Hotmail’s war on graymail: it’s working

About two months ago, Hotmail introduced a set of new features to combat what Microsoft is calling “graymail”: that is mail or newsletters that you may have signed up for or opted into, but you now find filling up your inbox.


The new features, Newsletter Filter, One-Click Unsubscribe, Schedule Cleanup, and and Sweep, are getting a lot of use and making a difference, according to a new blog post on Inside Windows Live today.  Over 100 million graymail actions have been performed since the new tools were released in November of last year, Sweep usage is growing by 11% per month, Schedule Cleanup usage has grown by 70% over the past 3 months, and users are making use of the tools to clean up their inboxes:

  • 90% of Sweeps are “Delete all from” actions, which shows that users are choosing to delete their unwanted graymail (instead of moving it to another folder in order to keep for later)
  • 65% of Schedule Cleanup actions are “Keep latest message from sender” rules, which indicates that users are clearing out expired messages and setting up rules to ensure this happens automatically
  • 60% of “Move all from” Sweeps result in a rule creation, signifying that more and more, users are looking to automate the graymail actions they perform in their inbox

While we’ve got more to do to set up Scheduled Cleanup and Sweep on all of our accounts (we use Windows Live Admin Center for our @liveside accounts), we’ve noticed a big difference here already.  How about you?  Are you cleaning out the graymail?  Are the new Hotmail tools helping?

You can learn more about Hotmail’s new tools at