Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
Engadget for the iPhone: download the app now
AOL Tech is like a more powerful FollowUpThen without the annoying image

I constantly use FollowUpThen to remind myself to follow up on emails that I've sent. It's a super-handy service, but it's not without its shortcomings. One of its biggest problems (in my view) is the huge sticky note image that it sticks into every message. is a service that, according to its developer, existed long before FollowUpThen, and it offers a heck of a lot more in terms of usability and customization (at the cost of some of the simplicity).

My favorite feature so far is that, instead of the huge image, you get a nice table with clickable links for postponing the reminder. Just click the link for 30 minutes, one day, or any of the other commonly used intervals that you see on the table, and the reminder will be sent back to you at that time. That's very, very handy.

I also find the format of the email to be more Gmail friendly. FollowUpThen indents the original text of the message in a way that makes Gmail hide it, and it forces you to click "Show quoted text" just to figure out what you're being reminded of. With, this doesn't seem to happen; the text isn't indented, so it shows up right there, in full, when you open the reminder. seems to match FollowUpThen feature-for-feature and then some. You get a Web interface with a calendar that shows you all reminders, and you get a configurable confirmation email every time you set a reminder. (You can disable it, though. I know I will.) You can use multiple addresses per account, too. All in all, this is a solid-looking service, and I just might switch over. I will be testing them both in parallel in the coming weeks.

One potential drawback of the Web interface is that you can see all of your pending reminders. That means that if anyone gets your FollowUp password, or if their servers are somehow compromised, all of those emails are very vulnerable (more so than in the case of FollowUpThen, which does not offer a Web interface).

That leads me to my next point: solid and powerful as it may be, this still isn't the holy grail in terms of email reminders. What I am really waiting for is for someone to finally create one of these applications and make it open source. That way, I could run it on my own server without constantly having to forward all of my sensitive emails to a third party (just to be reminded of them in the future). Come on, there has to be a niche for that!

Share submit to reddit

Tags: followupthen, free, reminders, utilities