AwayFind Introduces New Time- And Calendar-Based Alert Features To Compete With Apple’s VIP Mail Service

AwayFind is a service that notifies you when you get email from loved ones, bosses, and friends and keeps them in a special, separate app where you can reply to them at your leisure. It works best, for example, if you only check your real mail app every few hours and keep your eye on AwayFind for the important stuff. I’ve been using it for a while and really enjoy the freedom it affords.

Now, however, with increased competition from Apple’s VIP service on the iPhone – VIP is a way to set certain senders as specifically important – they’ve added a few tricks to make things better. In a blog post, founder Jared Goralnick wrote that the service now supports calendar-based alerts – you can turn them off when you leave work, for example – and special calendar-based alerts that shut off all emails except those from people you’re meeting. Both of these features drill fairly far down into the more nitpicky aspects of email management, but they’re a definite differentiator for the service.

You can now set a schedule for when you’d like to receive alerts OR when you don’t want to receive them. This kind of flexibility means you can set different schedules for weekdays and weekends.
Our users that have a lot of meetings love our Calendar Alerts, but some of them have too many appointments with a ton of attendees…and thus they find themselves getting too many alerts. We partially addressed this a couple months ago by allowing you to set the alert window to 15 minutes or 30 minutes (our smallest alert window used to be 1 hour). But now you can actually restrict alerts from certain people!

“One of the best things about iOS6 is its Do Not Disturb feature, and their implementation of it was easier than how it worked with AwayFind alerts. So we wanted to take this to the next level – now our Alert Times not only let you indicate quiet times during the week, but also setting a specific schedule on the weekend,” said Goralnick. “And in our Custom Alerts, you can set different schedules for specific contacts, subjects, or other criteria of email.”

The service is free to try and costs $4.99 a month for 100 alerts a month and $14.99 a month for 1,000 notifications. Their Max plan, which could be used to manage a support account, offers unlimited alerts for $49.99 per month. Goralnick hopes that this will sway users who may simply set up VIP and ignore the real problems associated with email – the constant flow of information when you’re supposed to be in a down time.

“We’ve always been different than VIP, a little more advanced and flexible perhaps, but these additions now ensure that feature-for-feature there’s an advantage for AwayFind,” he said.