Internet Faxing Service Review - On the sending...
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On the sending side: Most Internet faxing vendors allow you to send faxes by attaching files to an email. When the Internet Fax server gets the email, the emails get converted into a fax coversheet with the recipient's fax number pulled from the "To:" address. The attached files then get converted to TIFF or PDF files for easy viewing by the recipient. The service will then deliver the converted fax to the recipient's standard fax number.
On the receiving side: Most Internet fax vendors will provide you with a phone number that you can then give to your customers. This number can be a local number (if you are located in or near a major US city) or a toll free number (available everywhere.) People will send you faxes to that number in the standard way. The service will then convert the fax to a PDF or TIFF image (or in the case of eFax, a custom image for viewing w/ their software) and send to your email as an attachment. You can then view the fax with any standard Windows Image viewer.
In the future as more fax machines include built-in Internet connectivity, faxing might give email a run for its money as a cheap, convenient way to send documents. Until that time, however, e-fax services will provide the best alternative to picking up the phone and sending faxes the old-fashioned way.
In summary, after reviewing all of the major Internet faxing service vendors, I have found the best service to be the one provided by Internet Fax Provider (IFP). IFP has the best rate plans and offers toll-free numbers that include 50 free faxes per month. I don't go over 30 faxes per month, so it certainly makes sense for me - because with the toll free number provided, my customers don't have to pay long distance charges when they send me a fax. IFP also has the best broadcast sending rates and regular sending plan with the most features. And it was the simplest to use (you don't have to use all the available options.)
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