ComputerStamps

COMPUTER STAMPS

"A PORTRAIT of AMERICA"

What makes AMERICA great?
The striving of the ordinary man and woman!

USPS        

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STAMPS.com

Theme Photo Design-on-Demand CVP Meter Theme Photo Market Test Minted

ENDICIA

PictureITpostage CVP Meter Stamps

ZAZZLE

Zazzle Custom Stamps

PITNEY-BOWES

Monochrome Color Pitney Meter Pitney IBM Meter Custom Custom Zazzle Theme Mail&Go

ART STAMPS    (affiliate)

Art Stamps

YOUR STAMPS    (affiliate)

Your Stamps

USPS Computer Vended Postage (CVP)

USPS CVP Stamps

COMPUTER STAMPS
provide
"A PORTRAIT of AMERICA"
including
- families, friends, neighbors and pets,
- homes, neighborhoods, cities and states,
- religions, philosophies, laws and doctrines,
- businesses, organizations, clubs and groups,
- nature's beauty, talents in art and architecture,
- rich and poor, law and order and freedom of choice,
- an orchestra of individuals and groups,
all making the music of American life and living.

We have evolved from an analog world

into a digital world

POSTAGE STAMP: an adhesive or imprinted stamp issued by the government (US Postal Service ~ USPS)
for pre-payment of postage to carry the mail. Postage stamps are sold at Post Offices.
COMPUTER POSTAGE STAMP: a postage stamp with the addition of an IBI (info-based-indicia) barcode,
that is printed by an USPS authorized organization some of which require the cooperation with users
who use their personal computer and the internet to transmit their stamp designs/photographs
for inclusion on the final stamp. Computer postage stamps are NOT sold at Post Offices.
To avoid laws applicable to the issuance of postage stamps,
the USPS has identified these stamps as "meter labels."
Computer Postage Stamps
may also be known as:
E-Stamps
Logo Stamps
Photo Stamps
Vanity Stamps
Digital Stamps
Custom Stamps
On-line Stamps
Internet Stamps
Computer Stamps
PC Postage Stamps
Meter Label Stamps
Personalized Postage Stamps
Info-Based-Indicia (IBI) Stamps
Intelligent-Mail-Indicia (IMI) Stamps
Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Stamps


Brief Overview:
        In 2000 Personal Computer Postage became an natural extrapolation of Computer Vended Postage Stamps. This occurred with the commercial advancement of IBI (info-based-indicia) technology. IBI is a two-dimensional barcode (matrix of digital data) containing scanable intelligence in "DataMatrix" format. This lead to the cooperative issuance by Stamps.Com of stylized postage (Theme NetStamps). Simultaneously, Stamps.Com initiated a trial beta program for Personalized Photo Computer Postage Stamps. The USPS then authorized other organizations to produce IBI postage stamps.
         Initially Scott Specialized Catalogue elected NOT to list these computer postage stamps in their catalog stating three major reasons for their exclusion:
                 - they were not sold at any US Postal Service post office,
                 - they were sold for amounts over face value and
                 - they could not be purchased individually, only as a pane of stamps.
         An additional (unstated) reason for exclusion is that there appears to be no controllable way to catalog the quanity of differing photos, logos and designs found on these stamps.

Sheets/Panes


USPS Authorized Organizations

Stamps.com

        In 1999 the E-Stamp Corporation was the first PC Postage service approved by the USPS. E-Stamp had developed an early base of intellectual property rights and obtained 31 patents relating to the production of computer generated postage.
        Stamps.com, founded in 1996 acquired E-Stamp Corp in November, 2000. It conducted market tests, the success of which lead them to offer a software postal package that allowed customers to use their personal computer, printer and internet connection to purchase and print postage stamps online. Customers paid a monthly subscription fee, purchased sheets of NetStamp labels and then purchased postage at face value. NetStamp labels were first offered in original format and then in themed and photo format.

Net Theme H IBI Net Theme V IBI Net Photo V IBI Net Mini
NetThemeH NetThemeV NetPhotoV NetMini

        On August 10, 2004, Stamps.com inaugurated PhotoStamps. Customers could use the internet to upload their unique digital photographs to Stamps.com, or purchase themed photograph stamps offered by Stamps.com. Stamps.com would then print the PhotoStamps in sheets of twenty, send them via the mail back to the customer and charge face value plus a per-sheet fee for this service.

