Virtual Mail Forwarding | Earth Class Mail

by admin on March 17, 2009

As the printing industry has already moved to store documents in PDF format, along comes Earth Class Mail to offer a virtual post office box. What happens when you sign up with these guys is that you get a street address in either Manhattan, Hollywood, San Francisco, LA or a few other cities. You can get a post office box too. Then, when the mail hits the Earth Class processing deport, they open it up and scan it and make it available for you online.

Needless to say, for road warriors of the executive type, students bumming around the world on vacation, and pretty well everybody else who doesn't have a fixed address, this is pretty cool. Scanning the Google archives, the company has been in business for about a year, and there was one blog complaint because some guy couldn't get his cheques cashed in a timely fashion. But pretty well all the other comments and opinions I could find were positive. Actually REALLY positive because let's face it, if you are spending three months or more chillin' out in Thailand or Mexico, you can either try to forward your mail to whatever cabana is storing your suitcase (not) or have Mum and Dad open up your mail for you (done that), or try out this service.

Now if you put on your product manager goggles, and look at the company and the service and you look down the road a couple of years, it starts to get interesting. Obviously the company got enough funding to build the necessary infrastructure to support the service. They have a massive processing facility in Oregon where everything get scanned and digitized and put online. They have been in business one year so they are over the beta bumps. They are expanding. They are in the type of business where they more they grow, the more profitable they become, and they acquire more of a competitive advantage. Retention rate among the customer base is probably close to 100%, as the Earth Class mailbox would probably becomes de facto archives for every piece of business mail that is accumulated by a person or a company.

At a certain point in the cycle, when they get a critical mass customers, they could go to the bulk advertisers (if they choose) and offer to cut out the middlemen (printers and mailers and the US postal service) and offer direct PDF-to-the customer service. Hi Walmart or Target or Nordstorm, would you like to send PDF catalogs to our customer base direct? And to make sure your customer base didn't object to the PDF spam, you could offer a discount on the mailbox rental.

As you grow, there is lots of opportunity to do stuff like that. And when you think about it, why wouldn't they do it?

(Oh yeah, I nearly forgot to mention price: $9.95 a month)

{ 1 comment }

Cory March 24, 2009 at 12:18 pm

There was an interesting 8 part series on hulu about Earth Class Mail.

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