Is HEY worth the hype?

Email Jun 27, 2020

Is HEY worth the hype?

Recently, I discovered a brand-new service from the company Basecamp. They describe it nothing less than

"Email deserves a dust off. A renovation. Modernized for the way we email today. With HEY, we’ve done just that. It’s a redo, a rethink, a simplified, potent reintroduction of email. A fresh start, the way it should be."
  • Part of the HEY description on

So, at first it looks pretty much like a new Email client like Spark, Airmail or the super exclusive superhuman thing, but I couldn't be more wrong.

What is HEY?

HEY actually is a complete Email services with custom-made clients. You cannot use HEY with any other Email client like Apple Mail, Outlook or Spark. You have to install the client from HEY or use the web app, which both is working totally fine for me. One of the key reasons for this closed ecosystem is privacy. They make a massive statement on privacy.

The most Emails you receive have some form of tracking. Companies want to know everything about you, so they can optimize the best time, content, product etc. However, this isn't a good thing at all. They know when you read your Emails, how often, which devices you use, where did you open your Email and my more. Read more about it in this WIRED post.

HEY makes a promise. They actively block any tracking services when you receive and open the Email. Actually, they show you an icon and explain what any why they blocked some trackers.

HEY Tracking Information
HEY Tracking Information

I can only speak for myself, but this gives me a little freedom back. In comparison, I totally disabled any form of reading confirmation in WhatsApp. Yeah, I know WhatsApp is part of Facebook, and they already know much more about me than I do, but I don't like the feeling of being monitored. So, disabling of any kind of tracking - or even the slightest possibility of it - is a welcome feature for me.


Privacy doesn't come free. That is something I learned very early. There is a very famous statement which couldn't be more true.

"If you are not paying, you are the product".

HEY offers three different prices (and a 14 days free trial without credit card information needed)

  • 2 Character usernames are $999/year
  • 3 Character usernames are $349/year
  • 4 or More Characters are $99/year

The two and three character usernames are priced really high, but I get it. They are more used to show "look at me, I made it" guys, but in my opinion $99/year is reasonable for anybody who cares about privacy. However, I would support the idea of pricing HEY accordingly to the different countries and economic strength. Not everybody can afford close to $100/year for an email service when there are free alternatives, but remember, as I said when you are not paying, you are the product.

My Conclusion

Is HEY worth the hype? Yes, I changed to a paying customer. Why? Because HEY and I share a common belief about privacy. I like the idea of challenging the status quo and improving things which are around us for so many years. The screener is a nice addition and the support of custom domains in the future is something to look for. I know I have not talked about every feature HEY has, but this isn't a review. I just want to focus on the key feature I love the most.

Have you any thoughts about HEY or experiences? I would love to hear about it.

Interested in Algorithms? Have a look at my latest blog post about merge sort.


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