HEY for email done right

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It’s been over ten months since a new email service, HEY came out and I’ve been using it since, along with a Work version that came out a few months ago. And it has turned managing me email from a feeling of dread, to a feeling of joy, which is what email should be! While this is essentially a review of the service, I’m only going to focus on the unique aspects that I feel make all the difference to using email.

Emails are just modern-day letters. So in some ways, they should be treated as such. HEY email’s way of organizing your email seems to take that approach. Its core model consists of three options: put it in a pile to reply to later, set it aside in another pile, or send it to the paper trail for receipts, and other emails that you may need to reference. There’s also a Feed option for newsletters which gets automated as you designate email addresses to it. This form of interaction seems simple and obvious when you consider how you handle your paper mail (or used to — if you’re like me, you avoid getting mail altogether!): putting it in piles to deal with, or filing it. It’s ultimately made me feel less overwhelmed and more in control, as the emails that need my attention don’t get lost in the shuffle!

There’s no archive option in HEY which Gmail has made the standard way to handle email. Archiving email seems to have created the side effect of the need to get to “inbox zero” which doesn’t really make sense and only makes you feel guilty if you don’t get there. Instead, in HEY, you just let any emails you read flow and focus on the ones that need your attention based on those core filtering options. You can always just search for something later if you need to.

There are a couple of unique ways that HEY handles SPAM. It of course has a spam filter that seems to work well. But what do you do with those cold emails that sometimes feel like SPAM? If you have images turned on in your email app by default, many of those emails will track when you open them, without you even knowing it, and decide whether to keep sending you more emails! HEY handles this by blocking this kind of tracking while still showing the images. And, it requires you screen first-time senders so nothing shows up in your inbox unless you’ve previously screened them in. This also works well for blocking certain emails that don’t have unsubscribe options to because the sender considers them particularly important, even when you don’t.

The Work version of HEY is designed to work for custom domains with multiple accounts for your organization. It adds the ability to create aliases to forward emails to select coworkers (like support@), and internal team commenting around an email without having to reply to it. Even without the Work version, you can use custom domain forwarding which forwards specific email addresses from your host to your main HEY account and allows replying from it as well. The main difference is that the Work version takes over the entire domain and manages all email addresses without the need for a separate host. Having both options though is pretty great as I have various personal domains that I want to make sure I’m still getting email for and now they all forward to one account!

HEY costs $99 a year, and does not have a free version like Gmail. But that “free” comes with Google mining data in your emails (including attachments) to use for its ads. I’m more than happy to pay not to have that done with my data, along with all the added benefits above. The Work version is $12 per user per month. With how much we depend on emails daily, the price tag is well worth. HEY saves you wasted effort and no longer makes email a burden to deal with!