Publisher: Readabl, Inc.
Price: Free
Version: 1.1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

iPhone integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Every afternoon I stroll out to my mailbox hoping that someone sent me a letter or fancy package only to discover that my mailbox is packed full with junk mail. There are enough credit card offers, insurance letters and catalogs in one week to potentially save a whole tree. Trying to get rid of the junk mail and contact the senders would take hours out of my day, so thankfully there’s an app for that.

PaperKarma sets out to help save the planet from junk mail by automatically contacting the mailer and removing the recipient’s email from the distribution list. It works to stop most of the junk mail, but it won’t exactly stop all junk mail.

Here’s how it works. Users can create an account or link PaperKarma to their Facebook profile. This means that there is some personal information required. I elected to not provide my phone number and was still able to register. It’s then necessary to accept a user license agreement. After a few minutes of time, it’s then possible to begin scanning mail or choosing an existing photo. It’s important to capture both address windows so companies can locate the proper records.

PaperKarma takes care of all the rest. There is a request status window where users can view their pending, successful and failed junk mail requests. My initial request was successful within 10 minutes, which I thought was pretty darn fast. Of course, it will take a few weeks for the company to process the request but at least I didn’t have to type out the email or call them myself.

The app isn’t completely perfect as it can’t remove users from all mailing lists. It’s up to companies to comply with the proper laws to expunge individuals from their distribution list when requested. Dealing with solicited mail is where things can get tricky because it isn’t exactly addressed to the user. Mail that says “to our friends” or “our neighbors at” won’t always be handled. Recipients will have to just deal with sacrificing a tree and placing this mail in their recycling bin.

There’s also the issue of the company not being in PaperKarma’s database. They do have an extensive list, but PaperKarma tries hard to track a company down when it isn’t on the distribution list by using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

Overall, It’s a great concept, but who knows if it truly works since it can take up to a month or longer to see results. Since PaperKarma is completely free to try, it’s easily recommendable to anyone looking to rid their mailbox of clutter. It doesn’t hurt to take a few seconds out of the day to stop all the junk mail, and users will help save trees along the way.

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