I'd rather see some definitive information under the Pricing section. I'm tired of getting "invested" in web apps that are free, and then having them pivot dramatically or go under. This is less of an issue for small things, but anything that I'm going to incorporate into my business workflow needs to have at least some semblance of a business plan apparent.
Looks neat, I'll be happy to try it out when you're ready to take my money :)
Strangely, as a submission here (not by me), it got killed yesterday. I looked it over when it came up, and when I went to join my vote to the dozen or so it had gathered, it was dead ...
Just seems to have been modded down or something: http://hnrankings.info/5060367/
They seem to be good at getting you on board and then upselling you based upon your actual needs and use, rather than coercive arm twisting.
I'm more concerned about installing any plugin and giving it access to my Gmail account. Buchheit's participation is a coup, in that regard, for me and I suspect for some others aware of his role in Gmail's original development, at least.
And that same crowd seems to form part of the original core of their paying business. (Again, this is a fairly uninformed observation, on my part.)
I'll be curious to observe where this goes.
I get what you're saying though. B2B is not like building a consumer app. I'd rather pay as long as it's reasonable.
My personal answer: never. Google has killed free apps that had had lots of users for years. If Google can't guarantee that a free app will stay free and available, nobody can.
Yes, I am taking on a potentially bad burn of Google ever axes gmail or cuts some important features (it's happened to me with Hotmail before), but I'm willing to take that risk because of the gmail feature set.
At some point, Hotmail decided to delete sent/received email older than some arbitrary amount. An important personal conversation to me was deleted.
None of the above is communicated when you say "it's free!" on your front page with no other explanation, or when you ask "how long does it need to be provided for free before you trust that it will stay that way?". The critical factor is not how long you've been providing it for free; it's that the free "product" is not really the product, it's just a side effect of your real product.
If you really want to change people's attitudes about the issues involved here, find a catchy word that differentiates your business model from "free".
Threads in topics often vary in subject. My posting would not be suitable as a reply to the OP, following from the top of this thread, I would say my replies are perfectly reasonable relative to the parent post.
I still think an answer to my question about hellosign's business model would be of interest for this thread, but obviously if you're not involved with hellosign you can't give that answer. Sorry for the misunderstanding on my part.
It's not about the duration of "Free", it's about the emergence of a recognizable business model, and also about the general complexity of the product and how frequently I would use it and come to rely on it.
Another issue is that we all know that nothing is "free", and as the saying goes "if you're not paying for it, YOU are the product". I don't like the idea of business documents with my signature somehow ending up in an ad-based business model.
B2B sales models and tactics are (IME) very different than B2C. On the plus side, B2B is more likely to be receptive to a paid-for product, and the down side it can be somewhat more difficult to get the viral exposure you get from a B2C product since not as many people are likely to be interested in it, or able to decide for themselves if they can use your product.
A freemium model works good here. Have pricing set upfront and clearly defined. Let me test the product with no risk for some period of time and then convert to a paying customer (or not).
I'm with you!
Had you not chose the free offering, you may have chosen something else or built it yourself.
This thing where we scan a piece of paper or paste in a little image has always smacked of forgery to me anyway? All I need is one image of your signature, and I can sign for you anywhere I want. It's like when they hand out rubber stamps for secretaries to use.
It's like somewhere along the line, wherever you see hand-written signatures still employed as a means of confirmation/verification, no one explained to the witless bureaucrats that accept them, that there may as well be an image of a spider cartoon.
Wasn't the whole idea of hand-written signatures supposed to be a pattern where it's difficult to readily forge the distinctive handwriting style of a fluid fancy cursive-script signature? When you paste in an image, it's a cookie-cutter perfect match every time. Where's the authenticity?
Hand-written signatures have no place in digital documents as a secure means of authenticity. Why are they used at all?
In general, they should be replaced by digital/cryptographic mechanisms, but in most cases the underlying concepts are to hard for people to explain or understand.
When people use scanned signatures, it's like we're still stuck in the 1800's where if you were illiterate, placing your "X" on the dotted line was good enough for a binding contract.
Am I the only one who sees things this way? Am I alone here?
The only protection signatures offer is by law - it is forbidden to sign as someone else.
These scanned/digital signatures are nothing new. People have been signing documents and faxing them (in effect copying them) since faxes exist. That's basically the same: nobody can tell if you just pasted a copy of a signature on the document before you faxed it, or if you really did sign it.
In Estonia, the digital ID card enables people to digitally sign documents. There's a law that says these digital signatures are as valid as a handwritten signature, and must be accepted as such. It has become very popular . To me it is a very smart idea to train your citizens to use digital signatures which are both more reliable and easier to verify.
On other side, AFAIK, in our law simple plain text email (neither PEC nor s/mime signed email) and faxes are considered legal methods of communication and I cant really understand why (it is so easy to create fake email or faxes)
Some universally accepted unique private key is probably the way forward here...
This is almost like granting power of attorney to anyone who hacks your Gmail account, making the threshold for controlling your whole existence your Gmail password (or even your Gmail session if you stay logged in and don't 100% physically secure your computer every time you walk away from it). The video shows no extra authentication step when the signing occurs, which is particularly egregious.
a) If it's legally binding like a real signature then I can't do it because it's far too risky
b) If it's not legally binding like a real signature then it's useless
The litmus test is what happens when a dispute arises in court over one of these signatures. If the defense "Somebody accessed my computer while it was logged in and fraudulently signed" is accepted then this thing is blown out of the water. No longer can the hand writing expert come in and testify whether it is in fact your writing. No longer will the fact that the signature is 100% identical to another document that you signed in the past be evidence that the signature was copied. All of the security features of "real" signatures are gone.
Please have a look at European laws about digital signature!
We should definitely rethink the whole thing. In a sense a signature is nothing other than authentication. I would be comfortable authenticating through my mobile phone and have that be the signature.
Every time I use Preview, I can't help but feel like the entire idea of a signature is archaic and strange. In effect, I'm forging my own signature with Preview, and nobody cares. While I'm at it, I wish I could not only "sign" the document, but sign it in e-blood and maybe add a skeuomorphic graphic that seals the email in paraffin wax with a old english stamp of my initials.
Or maybe someone can figure out how to get us beyond signatures.
Here's a link to how it works:
Any lawyers care to clarify on the law here?
Which jurisdiction are you talking about?
So, for example, you could just write or type a letter "x" and you would be fine.
It's always been trivial to forge a signature to pass cursory examination, this is just another easy way.
A small respectful note: As a consumer, if I didn't know about Paul's financial connection to HelloSign, I'd have liked to seen it disclosed in connection with his prominent endorsement.
I hope this comment isn't taken as an attack on HelloSign or Paul; Paul is known as particularly ethical (thanks in part to his suggesting Google's motto), and I'm sure he really believes what he says in the quote, and this does indeed look nifty. All the more reason to have a little footnote somewhere: So no one can blow this up by claiming anything is being hidden.
Thanks for the comment. Paul Buchheit is an investor, so he got an early view of the plugin. We were especially interested in his feedback, since he created Gmail.
As a company, we have made a conscious decision not to disclose our funding. But, for the purposes of transparency, we'd like to make clear that he's an investor.
I think the situation requires it. If you want to keep your investors secret you can remove the quote, otherwise you can just add that Paul Buchheit is an investor. You don't even have to change the markup. There is plenty of room to change it to "Paul Buchheit, founder of Gmail and investor in HelloSign".
This is auxiliary but it makes me more interested in using HelloSign.
BTW I think it's even better for marketing this way. Now it's a double-endorsement.
On the flipside, having Paul as an investor might actually be something worth bragging about -- you could be pretty bold with your disclosure if you phrase it right.
The other benefit of the "fake handwritten signature" systems is they are a drop-in replacement for scanned forms in lots of workflows, and have legal standing (thank you fax machine).
My only wish now is that you guys would come out with an API where I could incorporate hellosign into some of my applications that require two parties to enter into an agreement.
EDIT: Oh and congrats on the google acquisition because I'm sure its coming
On the minus side, your home page loads stuff from Vimeo over HTTP, not HTTPS. Please fix that.
Edit: Some usage notes:
First, loading a large document (40 pages) takes forever and there is no way to cancel it.
Second, there is no way to resize the signature image.
Third, my signature is scanned in blue ink. Why can't I use a non-greyscale image?
Forth, I happen to have a random contract here that is actually a .gif. Why can't I edit that even though I have the link to "Sign" it?
Otherwise, this is still "Fucking Awesome". Great job!
The idea/product/execution are 90% AWESOME, but then the little UX neglects things like what's mentioned above + dull text (looks inactive) when you're writing in an active form field on sign-up, and a default dropdown of industry that you can't scroll down the bottom too in that same (3 field) sign-up form.
Take Igor's comments into account, and then hire a decent UX expert/consultant for 1-2 weeks (40-80 hours) and you've got a VERY viable product.
I read the intro paragraph. I would like to see what does it look like. I don't want to watch a video. I don't want to install it either. Just wanna get a glimpse of the UI.
None of the links looks like it could lead to some kind of preview.
