Junk mail. For some of you, these two words may bring about a feeling of unease or outright aggression. In the digital age, spam email is simple enough to get rid of, but junk paper mail remains an elusive arch nemesis, continually plaguing your mailbox. It’s simple enough to throw away mail that you don’t need or want, but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t receive that mail at all?
To rid yourself of such junk mail, you’d need to contact the supplier of said mail and request that they refrain for sending additional junk. That is until the release of PaperKarma, an extremely simple-to-use tool that does this dirty work for you. Find out how after the jump.
When you start up PaperKarma, you’ll need to create an account, which can be done by signing in with Facebook or simply signing up within the app. You’ll need to provide your name, mailing address and email address. Your phone number is requested, but is not required; however, some companies require your phone number to properly remove you from their system, so providing it is strongly suggested.
Unsubscribing to Junk Mail
The process of unsubscribing to junk mail is dead simple and my hat is off to PaperKarma making it so. Start by tapping the Take Photo button on the home page. The camera on your iPhone will open and you will need to capture of photo of the mail in question.
When capturing your photo, it’s important to include as much information about the sender as possible, as PaperKarma already has your information and does not need it in the photo. Examples include a magazine title, the sender’s name and address on the front or back of the envelope, the company’s logo or a website URL.
After capturing your photo, you’ll be directed to a confirmation page. If you’re satisfied with the content displayed and the quality of the photo, tap the Send & Stop button in the bottom left corner if you don’t have additional junk mail to submit. If you receive a nice batch of junk mail and want to capture additional photos, tap the Send & Take New button in the bottom right corner. That’s the whole process.
Keeping Tabs On Your Requests
Once you’ve submitted your unsubscribe request, PaperKarma goes to work by verifying your photo and contacting the offending proprietor of junk mail. As stated in PaperKarma’s FAQ section, the process takes around 24 hours, which was accurate for three of the four unsubscribe requests I submitted. It’s worth noting that an email was sent out to users recently, stating that due to a high volume of traffic it may take a few weeks to clear PaperKarma’s backlog. Luckily, Readabl, Inc. has stated they are hiring more staff to help with the traffic.
If you wish to view the status of your submissions, tap the View All button on the home page. The Requests page will open, which has four different areas you can toggle between — All, Success, Pending and Failed. These four pages are extremely nice to have, considering there’s no way to delete previous submissions. So if you submit a lot of requests, you may end up with a long list to scroll through.
If you tap on a request, you’ll be transitioned to the Status page, which includes some additional information regarding the status of your request. If your request was successful, PaperKarma reminds you that it may take a few weeks for the company to process your request to be removed. In addition, PaperKarma will follow-up with you at a later date to see if the request was honored.
If PaperKarma did successfully identify the company, it requests that you confirm so by tapping the Correct button on this page. In addition, if you would like to view information about the company that sent you the junk mail, you can do so by tapping the Company button on the bottom of the screen. It’s worth noting that if you’re not on a Wi-Fi network, both the Status and Company page may take fifteen plus seconds to load.
Does PaperKarma Really Work?
I would not be surprised if that was the first question you asked yourself upon reading the opening of this article. PaperKarma seems like a “too good to be true” type of service, but Readabl, Inc. has provided images of emails they have received from companies, verifying that they will honor the requests PaperKarma has made on the behalf of its users.
One important detail you must keep in mind when submitting requests is that PaperKarma can only handle junk mail that was sent to you specifically, meaning your name is on the mail. Advertisements or other junk mail items that are labeled as “to the current resident,” or something similar, are types of junk mail that PaperKarma refers to as being “carpet-bombed over an entire postal code or mail route,” and can not be removed from a mailing list.
I know some readers may still be skeptical, but I have very high hopes for Paper Karma. I’m not someone that’s overrun with junk mail, but the amount I do receive is enough to make me want to use this service. Granted, I won’t know if PaperKarma is really successful for at least a few weeks, if not longer. If I do continue to receive junk mail from the same company, I plan to follow PaperKarma’s advice and re-submit a new request, hoping that will be the final nail in the coffin.
At the time of this writing, PaperKarma is free in the App Store, with no mention of what the cost of the app will be in the future (or when that cost will be applied). So, if you’re tired of junk mail clogging your mailbox, I highly recommend downloading PaperKarma while it’s still on the house.