Earth Class Mail - Solid or Scum?
September 3, 2007 10:25 PM   Subscribe

Earth Class Mail - great idea that I'm willing to pay for, but concerned about sleazy marketing tactics. Anyone with any experience with this company?

My physical address is unstable, and I hate changing my address with the people who send me mail. Earth Class Mail, a service that takes your mail, scans it, and allows you to deal with it over the web, seems like the perfect solution.

Unfortunately, they appear to be perpetrating slimeball advertising, which really bothers me, given that I'm thinking about trusting them with my mail.

For example, vacantdesk.com is an earth class mail advertisement masquerading as a blog. When you click on the link to earth class mail, you are taken there via this site:

www.kqzyfj.com

When you punch up kqzyfj.com, you are redirected to a site about how to deal with spam. This is the digital equivalent of the used car salesman, in my opinion.

Can the hive mind offer any personal experience reviews of Earth Class Mail? Nothing comes up in my AskMeFi google search.
posted by ezola to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why not get a P.O. box with a place like Mailboxes Etc, who can then forward your mail to you wherever you are? Then your address never has to change.
posted by Brittanie at 10:34 PM on September 3, 2007


Brittanie, I think ezola's point is that Earth Class Mail SCANS your mail so you can access it online from anywhere. Having a box at Mailboxes Etc means you still have to show up in person to collect your junk.

That said, ezola, marketing be damned, if their service works as described then go for it - it seems uniquely suited to nomads and vagabonds (many of which will be taken in by their sketchy advertising)...
posted by wfrgms at 10:50 PM on September 3, 2007


You're right, Earth Class does sound shady.

I used a service in Oregon for a while called Home Base Forwarding, which had an additional bonus - no sales tax for internet orders shipped to that address. I don't think they do the electronic mail forwarding that you're looking for, though.

There are a few other questions that have been asked here in the past that will probably help you find what you're looking for.
posted by cactus at 12:24 AM on September 4, 2007


Perhaps I'm reading the question wrong but I don't see where the OP specifically states he wants his mail in digital format — just that he wants to be able to access his mail no matter where his address is.

That's why I suggested Mailboozes Etc. (that was a typo but I'm keepin' it) — they offer mail forwarding from your PO box to anywhere else on earth you might be. That is how my husband got his mail when he was working on a ship.
posted by Brittanie at 12:35 AM on September 4, 2007


I started using ECM a few months ago, and can say that their service does exactly what they say it does. It's a pretty good value IMHO, the web interface is easy to use, and scans are clear and legible. Only two negatives I've noticed: first, my mail generally doesn't arrive until a few days after I would expect. Second, forwarding the hard-copy overseas is a bit expensive. Of course, one doesn't need to do this often since one has the scanned images.

No idea about their marketing, sleazy or otherwise. I found them through Google Ads.
posted by blue mustard at 1:41 AM on September 4, 2007


Heh. I was just about to post how Remote Control Mail was the other player in the space, but their domain name redirects to ECM, apparently they changed names.

Tell 'em you despise their marketing, and don't buy. There must be an alternative.
posted by Myself at 2:03 AM on September 4, 2007


I haven't used this so I can't recommend it, but Paperless PO Box appears to be another option.
posted by sharkfu at 8:19 AM on September 4, 2007


Paperless PO box has come up in a few searches; they seem to offer a similar service. Their website links to this movie, at the end of which a dozen actors deliver "testimonials." There's even a news anchor who refers to the company as "they." It's so ridiculous a piece of me wants to believe that they're being ironic, as if they're doing a parody of bad ads, but this is doubtful. Am I the only one who believes that horrendous advertising is a reason not to do business with a company? What is it about the mail industry that generates this marketing detritus?

These are rhetorical questions. Blue mustard's comment is reassuring. If anyone else has any other alternatives or anything to say about Earth Class Mail or Paperless PO Box, do tell.
posted by ezola at 9:07 AM on September 4, 2007


I sent Earth Class Mail an email, complaining about their advertising, and, 24 hours later, a response:

>>>
Reuben,

Thanks for your interest in our Earth Class Mail service, and our reputation as an organization. I found your blog today in a Google Alert. We take great pride in our service, and doing business with integrity. In response to your question…

1. VacantDesk.com is not related to Earth Class Mail nor its employees whatsoever, Rather, it is an active customer AND an affiliate partner via commission junction www.cj.com, Mark, the originator of the blog is a customer, and will be expanding his website to include other helpful products and services. He has started his blog by highlighting our product, and his experience with it as a customer. Check out his list of resources for http://vacantdesk.com/about.

