The End Of Free Faxing?

What’s up with eFax, also known as j2, the (supposedly) free Internet fax people?

I received an email from j2 Global Communications today that said

Dear Jeremy,

Your account has been suspended and your eFax number 1-973-215-1210 is no longer accepting faxes.

If you wish to keep your eFax account, you may upgrade and reactivate your account immediately by using the following link.

If you do not reactivate your account by 12/16/2004, it will be closed and your eFax number will be reassigned to another user.

If you have recently upgraded your account, thank you, and please disregard this notice.

Sincerely, The eFax Free Team

Um. Now, I may have missed something along the line. eFax send out ‘third party ads’ to support the service so I tend to let all the junk emails they send me go into a spam bin [see note below on altered text]. So I may have missed a crucial email. But I can’t see anything in this email that explains why they’ve canceled my free account and why I suddenly have to upgrade ($13 ‘one time setup fee’ [sic] and $13 a month for the number).

Now of course I’m not a suspicious individual, so I’m assuming this has absolutely nothing to do with the almost simultaneous announcements of “the immediate availability of its eFax® service in three additional languages” (Spanish, German and French, in addition to existing services in English and Dutch) and today’s press release that “j2 Global Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: JCOM), the provider of outsourced, value-added messaging and communications services, today announced the availability of eFaxSecure, a new service for its eFax Corporate(R) customers”.

I’m not supposing for a second that these announcements, which make no mention of any free services the company offers, or the apparent suspension of some of those services, are intended to cover up scrapping any such services (were any scrapping to have taken place). Nor would I dream of taking a closer look at whether a NASDAQ-listed company is supposed to alert investors to the suspension of discontinuation of services (were any discontinuation to have taken place) as much as the addition of new ones.

Still, if it is the end of free Internet faxing, it’s a shame. I never really used it that much these days, but it was nice to put on namecards. Perhaps with the rapid spread of VoIP services, these kind of things were anachronism anyway. I might see what their PR folk have to say about all this in any case, just to see whether I’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

09. December 2004 by jeremy
Categories: E-commerce, Phones | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 comments

Comments (7)

  1. I’m told by eFax that there’s ‘no connection’ between my number being suspended and the other announcements. They’ve also asked me to correct the reference to the company being spammers. Which I have, slightly. In the original posting it read: “eFax are spammers (that, I guess is how they make their money) so I tend to let all the spam they send me go into a spam bin.” I’ve now changed that as it could misleadingly imply that eFax are primarily spammers, and that they make their money that way.

    It’s been made clear to me that the ‘third-party ads’ that I erroneously referred to as spam in fact don’t make money for eFax, but do help support the service. To be frank, I don’t see a huge difference between spam and third party ads in this caes. To have the eFax service you must accept to have these third party ads, so to me that’s spam, as in junk email. But maybe that’s too narrow a definition, in that if you want them to stop, all you have to do is stop subscribing to the service (or pay for it).

  2. You could call it ‘Opt in Spam’ ? Perish the thought.

  3. More from eFax about why my account was terminated:

    I have checked Mr. Wagstaff’s account and found that it was suspended due to Free Low Volume (FLV). The free account was opened on 5/17/04 and has not received a single fax to date, which is the reason for his suspension and the notification per the notes on his account.

    I have checked on what notifications were sent to Mr. Wagstaff and found that 2 attempts were made to send him the first notification (first attempt was on 12/2), there is no reference of an error occuring while sending, but we did not receive back any indication that he either opened the first notification email, or clicked on any of the links contained therein.

    The second notification, was sent out on 12/9, and is the one he refers to in his emails to you and the one paraphrased in his column.

    Sean Hitchings Office of the President j2 Global Communications
    (323) 843-9301

    Thanks for that. So it doesn’t look like eFax are abandoning us freefaxers, but you’ve got to be more popular than I am to keep a number. (A friend receommends k7.com if you want a free alternative.)

    I guess the weakness in the eFax system is that to have the free service you have to receive some, er, 3rd party advertising emails, but if you’ve got your spam filters on, chances are you won’t see them, or notification emails from eFax telling you that your service is about to be terminated.

  4. I have to laugh at eFax sometimes. I’ve received one (1) business fax in the last 24 months, and probably ten thousand (10,000) spam faxes (Caribbean vacations, discounted cruises, HOT!!!! stock tips). It’s more trouble than it’s worth. They’ve even suspended my account because I got too many trash faxes in one month.

    I only keep it for the increasingly rare lame-o that can only fax something.

  5. My free account was deactivated too because I received a 20-page fax – just once… What irked me was that there was no mention of the 20-page fax limit anywhere when I joined up. If you want a low-cost service in Australia – give mbox.com.au a try.

  6. FaxWave used to provide a free fax service, but converted to pay-based service earlier this year. The cost is around $20/year, without spam or limits that I’m aware of. At the price, it’s a good service.
    Smartly, they took the revenue from converting free customers, and had a great increase in overall revenues just in time for the IPO. If you can capitalize small bits of revenue into a multiple in the IPO market, it works for me and for Faxwave. Whether it works for the new equity holders in the next bear market remains to be seen.

  7. I make a comment to the users or future users of eFax the lack of technical or commercial follow-up after the subscription. Being in impossibility of sending faxes, the engineering department never answered to me in 1 month.
    The customers department only proposed to me to cancel my account
    I advise you to be very careful if you choose this system, and not to wait of assistance of is support