What is the quickest way to filter advertisements in Gmail?
December 31, 2010 7:34 AM   Subscribe

What is the quickest way to filter advertisements in Gmail?

I've had a Gmail account for a number of years now, and at this point probably 75% of the mail I receive consists of advertisements from the various companies I have ordered something from.

I have a filter set up that skips the inbox, marks the e-mail as read, and tags it as "Advertisements". I don't want to mark the messages as spam, as some websites use the same e-mail address for their newsletters and order receipts.

For now, to add e-mails to this filter, I have to copy the e-mail address, open the filter in settings, paste the e-mail address, and go through the steps to finalize the changes. Is there an easier way to add e-mails to an existing filter? Alternatively, are there any other (simpler) ways of managing the deluge of advertising e-mails?
posted by suburbanrobot to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is there a reason you want to keep receiving the ads? I recently went through an unsubscribed from all of those types of emails and it's made my life a lot better.
posted by something something at 7:38 AM on December 31, 2010

If they're legit advertising and not spam, it might be worth the bother to try the unsubscribe links they (hopefully) contain. I reduced my inbox load quite a bit that way.
posted by slothdog at 7:40 AM on December 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Select it from your Inbox or view the message, More Actions, Filter messages like these. Saves you a few steps. That's how I do it anyway.
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 7:42 AM on December 31, 2010

Yes, I think you can add additional emails to an existing filter. You would still need to copy and paste it into an existing filter following the last email address and a comma in the from field. But I would suggest you are better off either hitting the unsubscribe link or using the "More Actions" button as described above.
posted by AugustWest at 8:03 AM on December 31, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the help. I think you are all correct -- it is time to just go through and unsub from the ones I don't care about.
posted by suburbanrobot at 8:09 AM on December 31, 2010

Best answer: Alternatively, if you don't want to unsubscribe (for whatever reason), but don't want these emails in your inbox, you could create a filter that auto-archives emails with phrases like "Click here to unsubscribe" or "To unsubscribe click here". Hopefully, these aren't phrases your friends use!

That will catch a good chunk of the current and future advertisement emails you're likely to get. If you get a new email that doesn't filter out, just add its particular opt-out phrase to your existing filter.
posted by lesli212 at 8:18 AM on December 31, 2010

Best answer: Lesli212 -- that idea is genius. I just deleted all of my old filters, and replaced them with one simple filter that marks as read, archives, and tags as "Advertisements" any e-mail that has the word "unsubscribe" anywhere in the body. I ran a test search, and the few false positives that were returned were online shopping receipts (which I know to look for). That filter also caught about 95% of the ad e-mails that I receive.

Just in case, I added a few e-mail address exemptions for friends & family, and also for any ads I actually want in my inbox. I also exempted any e-mails that contained "order", "shipped", "shipping", "confirmation", "tracking", or "#" in the subject, which pretty much eliminated any order confirmation false positives.
posted by suburbanrobot at 12:38 PM on December 31, 2010

Here is a link to a Lifehacker article I came across while looking for something else.
posted by AugustWest at 1:11 AM on January 1, 2011

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