- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2000

Transcription services have long been a vital part of legal and medical industries. WeType4U.com (www.wetype4u.com) wants to provide that service for smaller businesses and consumers.

Competing against brick-and-mortar, click-and-brick and Web-based groups, WeType4U.com will transcribe documents dictated over the company's toll-free phone line, returning a completed Microsoft Word document to the user's e-mail in within four, eight or 24 hours, depending on the need.

Considering the medical transcription industry pulls in a yearly $6.6 billion according to the Medical Transcription Industry Alliance, the company appears to have growth potential in a burgeoning market.

"We are competing on numerous levels, including accuracy, fast turnaround and, most importantly, cost," says Tom Mersch, president of WeType4U.com, based in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

He thinks pricing will be the key to success. While common industry fees range from $5.50 to $8 per page and often require up to 72-hours to complete, his company charges $2 per page for a 24-hour turnaround.

First-time visitors to WeType4U.com can register for five free pages and then continue to use the service with no monthly minimums or setup fees.

Because the average person speaks up to three times faster than he types, the company's business plan targets those who, for example, need notes transcribed while stuck in traffic or are need to send in daily sales reports from the road.

Mr. Mersch offers the scenario of a marine surveyor. "These individuals get paid a significant sum for their expertise in surveying a yacht and the most time-consuming aspect of their work is preparing the report."

With this service, he can call into the toll-free number while walking around the vessel with his cell phone. By the time he returns to the office later that afternoon, those notes can be on the desk top, Mr. Mersch says.

The company pulls its work force from India, employing approximately 300 persons at three transcription centers.

The site offers a recorder for purchase that connects into the phone, but can be removed for the taping of lectures, meetings and, where allowed by law, phone calls. The user can then call WeType4U.com and play back the audio recording.

The telephone transcription service has recently started a function that will allow persons to call a toll-free number and dictate a message that is sent via e-mail.

The cost for each e-mail is 99 for up to 100 words, and a penny for each additional word. The message is sent to indicated recipients within four hours, with a disclaimer that it has been transcribed from a dictated document.

A site for sore eyes

Fifty-five percent of Americans wear some form of vision-correction device, according to the American Optometric Association. Next to shopping for swim wear, eyeglasses may be the most difficult personal purchase humans make.

Barely a year old, Eyeglasses.com (www.eyeglasses.com) competes with such Internet shops as 2020rx.com (www.2020rx.com), theeyedoctor.com (www.theeyedoctor.com) and the recently defunct consumer end of Sightopia.com, to create a virtual environment for purchasing eye wear.

The company allows shoppers to examine frames from more than 70 designer collections such as Versace, Nike, Guess and Ellen Tracy with a wide variety of prices.

Visitors first search through the site's more than 5,000 styles of eyeglasses, sending choices to the virtual dressing room. Once in the dressing room, its time to sit back and try on frames on line without pushy sales people.

Is it really possible to try on glasses on line? No. But customers can pick a pair of glasses and place them on a picture of a face shape that is roughly similar to his. Customers can also upload a picture of your own face for a more accurate assessment.

The site also offer tips on choosing eye wear that complements the customer's face and tips on measuring pupillary distance. Other areas include a Frequently Asked Questions, information on the materials used in frame and lens productions, fitting eye wear and finding an Eyeglasses.com associate in the shopper's town.

• Have an interesting site? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Business Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail (joseph@twtmail.com).

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