Fixing your email promo folder

Your promo folder is broken, and our fix for it is a bit stuck.

If you use Gmail, you probably have thousands of emails in your promo folder. A quick look will show you that there are dozens of emails moved there by Google that you probably wish you had seen. In the last week, I found several personal notes, several calendar invites (including ones for Google’s own calendar), and newsletters from Tim Ferriss and others.

We are finding that 20% of the Slack invites we’re sending to people are ending up misfiled in the promo folder as well.

Most of us live with the misfiling because we don’t know about it, because we save so much time on the junk that disappears, and partly because we don’t know how to easily fix it without dragging emails over one at a time.

Enough of the writers and orgs I work with were frustrated by the incorrect filing of important mail by Google that I decided to work with my team to build a simple system that with just a few clicks, would move many of the emails you’re missing out of the promo folder back to where they belong.

It does this without signing you up for any new lists, without sharing your data with anyone, without reading your email.

All we’ve done is built a list of good stuff (our gold list), senders you might have signed up for but are missing.

And it’s free.

You can see the preliminary page here:

And we’ve published our code base for anyone to see on GitHub.


Google has rejected the script. Even if you want to use it, Google won’t let you.

It’s not really clear to us what the problem is, and after six weeks of discussing this with them, I decided to share our impasse here on the blog.

This is all we’ve been told, unedited:

“Gmail’s tabbed inbox experience puts emails where our users want them to be, based on user corrections. Users may further customize with filters, or disable tabs altogether.”  — Google spokesperson

“The Gmail API’s data use policies give our users the confidence they need to keep their data safe. Apps that solely filter or remove filtering options in Gmail are against our policy.” — Google spokesperson


If this issue resonates with you, I hope you’ll take a minute to fill out this simple form to share your feedback with the people who run the Promo folder at Gmail. We’ll share it with them. We’re hopeful that they’ll see that it’s in everyone’s interest to let you easily take control of the folder and get the email you’d like to get out of the Promo folder.