In a bid to expand its services, email deliverability firm Return Path has acquired OtherInbox, a start-up that helps consumers manage their communications with etailers and other bulk senders by organizing and filtering their messages — an aim similar to Gmail’s priority inbox feature. Financial terms were not disclosed.
OtherInbox’s founder and CEO, Joshua Baer, will continue to head up the operation as an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary of Return Path. Baer has been a fixture in the email marketing space for years. He founded email service provider Skylist while still a college student in 1996, and eventually sold it and UnsubCentral to DATRAN Media. Baer has been a long-time chair at the Email Senders and Providers Coalition, and helps organize the Inbox Love conference. With this acquisition, he joins Return Path.
The free web-based OtherInbox Organizer product works with Gmail, Yahoo Mail and AOL mail, taking email from commercial senders and marking them or putting them in dedicated folders. It also organizes shipping information, payment reminders and upcoming sales and places them on users’ calendars. The idea is that the product helps consumers by de-cluttering their inboxes, while helping them better manage the commercial emails that they want to receive — theoretically avoiding “inbox overload” syndrome and keeping them from severing relationships with commercial senders altogether. The Organizer offering also eases the process of unsubscribing, so consumers aren’t bombarded with messages they soon grow to hate.
For marketers, OtherInbox gathers data — such as consumer ratings on senders — designed to help them better craft relevant, targeted messages. Return Path says it will use this data to improve its Sender Score reputation scoring system, which is used by email service providers to make better blocking and filtering decisions. It will also be used as a part of Return Path’s Certification program.
In addition, Return Path says the acquisition helps expand the company’s global footprint and furthers its mission of making email work better and ending messaging abuse. OtherInbox is based in Austin, Texas. Return Path has headquarters in New York City and offices around the globe.