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Stop Using This App Right Now

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Last week I came across a Dojo forum thread regarding the service Unroll.me. It’s a free online service that makes it easy to mass-unsubscribe from email newsletters that you don’t read anymore.

Someone in there asked if others liked the service. Most people did. So did we – we used to recommend it.

Used to.

Now…not anymore.

As your Efficient Asian advisor, I want to let you know that we don’t recommend this service anymore for privacy reasons.

One smart lady on the forum thread linked to a recently published article on how Uber, the ride-share company, used Unroll.me’s data to collect information on its competitors. Unroll.me was selling its anonymized data to other companies, but several stories indicated that they were keeping copies of user emails on Amazon S3 servers so the data they had collected (before anonymizing and selling it) was pretty insecure. The company’s response also left a lot to be desired, saying they were “heartbroken” that users were upset and that “they could do better” when it comes to communicating what exactly they were doing with the user data they collected.

That’s why we don’t recommend the Unroll.me service anymore.

There are a couple lessons you and I can learn from this.

If you’re using a free app or service and there’s no clear way of upgrading to pay for a better product/service, they are most likely using your data to make money. Unroll.me had no paid service – everything was free.

That’s a huge red flag.

Whenever I pick an app or service to use, I always ask myself these questions:

  1. What’s the business model of this app?
  2. Is the company financially healthy?
  3. Does this integrate with my existing systems?

The first two questions address the privacy and longevity of the company. If you aren’t paying for the product, then you are the product. I know most of us don’t read the privacy policy of stuff we enroll and use…but let this Unroll.me debacle teach us a lesson.

We slipped up here with our recommendation. We are going to be more diligent about our app and technology recommendations going forward. Since we don’t recommend Unroll.me anymore, we’ve removed all blog post mentions of it on the site and even re-edited the videos from our Escape Your Email course. We removed every mention of the service that we could within 48 hours when we first heard about the privacy issues.

We take our reputation and your trust in us very seriously. If there’s anything we recommend, you know it’s been vetted and rigorously tested by us. We only recommend something we can stand behind and personally use.

If you’ve used Unroll.me through our recommendation then we advise you now to stop using it. Especially when we saw insider info like this. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Login to Unroll.me.
  2. Click on the drop-down menu in the top right corner.
  3. Click on Settings.
  4. Scroll down and click Delete My Account.

As far as alternatives go, the only safe recommendation we have now is SaneBox. It’s not a direct alternative because SaneBox can do so much more like sending you automated email reminders, filtering emails and much more. However, it has a very similar feature that allows you to quickly unsubscribe from email newsletters and has a feature to provide a daily digest of emails that you still want to see.

-Thanh & the Asian Efficiency team

P.S. If you find a mention of Unroll.me that we missed, please let me know! We’ll get it removed ASAP.

P.P.S. On a lighter note, I recently bought a new tea maker after someone in the Dojo recommended it. It was really expensive ($380-ish) but…I freaking love it. I’ve been drinking way more green tea now (especially after I brought back a truckload in my suitcase from my Tokyo trip) which makes me happy and it’s easier for me to get into a deep work state. This is the tea maker. It’s a total ML (minimalist luxury) purchase. If you’re unfamiliar with what Minimalist Luxury is, check out this post or this podcast episode where I talk about it. Almost everyone in the Dojo has been slowly converted to it. I don’t blame them. It makes life more fun, easier and productive.

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1 Comment

Posted by David Ziembicki  | May 1, 2017 at 7:49PM | Reply

Great quote there: “if you arent paying for the product then you are the product” Nice work so quickly updating your course.

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