Market-Test Photo Photo Photo Theme Photo
Beta Photo Photo Theme Photo

        In 2016, Minted.Com, in conjunction with Stamps.Com, began offering creative Holiday photo stamps using the design talent of contributing artists.

Minted
Minted

        Shutterfly was founded in 1999 as a internet-based social expression and personal publishing service. In 2011, it acquired Tiny Prints (offering custom designed holiday cards, photo cards and baby announcements) and Wedding Paper Divas (offering wedding invitations and save the date cards).
        In 2012, the company acquired Penguin Digital, the makers of the MoPho App which they transitioned into the Shutterfly Mobile App. It continued making acquisitions and for a short time partnered with Endicia as an affiliate, continuing in the design of computer stamps after Endicia was acquired by Stamps.com.

Shutterfly Shutterfly/TinyPrints Zazzle Wedding Paper Divas
Shutterfly Shutterfly/Tiny Zazzle Wedding Paper

        On June 16, 2020, customized/personalized postage stamps were discontinued. For more information, see Linn's Stamp News article dated May 20, 2020.


Endicia

        Founded in 1982 as PSI Associates, Endicia was a technology consulting company based in Palo Alto, California. In the late eighties, it developed software products for address verification and mail management called Envelope Manager. PSI formed a partnership with Microsoft in 1997 producing Direct Mail Manager which became part of Microsoft Office 97 and Office 2000.
        In 2005, Endicia introduced PictureItPostage, a personalized postage service and LabelServer, an application programming interface that enabled postage-paid shipping labels. On July 2, 2007, Newell Rubbermaid acquired Endicia. Rubbermaid's acquisition of Endicia allowed a closer partnership with sister companies Dymo, CardScan and Mimio. With PictureItPostage, customers could create US Postage stamps using their own photos, business logos or graphics. Customers could use the internet to upload their unique digital photographs to Endicia. Endicia would then print the PictureItPostage stamps in sheets of twenty, send them via the mail back to the customer and charge face value plus a per-sheet fee for this service.

Endicia.Com www.Endicia
Endicia.com www.Endicia

        Over the years Endicia formed strategic partnerships with other companies. Evermine was founded in 1999 as a maker of custom printed photo labels, stickers and seals. It had been creating custom stationery for weddings and all occasions since the year 2000. This lead to partnering with Endicia as an afiliate designing personalized computer stamps.
        ArtStamps.com was a privately held company supporting creativity, literacy and education through a school fundraising program which converted original student art into US postage. ArtStamps encouraged children to design their own postage stamps. It partnered with Endicia to accomplish this.
        Shutterfly made it easier to take customer's best pictures, images and designs and turn them into beautifully printed, custom stationery sets. It offered hundreds of templates where customers could upload their artwork using Shuttterfly's design assistant to select favorite design elements including font, colors and messaging, to complete personalized stationery. Endicia partnered with Shutterfly and Stamps.com in issuing personalized postage stamps. Endicia was acquired by Stamps.com in 2015.

EndiciaArtStamp EvermineEnd EvermineSDC EndiciaMinted
End ArtStamp Evermine Endicia Evermine SDC End Minted
Endicia Shutterfly Shutterfly SDC Endicis SDC
Endicia Shutterfly Shutterfly SDC Endicia SDC

Zazzle

        Launched in July 2001 in its beta format, Zazzle encouraged customers to participate by designing products and submitting designs to Zazzle as well as rating the products/designs of others.
        Since 2006, Zazzle has maintained an extensive inventory of approved stamp designs that could be chosen by customers via the internet. These Zazzle Design Stamps could then be purchased in sheets of 20 in small, medium or large sizes. They were organized in the following general postage categories: "cute, wedding, monogram, animal, flower, birthday, fine art, love, new baby and save the date."
        Alternatively, customers could use the internet to upload their unique digital photographs to Zazzle. Zazzle would print the stamps in sheets of twenty, send them via the mail back to the customer and charge face value plus a per-sheet fee for this service.

