A Digital Mailbox For Snail Mail

Outbox creates an archive of your physical mail by bringing it into the digital world for you to peruse on your iPhone or iPad.

The startup Outbox makes digital copies of your physical mail and puts it into a separate online inbox that you can access via the web and your smartphones. The startup’s tag line is “A beautiful inbox for your postal mail,” and it aims to revamp the traditional postal system and how we treat our snail mail.

It seems like an attempt to revitalize and popularize snail mail in our digital age of Facebook inbox communications. Outbox‘s inbox is beautifully designed with all of the mail organized under tags such as ‘Personal Mail,’ ‘Invitations,’ ‘Bills’ and ‘Coupons.’ Users can also ask Outbox to unsubscribe them from junk postal mail.

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However, while the end goal of the startup seems easy to understand, the execution of the goal is a little muddled in controversy. Outbox says that it employs its own “postmen” who will pick up your post from your house once it’s already delivered and then, open and scan all of your mail and put it online for you to access via digital devices.

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Despite the 5 million dollars in funding it raised, Outbox has drawn a lot of skepticism for the privacy and security issues that come with opening a stranger’s mail. Then there’s the issue of how a postman would pick up mail that’s already delivered to your house and then bring it back to your house after it is scanned which would further delay the delivery of your post.

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However, the idea of archiving every single post you receive- from invitations to that Christmas card from your aunt seems tempting since you’d never have to dig through a heap of paper to get to important mail.

Right now, Outbox is offering users free service for the first month and then, $4.99 per month. It seems like a service that people who travel a lot would want to be hooked on since they can have all their postal mail without being at home. It could even work for families who have tons of mail that needs to be kept track of. But in order to fully appeal to people, Outbox needs to streamline its execution so that it doesn’t end up complicating the already complex US Postal System.

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