FaxDigitsI’ve tried for a while to find a faxing service that will just let me get inbound faxes. The vast majority of online faxing services are tied to the idea that a user wants to send out faxes. Certainly, the biggest fax provider, eFax, is setup with this thinking. I’ve looked a few times and then got to busy to keep at it. But I think I found a good one.

All fax providers want to give you a “free trial”. I don’t know about you, but I hate free trials. Not that I’m smart enough to think of a better business model. But, nonetheless, I deplore free trials. But, they want to give you a free trial because many folks have still never sent a fax from their computer via modem, much less online. Once you see how it easy is, these companies hope you’ll sign up and start faxing everyone like a crazed loon.

I, on the other hand, am happy to fax right from my computer. In fact, that’s the only reason I still have a modem in this era of broadband. However, I don’t wish to leave my computer 24 hours a day on the off chance that someone might send me a fax. In my business, web design, everything is emailed via PDF files. However, once in a while, a client will want to fax me some handwritten note or drawing. And occasionally, a client will want to fax me a new client agreement rather than mail it. I’m not one to refuse money, so I had to figure out how to get an incoming fax line for those very rare occasions.

I probably need to get a fax no more than once a month, maybe only 4-5 times a year. So, I was happy to learn that FaxDigits had a service with free inbound unlimited faxes. You’ll need to purchase their premium service to get a local or toll-free number (neither of which I needed) or if you want to send faxes. And as an added bonus, they give you a real fax number, not a phone number with a crazy pin number that someone has to write down. Trust me, if the person sending me a fax in what is almost 2007 can’t scan and email the material, I kind of doubt they are going to have an easy go of typing in a 6-digit pin number after a regular telephone number. I wanted to keep it simple, and FaxDigits seems to work great for that.

So, the natural question I ask myself, and you my faithful readers, is how can FaxDigits make money off the free accounts? I truly wonder. I thought they would attach an extra page to my faxes with some advertisements on it for me to read, or in the friendly emails they send me to let me know I’ve received a fax (conveniently already attached as a PDF so I don’t have to log on to the site). But they don’t.

So, I sort of have this feeling that once they get enough subscribers, and we’ve given the whole world our fax number, they’ll want to charge us a fee. I just hope that when they do, they let it be a yearly fee, like my Skype telephone number, and not some low monthly charge.

I think there are enough websites out there charging low monthly fees. If you signed up for a few them, your credit card starts to look like the “pick 3″ number of the day from some state lottery game. $2.99, $8.95, $3.79, etc… At those rates, just give us a month free and offer a yearly plan. Or, better yet, just scrap the monthly plan. The savings to the company from credit card rates should be substantial, plus less billing hassle with people. When you are charging someone a small fee each month, you are giving that person an opportunity to remember that charge and re-think their buying decision every month. Monthly charges were meant for car payments and mortgages, not things that cost less than $120 per year.

I think a fair price for FaxDigits incoming service would be $19.99/year for “unlimited” faxes (but maybe no more than 5/day or 50/week - or some kind of boundary to keep them from going broke, which won’t do any of us any good). I’d pay it.

Technorati : fax, faxing, modem, online, software

Posted in: Small Business