Zazzle Zazzle Pitney
Zazzle Zazzle Pitney

        Numerous restrictions were imposed by the USPS, without resolution. Some of the restrictions prohibited were "...any image that might violate someone's copyright, trademarks, or rights of publicity or privacy," or "...any depiction of political, religious, violent or sexual content, including content not suitable for minors." or "...any depiction of any other subject matter prohibited for display under US law."
        By mid 2018, Zazzle paused the production and printing of custom postage stamps over this dispute, stating that to continue production, "...would create broad restrictions on content, will be onerous to comply with and have unintended consequences." Shortly thereafter, Zazzle ended its production and printing of custom postage stamps passing this dilemma on to Stamps.com.

Pitney-Bowes

        In 1902, Arthur Pitney patented his first "double-locking" hand-cranked postage-stamping machine. With his patent attorney, Eugene A Rummler, he founded the Pitney Postal Machine Company. In 1908, Walter Bowes founded the Universal Stamping Machine Company which provided stamp-canceling machines to the US Postal Service.
        On March 15, 1920, the US government passed a bill authorizing mechanical stamps on First-Class Mail and on April 23, 1920, the two companies merged to form the Pitney Bowes Postage Meter Company. They produced a machine that combined Pitney's "double-locking" counter with Bowes's system for wrapping postage payment, postmarking and cancellation.
        Between 2000 and 2007, Pitney Bowes invested $2.5 billion in 83 acquisitions primarily in software and service businesses. On June 11, 2007, Pitney Bowes offered customers their Stamp Expressions Printer to print US Postage Stamps using their proprietary CD-ROM software. This proved to be commercially complicated and failed to be competitive, so Pitney Bowes entered into agreement with Zazzle to print their US Postage vanity stamps.

PB Monochrome SE PB Stamp Expressions Pitney Bowes
PB SE Monochrome PB SE Color Pitney Bowes
PB PrepSportswear Pitney Art Stamp Pitney Your Stamp Pitney Peanuts
PB Prep Sportswear PB Art Stamp PB Your Stamp PB Peanuts

        On October 18, 2011, Pitney Bowes started a test of "Mail&Go" kiosks to dispense US Postage as self-adhesive stamps.

PB Mail & Go
Pitney Mail & Go

Art Stamps (affiliate)

        ArtStamps.com was a privately held company supporting creativity, literacy and education through a school fundraising program which converted original student art into US postage. ArtStamps encouraged children to design their own postage stamps.
        Children would use the internet to upload their unique digital art work to Myartstamps.com who would print the stamps in sheets of twenty, send them via the mail back to the children and charge face value plus a per-sheet fee for this service. ArtStamps would then make a monetary contribution to The Literacy Community, a not-for-profit charitable organization that supported the Flat Stanley Project (an international literacy initiative). This program has been discontinued.

Your Stamps (affiliate)

        In March 2007, Fujifilm (through its Fujifilm Partners) launched a new service for personalized postage called YourStamps that allowed users to put their photos and artwork on US postage stamps. Fujifilm did this in conjunction with Pitney Bowes bringing Fujifilm's proven imaging expertise to postage. Fujifilm Partners had been offering its products to a broad spectrum of industries including medical, chemical, graphic arts, electronic materials, optics, recording media, motion picture and photographic technologies. It also offered promotional codes and on-line coupons to enhance its marketing endeavors.
        YourStamps was officially recognized by the US Post Office to issue valid postage. Like its' competition, its users could view their uploaded photographic images/designs as the stamp was being created using different borders, colors and messages. This program has been discontinued.

USPS Computer Vended Postage Stamps

        At the turn of the 21st century, the USPS understood that to cut costs and improve efficiency at its Post Offices, it must concentrate on the development of automatic self-service stamp vending machines. In 2004, it introduced Automated Postal Center (APC) kiosks, through which users could have access to basic postal products, services and operations on a 24/7 basis.
        In 2018 after nearly 15 years of operation, the USPS replaced all APC kiosks with technology-advanced Self-Service Kiosks (SSK). These SSK kiosks enabled customers to buy stamps and postal products processing about 80 percent of those transactions normally handled by retail window clerks.

RoderCatalog Index
Catalog on US Variable Denomination Stamps (1989-2020)

Meter Stamp Society Personal Postage

Computer-Vended-Postage offerings by Craig Selig

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