Space Ramblings

Snail Mail: Bypassing the Physical?

I had just gotten through writing up yet another post on the future of the post office, inspired by an irritating experience waiting in line for an hour at the post office with only one window open, while the other employee talked on the phone. On the bright side I knew I was looking at the last days of a very gruesome dinosaur as people use the internet to mail ecards instead of postcards, emails instead of snail mails and so and so forth.

This semi-spammy offering from eSnailer is cute though. Combined with a semi-creepy, semi-cute snail mascot, eSnailer promises to let you compose letters online while they mail them out free of charge. As eSnailer puts it,

Start by addressing the envelope below then write a letter to a friend or relative.
We will print, envelope, stamp, and send your letter via regular U.S. postal mail 100% free of charge. You pay nothing!

It’s a cute concept yes but of course there’s a price and it involves the usual signing up for junk mail offers with the added bonus that they can derive your actual address from your letter’s return address, unless you choose to use a fake one. This is perfect since junk mailers have been driven nuts trying to get your permission to actually send you junk mail and this sems like a neat bit of synergy.

All told though, like most wacky ploys eSnailer is essentially doomed. While the cost of bulk postage is relatively cheap eSnailer is not likely to be a break out company with a sizable number of users, leaving it as a curiosity concept with a small database of names and junk offers no one really wants. But the eSnailer concept may have a future of sorts. I suspect an above board paid service of this sort when packaged with a larger office oriented company like Fed ExKinkos (how exactly did that happen anyway) or Staples could make it work.

Forget the freebies but a business plan tied to relieving you of the effort of working with snail mail, writing physically, sealing envelopes and peeling stamps and mailing them off (until not long ago it was licking) has a real future. And meanwhile senior citizens are sneering at our laziness.

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