New Mail.dat Electronic Mail Verification and Acceptance Standard, Released

Press release from the issuing company

Important Step Toward Standards Development to be Submitted to CGATS ALEXANDRIA, VA (February 28, 2002) - IDEAlliance (International Digital Enterprise Alliance) has announced the release of Mail.dat(TM) 02-1, the latest version of the industry-wide standard for electronic mail verification and acceptance representing all classes of mailings for the US Postal Service (USPS)and Canada Post. The new 02-1 specification may be used as early as April 29, 2002. The last permitted use of the legacy 00-1 specification should be prior to August 16, 2002. Produced by the list processor from the computer pre-sort, Mail.dat is a set of files that defines all pertinent characteristics within the mailing, including that necessary to calculate postage, determine pieces per package, packages per container, analyze entry points, calculate specific and total weights, and communicate entry destinations. The US Postal Service has worked closely with IDEAlliance to ensure the completeness of Mail.dat for PostalOne! Acceptance, verification, payment, transportation management, and other purposes. The existence of Mail.dat 02-1 enables the US Postal Service to rely upon receiving standardized and system-compatible submission from all those participating in the USPS' electronic interface. Mail.dat 02-1 is a direct descendant of the initial GCA Production Container Summary specification, first conceived in 1990. Today, the comprehensive design of Mail.dat supports any mailing-related application that can be conceived. Mail.dat allows the entire industry - list processors, mailing facilities and the applicable postal system - to exchange data without wasting resources. The US Postal Service has been a conscientious contributor to Mail.dat since 1994, and first acknowledged Mail.dat as its electronic industry standard in 1998. The US Postal Service has participated in Mail.dat development in parallel compliment to the growth of the PostalOne! communications/information interface which provides one source for all electronic input and retrieval for USPS business partners. "Mail.dat is recognized by the industry for mail-associated data communications and accepted by the USPS for mail entry documentation, verification, and payment," said David Steinhardt, President of IDEAlliance. "Thousands of companies, businesses, and individuals have taken full advantage of Mail.dat to support the mailing of billions of pieces." Opportunities to benefit from Mail.dat exist within distribution planning, eliminating hardcopy documentation, production planning & inkjet coordination, seed name tracking, dynamic entry scheduling for periodicals, archiving, and participating in the PostalOne! electronic platform. "Mail.dat is a critical tool because it enables all mailing facilities to receive mail make-up data in a readily usable and commonly understandable format," explained Dan Minnick, VP, Postal & Industry Services, Experian Direct Tech and Chief Editor of the Mail.dat standard. "Because mailing facilities receive Mail.dat files from a number of list providers," Minnick says "it is imperative that all of these providers use Mail.dat 02-1 files."