One feature we're missing is the ability to have ordering to the multi-party signatures. For example, we'd like to have our sales guys fill out the contract, send it to me for a signature, and then send it out to the other party for a signature.
Is this optional? I'd rather not have NDA'd contracts being backed up on a cloud provider, even if your legal page does look impressive.
I have used the other signers so far (as a customer of comcast, etc.), and was looking at setting up service with them for my company (to let people sign various contracts), but it was super complex (still worth it vs. nothing). Seriously looking at HelloSign.
We found it to be very cost-effective.
With that said, I still use Preview now to do all of my signatures - I find it really easy to just fill out forms and sign with Preview. If I'm not on my machine, though, and need to fill something out, this is great.
Hits a great pain point, but i hope there is a bigger vision.
Small comment: It's probably just me but when you said "sign documents in GMail" I thought you meant you were doing some sort of email encryption/editing the email signature. Then I thought "ok this is just another random plugin for GMail". I had to watch the video and then i went "OOHHH!!".
I appreciate HelloSign's efforts, but it seems this is simply a market generating effort akin to things like home security systems. Even the process of motorization is a hold-over from a dying age. All the metadata of documents already create a signature that can be used for authentication. I am quite sure that HelloSign probably even uses some of those signatures for their validation process.
It just kind of seems skeuomorphist. Do they support other images than squiggly lines of a varying unique manner to represent ourselves? I would like to design a logo or other image to use instead of a stone age process. Take East Asian signature seals....far cooler than squiggly lines in my opinion.
I also don't understand this retrograde step. I will repeat it. It is trivial to COPY and FORGE a graphical signature!
And from a cloud provider??
What about S/MIME and PGP? These are cryptographically strong, essentially unforgable signatures that capture time and can ONLY be signed by the party that holds the private key. That is what i would want from a 'signing' provider.
Also S/MIME and PGP are open, free, standards that totally make 'graphical' signatures ancient exploitable technology.
The signature method is more or less like the current signatures you will use in USA, because you don't have an eID like us, europeans, wich allows us to sign documents with higher levels of law conformity, security and evidence.
Put it like this: anyone can make this, anyone. Unless you go with stronger methods, profiting eIDs, and certificates, you're just doing an useless signature solution.
I'd have to disagree; The authors are clearly filling a need by simplifying a process that a large amount of people (many of whom are here in this thread, it seems) do on a regular basis. Is the process itself horribly flawed? Of course. But people still have to do it this way, so we may as well automate it.
If this product is just for me (i.e. the person who installs this extension) then it's only going to save me time. How often does the average Google Apps user need to sign something? And how often does a salesperson require a signature from somebody using Google Apps?
Just was thinking about where the real pain/problem exists here. And by that, I mean that it's important to consider where does the problem occur the most and have the most impact.
2) The bounding box for the select tool may have been imprecise -- my scan for my initials had lots of whitespace above it.
3) At one point I tried to do a rotate, and it failed, bringing me back to the screen to re-email my signature. But the Next button was gone
So far so good, this is awesome.
However, installation did not work for me. I presume that you are under a heavy load, put I'll throw this info here in any case if it's any help for you guys. On the first try, installing proceeded to GMail verification and threw an error after that (Error page on HelloSign.com). On the second try, it got stuck after GMail verification and I finally got No Data Received (Error 324 ...)
By the way, maybe someone from hellofax can help me: I'm unclear on your international support. Can I get a local number for Israel for people to fax me to? I would love to switch to HelloFax instead of my current online-fax provider, but I'm not sure if this would work.
Maybe there are no Mac users in the company (I'd be surprised), but on OSX the standard is not to browse in full-screen mode, but with a window little wider than 980px, the most common site width. This has been happening a lot lately and seriously bugs me.
I guess this is cool because it's "in the cloud".
But having the option to sign it, then print it off and send it via snail mail does save one step I suppose
Really, really unhappy about that.
I can't believe anyone supports a company that spams so aggressively.
Are all the near-identical sounding overly positive comments in this thread all astroturf? Surely a bunch of programmers and networking people can't be that excited about being able to sign documents online. In fact, this reeks of astroturfing.
We actually have an API live for HelloSign. Is that what you were looking for?
If so, we'd love to hear what you think.
No, I meant fax, not signing.
However, according to the homepage, it is legally binding, which is what you usually want for business transactions. Compare this to the similiar situation with faxing: Faxed signatures are legally binding but pretty trivial to forge.
What is the Audit Trail?
To provide you with a transaction history, we track and timestamp various information from the moment the document is submitted for signature to when it is completely signed and secured, such as IP information and UserAgent information. We display some of this information as part of the Audit Trail that we affix to each executed Signature Request.