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Summary:

Get too much email these days? Who doesn’t? Startup AwayFind (now in private beta; request access via their homepage) wants to help you cut down on the nuisance by letting you only deal with email twice a day. The secret sauce: a contact URL on your […]

ScreenshotGet too much email these days? Who doesn’t? Startup AwayFind (now in private beta; request access via their homepage) wants to help you cut down on the nuisance by letting you only deal with email twice a day. The secret sauce: a contact URL on your “out of office” message that bounces people over to a hosted web form that handles urgent requests. The idea is that people email you, get the response, and then if it’s important they duck over to your web form, which can send you (or your assistant) an email or SMS notification.

It’s an interesting idea: the online equivalent of having an administrative assistant screen your mail and only bother you for the important things. I fear some of my most persistent nuisances might learn quickly to just skip the email and go straight to AwayFind, just as they flag every message as important nowadays. But if you’re suffering from severe email overload, it’s worth a look. They plan both a free service and a premium ($5/month) version with additional settings and customizations.

  1. I’ve been using AwayFind for a few months now and I actually link to it from the contact page on my website to give my clients the ability to get in touch in an urgent situation. It gives me an extra bit of control for those situations when electronic communication would be more efficient or convenient than a phone call, say if I’m meeting with another client or will not be able to check my email for a bit. The SMS gives me the extra nudge to let me know that there *is* an urgent message waiting for me to check.

    Overall, I think AwayFind is a great service and one which keeps improving as it progresses. Although, like you said, one concern would be if everyone decided to send their contact an urgent/SMS message every time. I can see the service eventually transitioning into a more exclusive communication method. Meaning that just as you wouldn’t give out your personal cell phone number to everyone, you may decide to only give certain people access to your AwayFind page.

  2. Jared Goralnick Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Thanks so much for the write-up, Mike! We’re working hard to get this out the door!

    With regard to the whole, “I fear some of my most persistent nuisances might learn quickly to just skip the email and go straight to AwayFind,” that’s a very real concern. We don’t have thousands of users to report on definitively, but we’ve found people to be surprisingly respectful…with fewer than 5% of actionable messages turning into AF emergencies (And under 1% of all emails).

    Thanks again for the coverage and I’m happy to help your readers (jared AT setconsulting dot com) or discuss anytime!

    (Great tip about Gmail auto-complete of Contacts by the way, too. That will be very helpful)

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