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New Firm Sends Your E-Mail Via Letter

THE CUTTING EDGE | Heard on the Beat

April 26, 1999|CHARLES PILLER

Tired of putting pen to paper for those e-mail-less holdouts in your life? Letterpost.com (http://www.letterpost.com), a Mountain View, Calif., start-up, now offers you a way to communicate without risking a pesky ink smudge.

For a dollar per message, Letterpost will print your e-mail in letter form and send it via U.S. mail within five minutes, the company says. Similar services are being arranged for mail to Europe and Asia.

"We see it as snail mail for the Internet age," said company founder Donal O'Mahony, an e-commerce specialist at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

But Seema Williams, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, said the idea sounds as if it targets a bygone era.

"Sending an e-mail might be fast and easy, but it's even faster and easier to pick up the phone," she said. "When you think about things like voicemail service, that's a real-time service."

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