Zxmail builds a virtual office

These days you can organise and plan almost anything online. You can keep a virtual date book that sends you e-mail reminders when you have plans. You can keep track of birthdays and anniversaries with a virtual calendar. You can back up your hard drive on a Web site and access your documents when you're on the go.

The only problem: you have to keep track of all the different sites you use to keep your life simple. You can use bookmarks, but what if you're using someone else's computer? You could write them down, but should you have to bother?

Is all this online organisation really helping you out at all?

The creators of Zxmail say their plan will truly simply your life. And they're starting out by helping you create a virtual office online. Zxmail plans to give you everything you need right on the Web -- personal planner, address book, an e-mail auto-reminder, document storage, and bulk e-mail service.

"There are other places where you can find some of these," says Toyin Dawodu, president of Zxmail. "We're trying to assemble all those features into one site."

In addition to the mobile benefits of a virtual office, this all-in-one site also updates its software online, not on your desktop.

"The future of applications is migrat[ing] to the Web," says Dawodu. "No need to upgrade. No need to buy any software. It'll be upgraded all the time through the Web site."

The basics -- plus

A free subscription to Zxmail's basic service includes a Zxmail.com domain e-mail address, a calendar, appointment book, personal e-mail folders, three bulk mailing lists (limited to 50 entries each), and document storage. The service includes 15MB of storage space for your e-mail address book, which has a limit of 50 entries. Additional storage space is offered at a monthly fee.

Zxmail offers public and private chat rooms in a variety of subject areas. The service also lets you configure your desktop Internet mail program to receive your Zxmail without visiting the Web site. It accommodates Outlook Express, Netscape Messenger, Eudora, and other e-mail programs. You can also route up to three existing e-mail accounts to your Zxmail inbox on the Web.

One flaw with Zxmail e-mail is that every message sent comes with an attachment: a solicitation to subscribe to Zxmail.

Zxmail promises to add more Web-based services, such as invoicing, legal forms and marketing lists.

"We're targeting mainly small businesses, start-ups who need resources without having to buy so many applications," says Noah Awoniyi, Zxmail's chief technology officer.

Awoniyi says the company expects to make revenue from the site through businesses subscribing to Zxmail's premium services. But he also says the company may sell banner ads on its site.

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Chris Yurko

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