Basecamp's new invite-only email service HEY, which puts users in control, is winning hearts

Basecamp launched HEY, a subscription-driven and invite-only email service for users who want more control over their inboxes.
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It's been a while since the email got disrupted.

Gmail launched over 15 years ago, and went on to topple reigning star Yahoo Mail. Since then, most new email services have been either one-feature-centric (Proton Mail, for instance, is hinged on encryption) or largely insipid.

Now, Basecamp Co-founders David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried are out to reimagine and 'reinvent' the email, which they think is fundamentally broken.

"It’s 2020, we need to talk about email. Email gets a bad rap, but it shouldn’t. Email’s a treasure. But things changed... Now email feels like a chore, rather than a joy. Something you fall behind on. Something you clear out, not cherish. Rather than delight in it, you deal with it," they say.

Hence, HEY email: a new clutter-free and subscription-driven email service from Basecamp, which launched on Monday and is invite-only until July. Each user who signs up for HEY gets two invite codes to give away.



In a passionate ode to the "wonder" of email, HEY creators wrote,

"Email deserves a dust-off. A renovation. Modernised for the way we email today. With HEY, we’ve done just that. It’s a redo, a rethink, a simplified, potent reintroduction of email. A fresh start, the way it should be. HEY is our love letter to email, and we’re sending it to you on the Web, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android."

HEY is designed for 'neat' freaks, who want non-automated, spam-free, aesthetically designed, intimate and personalised inboxes. "It’s consent-based email, where you’re in control," states the company.

"Email’s new heyday is here," Basecamp CEO Jason Fried tweeted.

HEY's top features include The Screener (which lets you screen who you want to hear from), The Imbox (the place for im-portant emails), The Feed (non-urgent emails like newsletters and promotions), The Paper Trail (for receipts, order confirmations, service notifications, etc.), Reply Later (which stacks up emails that need action at the bottom of the screen), and Files (an attachment library "that gathers up every attachment you’ve ever received in one organised, siftable place").

"Email is frustrating because so much is out of your control. Vague subject lines, getting cc’ed to death on group threads, separate threads that should really just be one thread, etc. You quickly get stuck dealing with everyone else’s bad email hygiene. No more! With HEY, you’re in charge," the creators added.

Additionally, HEY is putting a premium on short email addresses.

For a two-letter address consisting of only initials, users have to pay $999 a year, while a three-letter costs them $349 a year. To avail four-letter or longer email addresses, users pay the basic fee of $99 a year. All users start with a 14-day free trial.

HEY also blocks spy trackers so users can access their emails without their private data getting captured for marketing or other purposes.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)