Sending a postal letter via the internets?
December 26, 2006 3:28 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to send a postal letter (to a UK address) through the internet?

I hardly ever need to send a letter: I don't have a working printer, I don't have a stash of envelopes, I'm lazy. Is there an online service anywhere that will let me send a postal letter through the internet? Somewhere where I can fill in an online form (or upload a PDF), give them some money and they'll print it out, stick it in an envelope and post it off for me.
posted by simonw to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
That's a new one to me but has just given me an idea for another income stream. If only I wasn't so bad about bringing ideas to fruition!

I realise this doesn't answer your question as I have no awareness of such a service but I would be happy to print off and post a letter if you were to email it -
posted by mycapaciousbottega at 3:39 PM on December 26, 2006


A spot of googling came up with this
posted by mycapaciousbottega at 3:41 PM on December 26, 2006


A direct link - emailbypost.com
posted by mycapaciousbottega at 3:46 PM on December 26, 2006


Thanks mycapaciousbottega. It looks like there's still a business opportunity here because emailbypost.com doesn't work! I got through the create-your-letter step, but when I hit the "pay" button I got an error from the payment service stating that their user account didn't exist.

Anyone know of any services like this that actually work?
posted by simonw at 4:00 PM on December 26, 2006


I realize this is a bit of a derail, but I can't see the business model for something like this working. Way back in the boom 90's, I worked for an e-commerce company that built out the site of Sparks.com, which let you buy and send individual greeting cards online. They went under, to no one's surprise (well, maybe theirs).

The problem with these kinds of things is volume. What are you willing to pay for this service? $1? $2? Meanwhile, this company has to maintain staff, printing, postal fees, etc. It's very expensive. Fax-by-web, on the other hand, works because your incremental costs are very small.
posted by mkultra at 4:47 PM on December 26, 2006


The USPS Netpost Send Letters & Newsletters service does exactly what you want, although since it is usually used for sending to many simultaneous addresses it is sort of like swatting a fly with a shotgun. I just tried out a five page test letter to a single UK address and they want to charge $2.80 ($0.80 International Letter postage plus the minimum production charge of $2.00).
posted by RichardP at 5:43 PM on December 26, 2006


I realize this is a bit of a derail, but I can't see the business model for something like this working.

Continuing derail: back in the very early, very fizzy days of the tech boom in Australia, some very smart and business-savvy friends of mine and I worked up a full-on business plan for a similar business (to wired people wanting the convenience of email mailing their unwired folks and such, when backpacking or whatever, well before net access became almost ubiquitous; selling ad space on the actual hardcopy, pitching it to advertisers as the ultimate in demographic targeting, yadda yadda web1.0 hoohah) took it to a VC firm who liked it, and got well on the way down the path before we decided: nope. I can't remember exactly what the straw was that broke the camel's back -- probably scaling.

We were more or less planning to build and flip, like everyone else back then (and again now, for that matter).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:31 AM on December 27, 2006


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