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A New Free Service on the Web

© 1999 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Everyone can use one of the newest free services on the Web, eFax. When you sign up for the free service at you receive a new, unique phone number. That phone number is your new fax number, and all faxes sent to your eFax number will be forwarded to your e-mail address. This is a way to collect your faxes when you collect your e-mail. As soon as you see the fax in your e-mail, you can read the fax.

Why would we want to use a free fax number that forwards every fax to our e-mail? There are several advantages:

  • Many homes and small offices share one phone line with fax and voice phone calls or with fax and the modem line. Such sharing is economical, but it leads to a busy fax line. The new, unique eFax number will never be busy due to a voice call or use by the modem.
  • We can read the fax without printing it, so we can save on paper and fax machine supplies. Yet we can print any fax at any time.
  • If we take a laptop along on trips, we can collect our faxes every day when we collect our e-mail.

What's the catch? Well, the eFax catch is not really a catch. eFax will continue to offer the free services, and they are expecting many of the eFax free customers to sign on for some of the upcoming inexpensive additional services.

As a free subscriber, when you read about their additional services in 3 months or 6 months, you will be predisposed to listen. You will be free to say no and still get the free service, but you will read the offer. Many people will be interested in the additional services offered at very low cost. These are only two of the services planned:

  • automatic optical character recognition so that your e-mailed fax arrives as a text file
  • outgoing fax: the capability of sending a screen from ANY PC PROGRAM as a fax.

The upcoming services will be very inexpensive. The current service is free, and it will remain free. I see no drawbacks to using eFax.

~ Virginia Lawrence is a technical writer, editor, and professional webmaster who publishes both in print and online. She can be reached at or at her Web site,



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