It’s been a rough go for the Internet postage business, but things could get
better with word from Stamps.com that it has the go-ahead from the U.S.
Postal Service for a new form of e-postage that can be printed out and used
just like regular stamps.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company
said the new
postage product will be called NetStamps, and Stamps.com
trademarked the name.
NetStamps, the company said, lets customers print sheets of postage stamps in
any denomination and for any mail class, allowing for expanded use, including
international mail. And NetStamps postage is not tied to either a destination
address or a mail date, allowing the postage to be printed now and saved for
The company said the USPS approval follows years of development effort,
including a six-month beta field test.
“This feature promises to dramatically increase the convenience and hence the
value proposition of the Stamps.com service,” said Ken McBride, Stamps.com
Wayne Wilkerson, head of Postage Technology Management for the USPS, said
that NetStamps retains the key security elements of Stamps.com’s original
Internet Postage solution, “which allows us to offer this form of postage.”
The new Stamps.com Version 2.5 software lets users print both NetStamps and
the company’s old form of Internet Postage interchangeably. Current customers
will obtain a free upgrade upon software login. Users can print one or as
many as 25 NetStamps at a time on 8 1/2-by-11 inch NetStamps label sheets,
which Stamps.com sells for $3.99 for a pack of 125 labels.
Pricing for the service includes a plan for a $15.99 flat-rate, monthly
service fee or a simple 10 percent service fee on monthly postage printed
with a minimum of $4.49.
Stamps.com rival E-Stamp Corp. sold its
patents and other intellectual property rights as well as the E-Stamp
name and E-Stamp.com domain to Stamps.com in April of 2001.
The company, which has yet to have a profitable quarter, has been in
turn-around mode for some time and last August it made its
third round of job cuts in less than a year.