JFAX starts free messaging service

Online messaging service operator launches free European package to defend its premier position

The online fax, voicemail and e-mail messaging service JFAX (http:// jfax.com) is introducing a free messaging package throughout Europe, to reinforce its lead position in the messaging sector.

The launch of Free Fax Plus, a “slimmed down” version of JFAX’s premium $12.50 ( &£7.80) a month online messaging service, will allow users to download fax and voicemail messages at no cost.

The service will be promoted through leading UK site Yahoo. co.uk, although JFAX founder and co-chairman Jaye Muller says he hopes to sign deals with other major Web destinations in the UK and Europe.

JFAX is already running print and radio advertising in the US as part of a global marketing campaign, backed by $20m (&£12.5m) of investment funds, but it expects to roll out an offline ad campaign in the UK over the coming months.

The free service launched in the US in April, and attracted 200,000 subscribers by the end of June, compared with 34,000 paying customers. It also follows the August launch of UK-based FaxMe (www.faxme.co.uk), which offers UK customers an 0870 national-rate phone number for incoming faxes which can be retrieved online free of charge.

Muller says the free service is designed to encourage customers to take up the premium paid-for service, and the growth of paying customers has not been compromised by the free package.

JFAX expects to retrieve the cost of offering Free Fax Plus from customers trading up to the paid-for service. Muller says the service will remain “an ad-free zone” for third- party advertisers.

He adds: “We’ve tracked the impact that introducing the service has had on existing subscribers and we are sure, from a commercial perspective, that we are not shooting ourselves in the foot with the launch of the new service.”

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