Wednesday, November 17, 2004
7 News Features: Return to Sender
Think about how many times a day you use e-mail. But did you ever send something to the wrong person or write something and then regret it. Well now, you can take back everything you wrote even before the recipient has a chance to read it. Here's the nighteam's Louis Aguirre with tonight's special assignment report - "Return to Sender."
WSVN -- Save your job, your social life, even your self-respect.
For most of us, when we send e-mail, once it's gone, it's gone forever.
But thanks to a new Internet service, we're about to get something very rare in life - a second chance.
We've all been there...Typing an e-mail... When suddenly...With one single click, we make a mistake...That is so big, it is literally out of this world.
Wrong message... Wrong person... Wrong thing to do. How many times have you sent an e-mail you wish you could take back.
Co-workers Michael Nifnif and James McKeown know the feeling. Both of them have committed an e-blunder.
Michael Nifnif: "I went ahead and sent an email that said see below or see attachment and i forgot to attach the e-mail."
James McKeown: "I get a nasty e-mail from a friend, read it really quickly, write something nasty back and then i'd read it later and think oh no."
Oh- no is right because once it's gone, it's gone forever...At least until now.
Check out bigstring.com. It is the first e-mail service that allows you to correct, erase, even destroy what you have written before or after a recipient reads it.
James: "That sounds pretty awesome.
But what's awesome is you can also prevent others from forwarding, printing, or copying your e-mail.
Basically, it gives all the power to the sender.
Adam Kotkin: "We're saying when you send an email, it's your e-mail."
Adam Kotkin is big string's chief operating officer.
He came up with idea just over a year ago when his partner - a broker - e-mailed the wrong pricing information to business clients.
Adam: "E-mail today is permanent record. What you say today can be used against you tomorrow."
Basically big string lets you correct all your mistakes. At least the ones you make online.
And big string's not alone. Readnotify.com also allows you to control what people do with your e-mail.
It lets you prevent others from forwarding, printing, or copying what you sent.
Adam: "People don't want their mistakes out there on the web."
At big string, the system works because unlike traditional e-mails where the message is saved on your computer, here the message may look the same, but it's actually being sent to you from the big string server.
Adam: "As far as everyone can tell, it's perfectly legal."
Well, not everyone.
South Florida attorney Barry Chase has big concerns about big string.
Attorney Barry Chase: "Anytime you enter an area of actively deceiving someone, I think questions are raised."
One of those questions is when an e-mail lands in a receiver's account, does it belong to the receiver.
Barry: "If you can remove it from the account of the recipient then I think you're talking about a property issue possibly, certainly a privacy issue."
Michael and James admit they don't like somebody else interfering with their e-mail.
Michael: "I would probably be very violated knowing something was sent to me and somebody took it out of my inbox."
But return to sender is an alluring option.
James: "I want the power of course."
No strings...Or should we say big string attached.
James: "Its just that extra advantage I guess...and covering your butt."
Big string will only tell us they have tens of thousands of customers. Right now, a patent is pending on their service.
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