Avoiding the logjam
YouSendIt claims to transfer very large files over a secure link
E-mailing large files can be frustrating, especially when you've found out too late that an e-mail bounced and the recipient didn't open the file.
Presentations, videos, photos and music that exceed the 20 megabyte size limit imposed by many e-mail services are problematic. Some e-mail services can't store large files, although Yahoo touts unlimited e-mail storage and Google offers nearly 3 gigabytes.
A Web-based service from YouSendIt, (yousendit.com) in downtown Mountain View sends and, more importantly, tracks large files. For the occasional user, sending a 100MB or smaller file, the service is free. Paid users can send up to 2GB, with subscriptions ranging from $5 to $30 per user per month.
It works like this: A large file is sent to YouSendIt's server. The recipient receives an e-mail with a secure link to the stored file. The recipient downloads the file by clicking on a link in the e-mail and navigating YouSendIt's Web pages, decorated with ads, so it can be downloaded securely.
According to president Ivan Koon, YouSendIt wants to provide ubiquity, reliability and security for digital document delivery, just as express mail services do for paper mail. They rely on logistics systems to track, route and schedule package delivery. YouSendIt offers similar logistics services to support digital media delivery.
Express mail vendors don't offer package-squashing services to make them fit in their trucks, but YouSendIt has announced a deal with digital compression provider WinZip Computing. It has also started to work with Internet service providers, the first being Windstream in Arkansas.
Musical entrepreneur Phil Robertson, at e-studio-drummer.com, says he sends drumming tracks worldwide using YouSendIt. For him, tracking valuable content is essential.
"I've used every kind of file-sending method including FTP, storage sites and other services," he says. "YouSendIt has been reliable, particularly when sending between PCs and Macs, where stuffing and unstuffing files can easily go wrong."
In April, YouSendIt announced a $10 million Series B round of funding from Sigma Partners, Alloy Ventures and Sevin Rosen for market expansion and expanded services. With 5 to 6 million unique users and 7 million file transfers per month, the company is gaining traction.
The race to become the ubiquitous premium digital delivery service is on. Well-financed mail service vendors have the resources to compete with YouSendIt, and smaller competitors can easily sprout up. SEND6 (send6.com) and mailbigfile.com appear to be simpler because they don't require user registration. YouSendIt requires a login to a secure server.
The Post Office is not immune to letter bombs and stolen mail. How do I know these vendors are genuine and won't add viruses or view my files? After much searching I discovered that Send6 is a research project of Ryan Sit, whose LinkedIn profile says he's a UCSD graduate and former senior software engineer at Novatel Wireless. Mailbigfile.com is the product of Design Solution, a UK company with a credible Web site located near Oulton Broad, a popular boating area.
A word of caution from Symantec is in order. "Do not follow links provided by unknown or untrusted sources."
As for YouSendIt, the company recognizes that trust is paramount to its success.
Angela Hey can be reached at email@example.com.