Monday, October 04, 2010

The Trick of the Fax Machine

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie "The Usual Suspects" (also one of my favorite movies). In it, while being interrogated by the police, Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) tries to explain the man and the legend behind Kayser Soze - the criminal mastermind who makes the Godfather seem like a choir boy. In the face of opposition to the existence of such a criminal mastermind, he utters the phrase, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist..."

You can draw a lot of parallels between that movie line (it's actually a literary quote) when thinking about fax machines. Most of the time when someone mentions a fax machine or utters the phrase "I have to fax this..." most people respond with, "fax machines still exist?" They do - in abundance.

I haven't seen worldwide stats out there on the number of fax machines still in existence, but it's estimated there are approximately 20 million machines in the US alone with billions of fax pages sent worldwide. These machines do their part to negatively impact the bottom line, productivity, and the environment. All the while, there exists Internet faxing - a cost-effective, productivity-boosting and environmentally-friendly solution. But you already know that - because you are one of the close to half a million customers who send and receive faxes using email, the web, smartphones and popular software applications like Microsoft Office(R).

But as big as the MyFax army is, the fax machine empire seems bigger. What these people don't realize is that fax machines do more harm than good. So when you see someone using a fax machine, set them straight with the following helpful FYIs:

1. Fax Machines and the Environment:

  • Fax machines are energy vampires and consume more electricity than any other piece of office equipment, according to the environmental protection agency;
  • Fax machines print everything, whether required or not - that's a big reason why in the US, annual office paper consumption is enough to build a 10-foot-high wall that's 6,815 feet long! That's greater than the distance between New York City and Tokyo;
  • Most people don't recycle the machines themselves and therefore they end up in landfills. The same goes for the toner cartridges used to print the faxes and the paper and the ink dries on - straight to the landfill.

2. Fax Machines and Costs:

  • At the low end, fax machines start at about $100 and at the high end in the thousands, if you're looking at an all-in-one;
  • The extra phone line needed for the machine costs anywhere from $20 to $30/month
  • Don't forget the cost of toner! Paper and the electricity to run it on average about $9/month (assuming you're running it for the entire year, using it modestly).

The MyFax referral program allows you to gift friends and employees with a free month of Internet fax service so they can see for themselves the advantages and benefits of Internet fax. If your friend decides to stay on, you get a free month too! More information on the MyFax refer-a-friend program can be found here.

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