We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Courteous.ly review

FREE

Manufacturer: Courteous.ly

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Let others know if your email load is light, normal, or heavy with cloud-based service Courteous.ly.

If you work in an office, you can close your door or slip in a pair of headphones to let others know that you are too busy to be disturbed. Wouldn't it be nice if you could send the same signal via email? Now you can, with  Courteous.ly, a free cloud-based service that lets others know where your email load stands so they can wait to contact you.

Courteous.ly is a research project headed by Associate Professor Eric Gilbert of Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing. It is available for free to the public. It currently works only with Gmail and Google Apps email, though support for other types of email accounts may be added in the future.

Once you sign up for Courteous.ly and allow the service to access your email, it analyzes your inbox to determine your current email load. By default, it measures your email load based on how many messages are in your inbox, but you can also tell it to measure the number of unread messages and how many messages you have recently sent. Once you sign up for the service, it takes about 12 hours before it is up and running; Courteous.ly spends that time analyzing your email patterns so that it can determine what is normal for you. Once it determines your baseline activity, Courteous.ly updates its rating every 10 minutes.

See all: Email tools reviews

I found Courteous.ly's rating scale, which uses "light," "normal," or "heavy" to describe your email load, to be very accurate. It rated my load as heavy when emails were flowing in frequently and I had many messages unread. Once I had time to respond to emails and file messages into folders, Courteous.ly appropriately rated my email load as "normal."

Courteous.ly delivers this information through a custom link for your account; to share the information with your correspondents, you have to send them the link. But getting people to click a link that arrives either in your email signature or in an auto-response that you set up could be a challenge, especially as we've all been trained not to click on unfamiliar links that arrive by email. You can share the link via Facebook and Twitter, too, if you'd like the share the information with a wider circle of contacts.

Courteous.ly also lets you offer people two options for corresponding with you: it tells them they can put "[whenever]" in the subject line of their email, and their message will be held for delivery until your email load is back to normal, or they can put a one-sentence question in the subject of their message, and have it delivered to the top of your inbox.

Business Advisor

Courteous.ly Expert Verdict »

Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7
Internet connection, Web browser (works with any), Gmail or Google Apps for Domains account
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

I can see where Courteous.ly could be convenient - if you can get people to click on the link. As a journalist, I would appreciate having PR pitches held back until my workload is lighter. But I'm not sure I'd want to share my workload information with everyone. After all, what if an editor decided not to offer me a potential assignment because they'd been warned that my workload was too heavy?

  • Right Inbox review

    Right Inbox

    Right Inbox blends into Gmail, letting you easily follow up on emails or schedule them for later sending. Here's our Right Inbox review.

  • Boomerang for Gmail review

    Boomerang for Gmail

    Schedule email to send later from your Gmail account with Boomerang for Gmail.

  • Mailbox for iPhone review: a clever, free email app

    Mailbox for iPhone: a clever, free email app

    Mailbox for iPhone is an innovative email that belongs on your iPhone - if you can wait for an invite. Read our Mailbox for iPhone review to find out more.

  • PhilterIt review

    PhilterIt

    PhilterIt is a useful free tool for if you want to keep your Groupon, Facebook, and other branded mail coming, but stop it being mixed in with the important stuff. Read our PhilterIt review to find out more.

  • Inky review - email client shows promise

    Inky - email client shows promise

    Inky is an email desktop client that brings all your email accounts together under one roof. Here's our Inky review.


IDG UK Sites

6 best gaming PCs 2015: What's the best gaming PC you can buy in the UK?

IDG UK Sites

Three of the most expensive Limited Edition games ever made: Who's buying a $1,000,000 game?

IDG UK Sites

The future of Microsoft Surface: What to expect from the Surface Pro 4

IDG UK Sites

Best Mac: Apple Mac buyers guide for 2015: iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and...