The iPad makes everything better! (sarcasm)
On a more serious note: I think the USPS should offer this service. Why trust a private company with it?
On a practical note: good luck trying to prove your residency for public schools if your snail mail is forwarded to an address in another state.
I would love to have a virtual address, such as
Mr. Beagle3 Esq
742 Virtuality Road, Suite #3971
c/o Monopod Iridium Violet
Cyber, NY 19997
Oh, and in case you wonder - the address including suite, c/o, city and zip code should together form an error-correcting code, so that e.g. a one digit error could be automatically corrected -- because otherwise, a one digit error would reach AZ instead of NY and vice versa.
My assumption is that they can't, and the plan is to burn through VC money with the hopes of getting some sort of eventual deal with the postal service.
Assume they pay their pick-up guy $20/hour.
Each customer is paying $5 for 12 pickups = 60 cents a visit.
To break even they will need to do pick-up 33 mail boxes/hr.
This seems like a lot in a suburb but it's possible in a dense city. They will probably need to tweak their model but it's not unreasonable.
It's totally unreasonable. The only place it makes even a hint of sense to do this is at the Post Office, before it goes to the actual customer. The customer could then choose scan, shred or deliver.
Maybe I'm just not clever enough to get it. But this just seems ludicrous to me.
Are you going to scan a single catalog and throw the rest away? That won't work because some have specific codes required, so you'll have to know which those are or perhaps scan every catalog cover. Some catalogs are going to be hell. Just to name a few: Sweetwater has a fairly long one; Blick's art supply catalog is bigger; Both are free and have wide distribution.
Where do you draw the line between package, parcel, and letter? What do you do when it is filled with confetti? What if it contains cash. Seriously.
Musical Hallmark cards anyone? Are you going to record them? No? Ok, then.
This is a neat idea and works for some things, but is also very seriously impractical and insecure for the customer, and a terrible mess on the business side.
Add to that that people (especially women I'm told, but I know of no studies to prove that) enjoy real magazines. I personally enjoy getting things in the mail. It is like a gift. I don't enjoy getting email.
Then they scan all your mail and send it to you as PDFs, as well as archiving it on their site. I've also authorized them to do direct debits with my bank, so now they automatically pay any bills I get on paper for me automatically on the due date.
I've been living out of the country for over a year (I haven't even had an apartment in Sweden), and this system has worked great.
I saw an investor presentation for Earth Class Mail back in the day. They would scan the front of your mail, and then you could choose which items to have them open. They would then have to manually open and scan the items you instructed them to open at additional cost.
Earth Class Mail blew threw most of their funding (http://blog.oregonlive.com/siliconforest/2011/01/earth_class...) and rebooted with a different focus.
I don't see how this company plans to run a courier service to collect your mail from random places, then scan it, for $5 a month. The economics make 0 sense.
More importantly, snail mail is dying off. This is like building a business to make your horse and buggy move faster just as the automobile is being developed.
Although I agree the economics of picking the stuff up out of your mailbox makes little sense... Mail forwarding or PO boxes would be far more efficient.
My point with the mail pickup thing was that they could never make it scale. Their costs will kill them in the short and long term...even if they get a lot of customers. That is why the e-fax service works and the mail service doesn't.
First of all, they're not gonna be able to do the collection themselves, they will contract it out. Then any contractor has power over all the mailboxes under their management. The contractors, their employees, or anyone who reverse engineers any single route & collection times can carry out mass credit applications, online shopping and everything.
- how easy is this to set up? to cancel?
- how timely is this?
- how accurate?
The other services that do this allow you to have mail delivered to a mailbox that the company controls and then mail that you actually want can be forward to your home mailbox.