The email industry is moving on up! Bacn is the new spam and major ISPs are making changes to make sure that your inbox stays healthy. For clarity, “spam” is simply email that people don’t want. Bacn is a new phenomena defined as “email you want- but not right now”. This can be something like daily deals, notifications or advertisements from some of your favorite clothing sites. Bacn, unlike spam, has been opted in to and therefore, is usually of some importance to the recipient. But this can also be considered to be a nuisance. Personally, I get a notification every time I receive an email and on the off chance that it is important, I check it. More often than not, I end up disappointed to find that my mailbox is being filled with bacn, loaded with unwanted fat and distracting my productivity to an unhealthy amount. Bacn is detrimental to the recipient and increasingly, to the sender. Now, instead of reading the excess of bacn I receive, I automatically click delete whenever I receive those messages. In fact, most of the time when I realize that I am being bombarded, I unsubscribe. This is unfortunate for the sender as well as for myself since I am interested in their product or service but the frequency of their sending accompanied with the lack of it’s importance causes the relationship to crumble.

Solution for me (the recipient):

Gmail has moved past “Priority Inbox” and created “ Smart Labels” so that I do not need to create filters myself but they have added intuition to do it for me. Hotmail found that over 75% of spam complaints were due to “Graymail” (otherwise known as bacn). In response, Hotmail used “Smartscreen” technology to categorize newsletters (usually viewed as bacn) so that users can select them and deal with them as they please. Hotmail has also put in a service that can automatically clean your mailbox depending on what kind of email it sees. While we can’t yet do this in modern email clients (including Apple Mail, Thunderbird and Outlook), we still can set up filters such as Notifications to direct messages from social media or other sites. has released a service (for $24.95) called Mail Act-On that has nice features for organizing and filtering one’s mailbox. Companies like Sanebox have developed their entire service off of bacn but in the best way. Their “algorithms determine the importance of each email, move unimportant messages out of the Inbox into a separate folder, and summarize them for you.” They also cover the “not right now” part by “placing an email in the SaneTomorrow, SaneNextWeek or Custom Defer folder and SaneBox will place it back in your Inbox when the time comes.” The tools are out there and bacn is being phased from the menu.

Solution for the sender:

With more tools to eliminate bacn, senders need to earn clicks and opens. Our advice, keep your content and frequency relevant. This means that every time an email is sent, it should bring the recipient something that they find to be of value. With every connection, consider what value you can add to that connection. The relationships we cling to are those where we feel that we are learning from; that approach us in a human way and want to share an experience. We push away those relationships that we feel are naggy or forceful. Bacn is that relationship where you enjoy their company but don’t have the time to meet their demands. An irrelevant email can break a recipient’s trust putting the sender in the danger zone to losing the relationship.

If these are alerts or notifications, read up on our recent post (pending notification post) to help make sure they are done properly.