Archive for: December 2011

Blackberry work email turned off after hours, says Volkswagen

In a report by BBC News, Volkswagen notes that all Blackberry work email will be turned off outside office hours. This move has been executed by Volkswagen Germany earlier this year, following complaints about the division between work life and private life fading.

Quoting the report:

Under the arrangement servers stop routing emails 30 minutes after the end of employees’ shifts, and then start again 30 minutes before they return to work.

The staff can still use their devices to make calls and the rule does not apply to senior management.

“We wanted to take a preventative approach to tackling the issue,” said Gunnar Killian, VW’s works council spokesman.

I’m actually interested why the rule would not apply to senior management of VW: do they receive so little work email it’s not a problem as such? Are they not a member of the trade union? Or are they ‘always on’ anyway and have no separation between work life and private life?

The report goes on telling about the Atos campaign completely banning internal email: a more rigorous move towards taming the flood of electronic messages.

Is your company actively managing the email load for you to give you ample time to enjoy your private life? If you don’t have a Blackberry or other company smartphone, are you obliged by job function / task description to handle email outside office hours? Let us know in the comments.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from!

Just like last year, I took the liberty to photograph my cat Pumba (he can be a monster sometimes) for our digital holiday wishes card. Here it is (click for full size):

Put in a little mouse and Christmas dog and a tree as backdrop and voila: great digital holiday wishes card.

This time, I shall not be listing people to thank for everything they’ve meant to me these past 12 months: there’s just too many of you! Let’s just say that I’m happy to be part of the email marketing community – it really is the cool club.

I do want to thank the few of you whom I’ve been finally able to meet in person, however brief those meetings were.

Loren McDonald, thanks for the chat and discussions at the dinner in Amsterdam. Ryan Phelan: very nice meeting you, we definitely had some great laughs! Jim Ducharme, we met in March: great to talk to you and experience the event together. Andrew Kordek – our meeting was sadly short but still great: it was amazing to see you so pumped up after being up for so long! Last but not least, Justine Jordan. Being your tour guide in Amsterdam was good fun (hope I did well…) and settling down on the square with some drinks and nice weather was awesome. Great talks about our fun and frustrations with email ;)

Thank you! And to the others in the email marketing community: maybe we’ll meet in 2012 :)

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012!



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Infographic – Email is here to stay

Finishing up the last days of 2011, we have an infographic about the usage of email (finishing with the just words ‘ email is here to stay’ ) compared to Facebook and Twitter.

The infographic is courtesy of, and gives some insight into the main numbers. Some of those numbers: while Facebook has 750 Million accounts (now about 800 Million), the number of email accounts is 2.9 Billion. That’s nearly one in every two persons worldwide who has an email account! Expectations are that by 2o14 some 3.8 Billion people will have an email account.

Furthermore, a staggering 107 Trillion emails were sent in 2010 – up 19% from 2009. Here’s the infographic – click for the large version:


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All your inboxes are belong to…you!

Some people declare email bankruptcy in their working and/or private communications. In their time, something went wrong and their inbox is swamped with a bajillion emails – an amount no filter, SmartScreen or Priority Inbox can handle. They delete everything and start over, or even delete their email account completely – hence email bankruptcy.

Others consider email something of the past, like this entertaining post on TechCrunch called Remembering Email. The post notes that social is the answer: we should pursue all our communications through the social platform channels. Instead of having one or two email addresses, use several social networks to communicate. Yaay! I say a bad user blames his tools.

Mastering the ways of email can be daunting when you send and receive a lot, but you can learn in time.

A quote from that TechCrunch post:

Our kids already understand that email is fading. 

No they don’t – they just don’t use it as much as the 20+ demographic group because they don’t have (serious) jobs yet. As soon as they get a job, they will start using email. In some cases, heavily even.

Let’s get one thing straight: you own your inbox. You and you alone are responsible for your email address(es): both the receiving and sending of email. If you receive a lot of email and the important emails get drowned out by all the non-important ones, kill off the stream of non-important email. As much as I love email marketing, too much simply is too much. Cut down on any type of notification emails which are unnecessary. A more extensive list of tips to cut down on inbox load can be found in this post about crowded inboxes.

The point of this post is that there really is a solution, and you alone can apply it. Be happy with your inbox again. Make the “Ding! You’ve got mail!” sound a happy sound again like 10 years ago:

Go forth and own your inbox – never let go!

(title of this post is based on an old internet meme – aybabtu – all your base are belong to us.)

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Hotmail rolling out newest release, introduces Newsletter category

Currently Hotmail is in the process of rolling out a new release (would this be Wave 6?), the latest version of its webmail service which includes separate filters called categories, like the Newsletter category. This latest version was announced early October by the Windows Live team. Here are some screenshots of the changes:


When selecting the Newsletters option on the bar, only newsletters that fit te category will be shown: it will act as a filter on the inbox – it will not be a separate box or folder as some have believed it would be.

Here’s how the categories work:

We use the same SmartScreen™ technology that helps us fight spam – a machine learning engine that gets better over time. Right out of the gate, we’re 95% accurate with the mail we categorize as newsletters, and this will only get better as you help us build the feature by categorizing or un-categorizing your own mail. In fact, every time you categorize an email as a newsletter, you help make our filtering better for yourself and every other customer.


The Schedule cleanup option popup looks like this (this has been there for some time now):

This can help in keeping your inbox tidy, especially if you receive a lot of emails in your Hotmail inbox. Daily deals like Groupon emails anyone? Together with the recently introduced flags, you can win back your inbox by tidying up its contents and using flags on messages that really matter.

Videos explaining the new functionality:

Schedule Cleanup:

Flags done right:

Custom categories:

Hotmail has started to roll out all the new features of the new release to the public last Friday, but it will be some time before all its 400+ million users can enjoy the new functionality.

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