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Is the New Gmail Killing E-mail Marketing?

Is the New Gmail Killing E-mail Marketing?
Photograph by Getty Images

For Gmail users overwhelmed by inbox clutter, the great Gmail redesign of 2013 may have been just the thing, hiding promotional e-mails and social network updates behind tabs. The companies sending those promotional e-mails, on the other hand, are less than thrilled with the change.

Afraid the “promotions” tab is functionally a black hole, a number of companies from Gilt Groupe to Groupon have been encouraging e-mail contacts to route their messages back into their personal inbox—an easy step accomplished by simply dragging an e-mail from the “promotions” tab and dropping it in the “primary” tab. Other companies are more passively anxious. “We’re definitely hearing about it from our members,” says Artemis Berry, a vice president at Shop.org, the digital arm of the National Retail Federation.