There seems to be quite a market for self-destructing messages; popular apps like Snapchat and Facebook’s Poke are proof that people would like to say something and leave behind no trace that they ever said it. Jokes aside, if you’re using a smartphone, it is likely that there is an app available for sending these self destructing messages. However, there are few options for doing the same from your PC, and the few that do exist support only plain text messages and have an unappealing interface. ReadOnce is a web service that lets you send self destructing messages. These messages can be plain text, images, audio clips, or videos. You can select how long the messages will be visible up to a maximum time limit of 59 seconds. The time can be customized down to the millisecond. The great thing about ReadOnce – apart from the different message formats – is that the message is only deleted from the recipient’s side; you still get to keep it for 5 days, and can share it again with anyone. ReadOnce also lets you mask the URL you share using Bit.ly.
Sign up for a free ReadOnce account and start adding your messages. Select the time limit for the message in both second and milliseconds. Next, enter your message; it can be either a text message or an image/audio/video file, as mentioned above. ReadOnce will not check to see if your audio or video file can finish playing within the time limit, so make sure your message isn’t too long. The service supports many common audio, video, and image formats like MP3, MP4, JPG, PNG etc.
If you want to enable the Bit.ly masking feature, click the ‘Enable it.ly mask’ option. This converts the link for your message into a shortened bit.ly URL. The link still redirects to ReadOnce, but no one will suspect that just by reading it. The point is to make the link appear ordinary, and possibly to keep the original link from being treated as spam.
Click Generate and share the public link. The other link is for you, should you need to share the same message again in the next 5 days. After 5 days, the message will be removed from your account as well.
Once a message has expired, ReadOnce prompts your recipient to contact you if they were unable to read it, in order to ask you to share it again. You can view previously shared messages by clicking ‘My Messages’ at the top. You will see a dashboard that shows the time limit, content, creation date, expiry date, and public URL for each message. You can renew the public link and view the IP and time & date that a message has been read on by clicking any one of these fields from this dashboard.
As far as self destructing messages go, ReadOnce is definitely a feature-rich and impressive solution.