still a huge part of the vast majority of company’s marketing mix. In fact, it’s hard to think of any competitive, modern and consumer-facing company that does not have some sort of email marketing channel.

Because email is still so vital in today’s digital marketplace, even simple innovations can have far-reaching effects. Case in point is Unroll.Me, an email service that helps users unsubscribe, in one fell swoop, from the email lists they no longer want to receive emails from. Though the idea is simple, there’s few of us who can’t identify with the problem that Unroll.Me solves. Who among us hasn’t—at some point—grown frustrated with the massive amount of marketing emails we get thrown at us each day?

Wait, What is Unroll.Me?

In fact, Unroll.Me is a service founded by two young entrepreneurs, Jojo Hedaya and Josh Rosenwald, back in 2011. The two came up with the idea as they were experiencing a problem we all have: the emails they were sending to each other were getting lost among a slew of newsletters, daily deals, and other emails from lists.

So how does Unroll.Me work? Unroll.Me organizes your email by scanning your inbox and then consolidating all the emails you have that come from a subscription service. From there, you can easily remove yourself from any and all lists with a click of your mouse or tap of your finger. Even better, Unroll.Me also offers a feature called the “Rollup” which is a newsletter of all the newsletters you want to keep that you can organize how you like. After just 3 years, Unroll.Me was actually purchased by Slice, a shopping application that is a subsidiary of Rakuten Intelligence. Unroll.Me has continued to grow but users get the same sort of service, with plenty of useful new features. In fact, the co-founder of Unroll.Me, Jojo Hedaya stayed on to lead product development and help manage operations so the service has stayed true to its roots.

As cool as the features are, what’s amazing is how this simple innovation is turning the world of email marketing on its head. So let’s explore a few ways it’s doing that.

Putting the User Back in Control

As you may have gathered based on the description of Unroll.Me, this services give you (the user) complete control over your emails, specifically the ones that come from marketers. Before, marketers could bank on the fact that you weren’t going to go through the tedious labor of unsubscribing from their lists one at a time. This allowed them to get more ad space in your email inbox, more chances to sell you, and and more opportunities to present their value proposition.

As if marketers didn’t have enough trouble getting and holding someone’s attention, Unroll.Me has gone and made it even harder—all in service of the user. At the end of the day, though, this is something marketers must adapt to. Like when TiVo disrupted commercials, spam laws were introduced, and ad blockers started spreading like wildfire, marketers need to refocus their message.

Consolidating Marketing Emails

Take yourself out of marketing mode for a minute and think about making a business deal with someone. What’s the first thing you want to evaluate about the person you’re doing business with? That is, what’s the first question you ask yourself about them? For most of us, that question is, “Can I trust this person?”

Marketers must clear that trust hurdle just like anyone else. That hasn’t changed since the dawn of commerce. For marketers that make into a prospect’s “Rollup” by Unroll.Me, it’s a blue-sky scenario. All the distracting messages from irrelevant sources fall way, and the marketers who get it right get more air time. And more air time means more time to build trust. In this way, Unroll.Me becomes a successful modern marketer’s best friend.

No More Junk Mail

As if spammers needed another reason to abandon their short-sighted, unsavory business of sending irrelevant offers that no one wants, Unroll.Me has given them one more big one. For the rest of us, this is great news and we have Unroll.Me to thank. Think of it this way: the more people that start using services like Unroll.Me to quickly eliminate their spam email, the less effective spamming becomes. Spammers are, after all, people who are motivated to make a profit.

If there was no profit to be made from sending spam, then people would not do it as much or abandon it all together, depending on to what extent the profit margins were squeezed. One of the ways spammers subsist is by weaseling into our inboxes and taking up residence. If they’re not able to show any number of subscribers, their bosses start cutting funding to their efforts. And since even spammers need money to keep sending us irrelevant email offers, they’ll eventually die out without financing.

Conclusion: You’ve Got Mail

The current state of email was unimaginable more than forty years ago when it was first invented. Products like Unroll.Me continue to push the envelope (pun intended) on email by turning the old, reliable service into a more user-friendly, relevant, and enjoyable experience. Still, Unroll.Me is a very young company—it was only founded eight years ago in 2011—and despite the fact that it has millions of users, it’ll take more adopters to start seeing some of these changes in a big way.

For now, though, Unroll.Me will help those of us fortunate enough to have discovered it continue the fight against irrelevant email.


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