Joshua Baer, chief executive of the email company OtherInBox, has proposed a new addition to email standards, one that would let email messages carry with them the date of their own irrelevance.
Emails could use the "x-expires" header to tell the receiving inbox that they become outdated after a certain absolute date, or a certain time relative to when they're sent or received. Speaking at the Inbox Love email conference on Friday, Baer said this idea has been "bouncing around" for 10 years, but he's learned, "the best way to get a standard adopted is to work with individual companies first, and make it a de facto standard".
This concept could help keep users' email boxes cleaner and more relevant. Offers for discounts on Valentines' Day flowers could automatically vanish on 15 February. Companies such as Groupon or LivingSocial that blast out time-limited coupons could serve users better by removing expired offers from inboxes.
For more on this story, read E-mail innovator pitches self-deleting e-mails on CNET News.