E-mail Attachments: Size No Longer Matters

Sending large file attachments via e-mail can be tricky once you start heading north of 10 or 20MB. E-mail clients limit attachment sizes, and small businesses that work with large presentations, audio or video files that can be hundreds of megabytes or larger in size have to rely on FTP sites or overnight delivery just to send an electronic file.

Enter YouSendIt.com, a Web-based subscription service that’s designed to let you send large files to anyone, anytime, anywhere, without either you or your recipient installing any software. You select a file to send and upload it to You Send It’s server. The person you’re sending it to receives an e-mail from You Send It that contains a link to your file. They click on the link, and download the file.

The main problem with FTP, said Ranjith Kumaran, the founder of You Send It, is that it can be complicated to use, and many small businesses spend a lot of time walking their clients through the FTP process. “FTP requires a certain amount of technical savvy to use, and it’s not great for customers.”

Kumaran added that FTP is not secure or private. “It suffers from what ‘s known as ‘hygiene issues.’ Clients who go to retrieve a file from an FTP site can see other client folders. And, if you’re working with revisions, it’s hard for both the sender and the recipient to know if they’re working with the most recent version, which results in a broken work flow.”

Some small companies rely on overnight delivery to ship large files which takes hours to arrive and can cost as much as $50 each. Kumaran said You Send It offers a much more affordable and, with SSL encryption and password protection, a more secure alternative.

The company claims it has five million registered users. Its typical customers, said Kumaran, include SMB and home office professionals who work regularly with large files such as images, audio, video, PDFs and PowerPoint presentations.

You Send It offers a three-tiered subscription service and a free service that offers fewer capabilities. Here’s a break down of the pricing and the basic features. You can compare the differences in account capabilities here.

  • YouSendIt Lite: Free, advertising on page. File size: up to 100MB. Send an unlimited number of files one at a time to up to 100 recipients. Recipients have seven days in which to download the file. Pay-per-use option: you can send a single file (101MB up to 2GB) for $3.99.
  • YouSendIt Plus: $4.99 per month, no ads on page. File size: up to 2GB. Send multiple files at a time. Recipient has 14 days to download files.
  • YouSendIt Business: $19.99 per month, no ads on page. File size: up to 2GB. Send multiple files at a time. Recipient has 14 days to download files.
  • YouSendIt Business Plus: $29.99 per month, no ads on page. File size: up to 2GB. Send multiple files at a time. Recipient has 14 days to download files.

With the paid plans, you receive a notification telling you when the file was picked up, who picked it up, and whether the recipient(s) left any comments for you. “The notifications simplify tracking,” said Kumaran. “If you need all five recipients to sign off before you take action, you can tell who has and who hasn’t seen the file yet.”

YouSendIt also offers plug-ins that let you send files from within a variety of applications frequently used by a range of creative professionals. These currently include Outlook, Photoshop, Aperture, CorelDraw and PaperPort.

The company also offers a drop box for companies such as photo labs and printers that need to receive as well as to send files to clients. “The drop box is a customized page where you tell your clients how to leave files for you — what file size they need, when they need them, where to upload the files and which pages go with which images,” said Kumaran.

If you deal with files that run larger than 2GB (which is a browser limitation), You Send It offers a desktop client option, which requires a software download. The dedicated program gets around the browser limitation, and lets you send files up to 10GB in size.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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