2. We have more than 1700 partners via our affiliate program on CJ.com (which is free for you to join), all of whom are promoting our unique service in various forms all over the internet. This is a standard marketing program started by Amazon.com, and used by every major online company in the world to drive targeted traffic and sales. What you have found are some of our affiliate partners talking about our company. We do monitor their content, and do not allow sleazy activities (i.e. talking about customer experience when they have not been a customer).

3. kqzyfj.com is a domain owned and operated by Commission Junction (www.cj.com), the largest and leading Third Party affiliate network used by Dell, eBay, Yahoo, Adobe, Staples, etc… There is nothing fraudulent or malicious about this domain. Affiliate partners promote products and services on their websites, blogs, and newsletters and are paid a commission on sales they generate. Think of it as a bounty for referring business.

If you have more questions about our marketing program and activities, I am more than happy to talk with you to personally address your questions.

Thanks again for your interest.


Phil Andrews
Online Partnerships
Earth Class Mail Corporation
P: (206) 957-4456
>>>>

Firstly: a professional, rapid response. I'm reassured. Not totally (why do they know so much about Mark the customer, as in, his plans for the blog? if they're monitoring for sleazy activities, should they allow vacantdesk.com to be so nauseatingly slimy, as in, "update: they just contacted me with this offer for one free month!!" why am I turning into a conspiracy theorist?), but at least partially. Secondly: my impression is that these "affiliate programs," an apparently accepted way of doing online business, incent the affiliates themselves to be slimy (as vacantdesk.com is slimy). It's slimyness-once-removed. I'm more comfortable with this.
posted by ezola at 3:25 PM on September 4, 2007


Been using ECM for a couple of months, and it absolutely rocks. The only real issue I've had is that occasionally the 1 day advertised turnaround for scanning is actually 2 days.

Seriously, it's changing my life by making me not feel as tied down.
posted by trevyn at 10:55 PM on September 4, 2007


The owner of vacantdesk.com replied to my blog rant on the topic.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cutey5/1318297798

At the end of all this I feel a bit naive.

Thanks for the comments everyone.
posted by ezola at 4:17 PM on September 6, 2007


A few days late, but I just became aware of Mail Link Plus, a similar service operating out of Nevada.
posted by Myself at 2:32 AM on September 17, 2007


For those wanting an address in the UK, there is a service called UK PO Box (www.ukpobox.com), which offers to scan your mail and send it by email, or forward it to you in the traditional way. The unusual thing about this one compared to the US-based ones mentioned above is that there's no subscription or rental fee, you just pay a fee each time an item is scanned or forwarded. Good if you have just a few items of mail a month I suppose, i.e. not enough to justify paying a monthly rental fee.
posted by satellitebadger at 4:06 PM on September 29, 2007


Wow, this is all extremely helpful -- and, unlike the scummy affiliate marketing sites, all this real info from real people has just about convinced me to sign up.

It's amazing how much time marketers spend trying to sound genuine, yet they always fail miserably. I really hate to see a (likely) good product maligned by short-sighted sales tactics, when simply being open & friendly would gain them many more cusotmers. (see also)
posted by jdfalk at 8:21 AM on October 3, 2007


I signed up for and used their service until I had the misfortune of needing a $.42 letter forwarded. Prior to that time, I had recycled all the mail received. This is a great concept and should be a reasonable answer to many peoples need for mail forwarding service. BUT in order to forward this one letter, I found out that this company is less than solid. Their policy for standard mail forwarding is to charge a minimum fee. For this one letter returning to the Las Vegas area, they were going to charge me $10.76. Mind you, this is not priority nor express mail service, which apparently cost even more. This is something that you or I can do for free by simply writing the new address on the first class mail and dropping it into the post office.

Let us just say I dropped this scum bag company faster than water evaporates in the Las Vegas heat. During my investigation of the company via their website and in conversations with their customer service people, it was NEVER disclosed that they would charge this sort of outrageous fee, in fact, much the opposite because I specifically broached the subject. I've had several other mail forwarding services, as I live and move around in an RV, and the most I've ever been charges by UPS is $8.80 for a pound or so of mail forwarded via priority mail.

If you want or desire reasonably priced mail forwarding service, give this one a wide berth.
posted by rss_ty at 12:58 PM on August 30, 2008


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