A new digital storage facility promises to be a safe haven for those important emails and attachments that get buried in our ever growing list of inboxes.
and created by digital transformation network CourtAvenue, the product was in part inspired by the pandemic. People have been leaving their jobs in droves to freelance, change fields, launch their own businesses and retire. But what happens to all those personal messages and attachments that we accrue while associated with our former companies? And of the myriad useless messages we get to our personal mailbox every single day; isn’t there some critical information that you want to save and be able to access at a later date without needing to scroll what feels like an infinite number of other messages just because you can’t recall the exact subject category of the particular message that you seek?
“Email search is incredibly flawed,” Kenny Tomlin, co-founder of CourtAvenue, tells us. “This becomes even more apparent when you have multiple email addresses as many people do today (work, personal, school and so forth) and you have a lot of unimportant messages mixed in with important information or documents. The idea was having a user-friendly repository where you can take one of those important emails (which maybe includes various attachments), optionally tag it and store it in one accessible place.”
MainZero isn't actually an email address. Think of it as a digital storage facility (with a Marie Kondo element). It's a permanent space to move essential messages, attachments, files, etc. (from other mailboxes) so that you can access them quickly and easily, forever. Once email users effectively cut the cord and go all in on messaging services like Slack and/or text, the creators of MainZero believe that it may stand as the only service housing our most important, private, personal information.
According to information from CourtAvenue, MainZero addresses one primary issue and a number of secondary issues. The primary issue is, as Kenny has alluded to, that email is broken. We know that an important document or email exists somewhere in our inbox or folders but doing a search in Outlook, Gmail or Apple Mail rarely yields the result we are looking for. This process of finding the exact message is further complicated when the search spans multiple work and personal email accounts.
What’s more, organising and saving important emails in folders is tedious, inefficient and doesn’t get you to the email you’re looking for easily. File management from email generally requires saving the file and uploading to Google Drive or DropBox before placing it in the correct folder, only adding to the frustration of your search.
“We approached MainZero as we usually do when identifying a business problem or opportunity, by looking at things from the perspective of the user,” adds Kenny. "’Why would I use this and for what? How would I use this? How would this be an easy and seamless experience?’ You also look at things from the perspective of different kinds of users, am I the owner of a business or several businesses? Am I a student? Am I a professional who is taking on a new job opportunity on the average of every two years? Am I someone juggling family responsibilities and a social life as well as perhaps some part time work? Regardless of who you may be, we look at all of the various ways someone may use this and we take that thinking into the interface design and the technology behind the features. Ultimately we believe we've created a useful tool for a variety of people, but we expect individuals will find new and different ways for MainZero to help them that we couldn't even conceive of.”
MainZero functions as a custom web application that accepts emails you send to your designated address and at that point uses logic that scans the various elements, indexes the content contained within and stores them securely for easy retrieval. The interface is driven by intelligence that allows the user to log-in and retrieve these items based on attributes that they assigned when they sent it in, or by the attributes that were scanned when received.
Users register for an account and they receive a MainZero email address. From any of the email addresses you own or have access to, you can forward important emails to your MainZero address and optionally add some tags as meta data for later ease of retrieval. The email you send is divided up into the text and attachments which are now all retrievable by logging into your MainZero account and pulling them up by text, tag or filename. The service is free -of-charge for 30 days. After that, the fee is $4.99 a month. CourtAvenue is planning to announce an enterprise service soon. With regards to privacy and security issues, the upside of MainZero is that your account belongs to you and you determine what email addresses can send to your account. All content is encrypted when stored and your login and connection to the system is also secured by encryption.
“We see two primary reasons why people should migrate their messages to MZ and they have to do with the nature of email and how it's used today,” says Kenny. “In many respects, an email address can be ephemeral. We may only have access to it for a short time and are therefore unsure if important work we send is saved. Your MainZero account is yours and you can send it anything, so it's really a ‘life-backup’ where you can retain that which is important to you.
“The second reason goes back to what I said earlier, that email search is broken and if you have more than one email address, the process of retaining or finding things sent through email is a fundamentally bad experience. This takes only things you decide are important and puts them in one place and makes them easily retrievable from anywhere. Largely speaking, the targeted audience is anyone who uses email extensively.”