Sunday, July 04, 2004

Sending Very Large Emails - for free

Now this is a cool idea for getting around the limits that mail administrators sometimes place on users. For example, I recently wanted to get a 150mb file from Belgium to the UK, but found it very difficult. The folks at YouSendIt enables you to "Email large files quickly, securely, and easily!" so it says on the web site (

To use this service, you go to the transmission page, and enter the email address to receive notification of the file available for transfer. The recipient then gets an email, containing a URL on YouSendIt's servers. I just transferred a small PPT file and it's available at It will get deleted within 7 days (i.e. by 10 July!).

The idea is cool, and I can certainly see a use for it. But there are a couple of interesting questions. First, what is the business model for these guys? I mean, what is going to be their return on letting me mail someone 1gb of data at a time for free? While I like free, there really is no such thing as free these days - someone's got to pay for the servers and the bandwidth needed. Does the adware on the site pay for this? The second question is over security of data. While I don't mind sharing a picture or two - and having it out on the internet - but what other use might be made of this information or data? How do I know that it will only go to the people I actually send it to? The site has a nice security policy, and offers transfers via SSL. This latter feature is one that makes me vaguely nervous as it could be a potential attack vector, bypassing perimeter and network defenses.

What ever the answer, this service does seem to work, and as long as it's free, it's a neat way of sending large files to people across the internet.

No comments: