When Tips Aren't Tops

SAN FRANCISCO (05/30/2000) - Your life is in desperate need of order. Inc. wants to help, by delivering to your in-box targeted e-mails such as daily weather information, weekly medical updates, or regular auto maintenance reminders.

Unfortunately, the service is experiencing growing pains. (LifeMinders claims it has grown to 4 million registered users in just eight weeks.) When I tried it, LifeMinders was able to deliver only a single e-mail in three days. A spokesperson blamed the glitch on server issues.

Delivered to Your Doorstep

LifeMinders Today is a daily e-mail that includes a five-day weather forecast based on your zip code, a horoscope, an inspirational quote, a joke, and local lottery results. You can also receive severe-weather alerts as well as reminders for birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates.

The company plans to add local news and listings of local events and TV programs, which should greatly improve its substance.

Additionally, LifeMinders offers weekly content-specific messages. Topics include auto, family, health, personal finance, shopping, small business, and travel. You can customize each category so that you receive tips only in specific areas. For example, within the health category, you can choose topics such as nutrition and medical alerts.

LifeMinders lets you narrow the focus even more in categories such as auto or family. For instance, provide the make and model of your car and the date of your last oil change, and LifeMinders will deliver maintenance reminders and other car-specific information. Likewise, enter your child's age and receive tips specific to your child's stage of development.

Tip or Tease?

The tips, however, consist mainly of teasers and make you click to another Web site for more information. For instance, an auto tip might direct you to a site that helps you calculate your car's current value, rather than providing you with the data in the tip itself.

Despite those limitations, may prove a useful service--once it gets its technical issues under control.