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J2’s Acquisition on Ozefax and Faxmate: Closing in on Australia’s Fax Industry

Founded in 1995, j2 Global Inc. began as a fax provider and provides internet services worldwide. They also, through their acquisitions, provide other online services spanning a number of different interests. They are the undisputed market leader; j2 Global’s network operations have spread across 49 countries in different parts of the globe.

Following an acquisition based growth strategy J2 Global acquired 18 companies in digital publishing and cloud-based services in between 2010-2014. Diversifying away from fax with media publishing companies such as Ziff Davis on November 2012, bringing into the j2 group brands like PCMag.com, and IGN.com. In February 2013, j2 Global followed up by acquiring IGN Entertainment, a leading online gaming and entertainment company. j2 continued its acquisitions for the rest of the year as they took over three other companies: MetroFax, an internet faxing service provider based in Bellevue, Washington; Backup Connect BV, a Dutch company providing cloud services for business; and EPA Cloud, a UK-based email security and management business.

Earlier this year, j2 Global acquired City Numbers Ltd., a provider of toll free phone numbers in UK and two Australian internet fax service providers, Sydney-based Ozefax and Brisbane-based Faxmate. Bringing their Australian internet fax acquisitions to 3, having already purchased MBox in 2010.

How it affects the industry

j2 Global’s dominance in the internet fax industry sparked attention with themes of monopolizing the online fax industry. According to Jason DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, in his blog post published on Huffington Post, “As a result, j2 effectively controls over 90% of the internet fax market. This allows for j2 to screen their actions as if they are separate entities in the eyes of the average consumer, and as a result, j2 is able to set prices to whatever level they see fit.” With j2 Global dominating the online fax industry, people are beginning to turn their heads on Google and how Google’s search results are affected by j2 Global’s dominance. Some say j2’s business tactic is apparently affecting Google’s reputation and its “double serving” policy, which clearly states to “discourage advertisers from running ads for the same or similar businesses across multiple accounts triggered by the same or similar keywords and prevents multiple ads from the same or commonly-owned company from appearing on the same search results page.” It is unclear from the ads served if it is obvious the results are j2 owned companies or not.

Consumer reviews

j2 Global’s itself seems to have a lot of reviews and is a source of comment and reactions from users and pundits all over the world. Based on this author’s research on social media and consumer site reviews, they show a wide range of opinion; some of them happy to use internet fax generally, some happy with their expectations being beaten while some have very poor and negative reviews and sentiments. A common theme also seems to come up with billing or over charging issues.

Here are some examples:

Conclusion

With the acquisition of Ozefax and Faxmate, j2 Global is now holding more than half of Australia’s internet fax service providers while UTBox remained independent from j2. In America, three internet fax service providers namely RingCentral, Fax87 and Nextiva are independent as well. It is best practice for consumers to conduct further research on internet fax service providers based on their needs and services. There are other independent internet fax service providers, such as UTBox, that provide easy and hassle-free fax services experience.

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