The App that zaps junk snail mail – and the Postal Service

“Someone is going to go postal on the Geico gecko. Every week it seems another unsolicited solicitation from the insurance company best known for its Aussie-accented pitch-lizard appears in my mailbox along with stacks of credit card offers, catalogs, nonprofits’ pleas for money, fly-by-nights wanting to refinance my mortgage and reams of garish advertising flyers,” Todd Woody reports for Forbes.

“But now, instead of hauling a pile of paper directly from the mailbox to the recycling bin, I pull out my iPhone and fire up a new app called MailStop [free]. I snap a photo of the Geico envelope, tap the screen and beam it to Catalog Choice, a Berkeley, Calif. startup that then notifies the advertising-crazed insurer to take me off its mailing list,” Woody reports. “Within a few minutes I’ve performed a digital jujitsu on the junk mail in my mailbox. In other words, all the mail in my mailbox.”

Woody reports, “The $51 billion direct mail industry and the U.S. Postal Service are about to get disrupted, Silicon Valley-style. The 22.5 million stop requests Catalog Choice has processed over the past five years are a mere scrap of the some 85 billion pieces of junk mail that landed in American mailboxes in 2011. But that pace could dramatically pick up as junk mail- blocking apps from Catalog Choice and competitors like PaperKarma begin to seed smart phones.”

Read more in the full article here.

24 Comments

    1. Most Americans can’t tell Aussie from English. I’m English, and I’ll bet I can identify regional American accents better than Americans can English, and I can spot Canadian from American and Aussie from Kiwi, but then we have several dozen regional accents of our own.

  1. … that will tell MDN that their FaceBook ads are “broken” and that I’m getting rather sick and tired of clicking “Cancel” – twice, usually – to get the error windows out of the way so I can read the content? The ads from Zagg, Parallels and the like are much less annoying – I can just ignore them – but the FacelessBook ads provide no content – and no revenue – and merely annoy.

      1. … as in ignore, most ads. My concern is anything that actually interrupts my “process”. In this case, browsing the site. Having to deal with an Error Box (pop-up) before I can proceed is quite disruptive.

  2. Here’s how to kill a large fraction of junk snail mail: triple the cost of sending it.

    The USPS is losing money (supposedly).
    No one likes to get 80% junk and 20% real mail. (My *approximate* average over a few months.)

    If raising the price of sending junk mail by a factor of three killed off 2/3 of the junk mail then the USPS would come out ahead with less mail to process and the same income. People receiving junk mail would get 2/3 less.

    Everyone is happy except the junk mail advertisers themselves.

    1. The USPS makes a profit on 1st Class mail and package delivery- where they lose money is on selling below cost junk mail for volume. UPS and FedEx both operate programs that use the USPS for the last mile delivery of packages they have moved close to the final destination.

        1. Riiiiiight.

          It’s the unions. Damn them!

          All they allow for is competitive bargaining against corporations that would just as soon flay you alive. They’re evil – kill ’em all!

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