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Is This Still a Thing? Looking Back at Unroll.me

unfurling fern

ProfHacker has been writing posts for a long time now, and in addition to all the evergreen posts about writing and syllabus design and so forth, we’ve also covered a lot of tech. I’ve been kicking around the idea of an occasional series called “Is This Still a Thing?,” in which I look back at an app, service, or gadget we’ve reviewed, and briefly update readers on its status.

For one reason or another, I’ve dithered in getting this off the ground, but recent revelations about Unroll.me have smoothed the path.

Four years ago, Brian plugged Unroll.me, a service that offered to scan your cloud-hosted email for subscriptions, and roll them up into a single daily message, called a roundup. Brian found that he had 180 [!] subscriptions, unsubscribed from a bunch, and rolled most of the rest into his Unroll.me account.

This was the pitch:

Unfortunately, this week has seen some pretty shocking news about Unroll.me: Namely, that that their company has been selling anonymized user data to companies like Uber. So, for example, Unroll.me would look at all the different subscriptions you have, and then sell data about it. And there are reports that Unroll.me’s security practices aren’t great.

So, despite the reality of the need that Unroll.me could potentially address, I’m going to have to say that Unroll.me is not a thing. In the wake of the email revelations, a service called Clean has gotten some attention, in part because they charge and so presumably have better privacy practices, but I can’t sit here and say that I’ve personally used it.

Do you have a preferred email bundling service or other way to auto-manage email subscriptions? Let us know in comments!

Photo “Unfurling (2)” by Flickr user Thomas / Creative Commons licensed BY-ND-2.0

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