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Show HN: Subscription Score – A browser ext that identifies bad mailing lists (subscriptionscore.com)
48 points by jivings 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments



Hey HN! I work on a web app that makes it easy to unsubscribe from mailing lists.

Last year we started building an algorithm to rank subscriptions, with the intention of making it easier for our users to see at a glance what they should unsubscribe from and what they should keep.

We trialed this functionality within the app for a few months and quickly realised that it could be useful as a tool to protect people from signing up to bad mailing lists in the first place.

Currently, when you hand over your email address to a website or service, there is very little way to know how responsible they will be with it and how many emails they will send you.

Our goal is to help cut down on the amount of unwanted spam we all receive in our inboxes, and we think that addressing this information inequality is an important step in this direction.

So today we're releasing a browser extension to do just that! If the website you are currently visiting is known to send mailing lists, then we show you our Subscription Score rank for those lists in browser toolbar.

To help further, if the extension notices that you are signing up on a website with a bad score, then it will show you an alert, warning you that the site may spam your inbox if you hand over your email address.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and questions!


This is a really great idea, I just feel the value proposition at $6/m or even the $3/m isn't justified to me.

That's putting you above my iCloud sub and barely below my Google sub, only a little below what I'm paying for Netflix.

I guess I'm just tiring from subscription fatigue.

Edit: Just want to add, unfortunately the few minutes of time I currently spend curating my email is worth far less than the cost. While it might appeal to a niche subset of SV users I just can't see the value proposition for anyone else.. I guess it's a question of your cost of service vs potential addressable market.


Thanks! Yessss, we did think it could be difficult to sell a browser extension on subscription. The market possibly suffers from a similar fate as app store sales - people are very used to getting them for free!

That said we've had a few sales today, so we'll see how it goes. If it doesn't work out then it's fairly easy to tweak the price, or we could offer a freemium version.

Though my instinct tells me that if users wouldn't even pay $3/m for something then it probably hasn't got great product market fit and we need to change our approach!


I currently use and pay $11/year for pinboard. I am very happy with the service and I gladly renew every year. I am not much of a newsletter subscriber, but your plugin may help change my mind.

However, your service is not worth over three times the cost I am currently paying to keep track of my internet bookmarks.

But I also realize I am a bit of an outlier. I host my own music server rather than use Spotify. I run my own Nextcloud service rather than use Dropbox. I run my own Plex server rather than subscribe to Netflix. I cancelled my Amazon Prime after they raised the price. I didn't use their streaming services and I can wait another day or two for the junk I just bought.

Hopefully this info will help you and your company.


Spotify offers a lot more value per dollar than this.


There's an alternative approach that I think would feel more valuable and worth paying for.

Think about how Apple Pay solves this problem: they give a unique email address to every site. People who have their own domains, or who trust the base+suffix@domain approach and don't think sites will strip off the +suffix, do something similar manually.

You could provide a similar service for sites that don't accept Apple Pay.

Provide an automatic email address (no per-site setup required) for people who expect a few transactional mails ("here's your shipment tracking number"), track (across customers) whether those email addresses get sold to spam lists, flag companies that get caught selling email addresses.

If you're providing the insulating layer on email, you're providing more obvious value to your customers.


I actually use the service you described. It is called http://anonaddy.com .

I'm not affiliated to them (discovered them on Producthunt I think) but I use it all of the time for one-off eCommerce websites, newsletters, etc. you can have your own custom domain and anything before the @ is a wildcard and gets automatically created.

It is super easy to "delete" or stop the forwarding of email to these addresses


As a newsletter publisher, I really want to know my score. There may be some way to monetize my desire; e.g. how Return Path has their Sender Score.


Manual reporting functionality (modelled on the Sender Score one) is coming soon!


I agree on the pricing. How often do you need to subscribe to newsletters and how hard does it need to be to unsubscribe from them to make this worth $6/month “forever”?

Worst case:

* I subscribe using the “+” trick (john.doe+newslettername@domain.com) * The newsletter sucks but it doesn’t offer any way to unsubscribe * I make a new rule: all mail to john.doe+newslettername@domain.com goes to trash immediately


Agreed. I have too many questions about the offering to buy something like this outright.


Cool idea, but honestly not something I would ever pay for.

We have adblockers with open sources lists of bad domains, and I could see something like that in this area being super powerful. But not sure I could every justify paying for it. What is the actual value proposition here? Am I missing a part of it?

Edit: However I am interested in your main service and might give that a try. This service for free could lead to more paying users there. I think that price model makes more sense than $6 / month. I think I could stay pretty clean with a couple dollars on occasion with it. And then no need to spend the $6. The models seem at odds with eachother almost.


It's certainly a similar concept to an ad blocker. We have over half a million mailing list emails on record, and the scores and details of each are being updated daily.

I think that the data we have is really useful for individuals who want to protect their inbox from noise, but we definitely need to find the right way to offer that information in an affordable & sustainable way.


Very promising. How does it work? Is there a source available, or a high level overview of how it finds the correct mailing lists?

I’m working on an inbox service that makes it easy to have integrations (think Slack superpowers). Would love to see how we could integrate with your team!


The extension itself is open source [1], but it's fetching the data from our own API. The data itself is sourced mainly from our email unsubscribe service [2].

Would love to chat about your service, send me an email james(at)subscriptionscore.com

[1]: https://github.com/subscriptionscore/extension/ [2]: https://leavemealone.app


How is the score calculated? One example has "high" unsubscribe rate but a 9.99 score. Another one has a high score but a "tedious" description.

The scores just felt a bit off to me from the examples.

I agree with some other comments that suggest this is valuable data but I would suggest giving it to consumers for free and allow them to vote to give you better data and then charge newsletter creators for the data and ways to improve their score.


I love this, but it costs too much. $5-15/year maybe, but $3-6/month definitely not.


It's $3 a month! That's around the price of a cheap cup of coffee in the US. I don't get why people can say in the same sentence: "I love this product" and "it's too expensive". You are not willing to pay the same amount as one cup of coffee a month for it? It blows my mind.


Because it's not a cup of coffee.

You're more or less guaranteed a consistent taste when you order a cup of coffee. Not so much when buying a subscription to a random SaaS from the HN front page. Trust is a significant issue here.

Coffee also doesn't require commitment. I can walk out of the shop, and say "that's my last coffee", and that'll be the end of it. No hunting down unsubscribe/cancel buttons, etc.

I mean as someone building their own SaaS, I totally get the frustration. But anchoring your price to coffee isn't as useful as say, what people pay for Dropbox, VPS/VPN or email providers.


It’s $36/year. When I buy one cup of coffee I don’t automatically get another one every month if I forget to unsubscribe.

What’s hard to understand about liking something and finding it too expensive? I drove my fathers Mercedes, I loved it, but it’s too expensive.

Rationalizing everything by comparing it to coffee and thinking in payments instead of total price is how Apple is able to convince people to buy another $1000 iPhone every year.


it seems you're good with playing the cheap viral game on product hunt, but probably that kind of cheap tricks doesn't work very well here.




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