An Advertising-based Mail System?

While everyone is used to free e-mail from the likes of Hotmail and Yahoo, one Portland-based company is taking the same advertising-based revenue model to the mail system.

Zairmail, Inc., in an attempt to facilitate convergence between the Internet and postal mail, allows you to write your letter at their website, at which point, the company routes this message to a print production facility closest to the recipient, where a personal letter is printed, addressed and inserted into an envelope.

“Competition from email and online transactions has once again forced the postal service to raise postal rates, directly affecting consumers who are the prevalent users of first-class mail,” says Wilson Zehr, CEO of Zairmail.

But just like the banners atop your inbox on Hotmail, you won’t be able to escape the ads. Or at least the recipient won’t be able to escape the ads. The letter can be sent for free if the sender chooses to include product information from national advertisers listed on the site, which can be selected in part by the sender.

If a sender prefers not to include a customized ad page, each letter will cost the consumer between $.65 and a $1.00 depending on the number of letters purchased.

According to Zehr: “Zairmail letters are better than free — because they include attractive offers from advertisers, targeted to the demographics and personal interests of the letter recipient.”

Only time will tell if the recipients of such targeted ads feel as strongly as Zehr.

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