IDEAlliance has announced a revision in its Mail.dat User License Code program that will substantially reduce the fees paid by mail preparers and facilitate the transition to electronic postage payment. The Mail.dat specification specifies a User License Code to accompany files for the purpose of uniquely identifying the sender through the postal supply chain. The Mail.dat specification, and the software infrastructure upon which it’s built, defines mail preparation today and is developed and maintained by IDEAlliance, a non-profit industry association, in cooperation with the United States Postal Service (USPS).
In January 2013, IDEAlliance undertook a program to reduce the cost of User License Codes by providing the codes seamlessly through mail preparation software. Under the new program, IDEAlliance will now provide Mail.dat User License Codes through Royalty License Agreements with participating software providers.
Christopher Lien, Director, IDEAlliance, and Vice President of Software Marketing, Bell and Howell, said, “IDEAlliance is responding to the needs of the industry to more widely distribute Mail.dat User License Codes. At the same time, mailing software developers from across the industry are stepping up to annually fund the development of Mail.dat and Mail.XML through a royalty license. We support IDEAlliance as the independent body that works cooperatively across the industry with the US Postal Service to create the standards of the future.”
As a benefit to participating in the program, mailing software developers will be authorized to provide User License Codes directly to their customers as part of their Mail.dat generating and editing solutions. Organizations can still purchase separate User License Codes directly from IDEAlliance at a nominal fee.
Under the program IDEAlliance will be enforcing its rights under its trademark to insure compliance. Under the new program for the distribution of Mail.dat User License Codes, IDEAlliance will provide Royalty License Agreements in three categories:
- Specification Originator/Modifier: Principally develops and licenses user access to software that creates an originating Mail.dat and/or Mail.XML™ file/message set, i.e., one that is constructed using detailed information and postal sorting results not derived from existing Mail.dat/Mail.XML files, and openly advertises Mail.dat/Mail.XML support as a benefit.
- Specification Modifier: Principally develops and licenses user access to software that modifies the content or enhances the structure of existing Mail.dat and/or Mail.XML file/message sets and openly advertises Mail.dat/Mail.XML editing capabilities as a benefit.
- Specification Dependent: Offers services dependent upon or substantially enhanced by Mail.dat/Mail.XML files and either requires Mail.dat files or Mail.XML to perform the service or offers a tangible advantage via the specification.
David Steinhardt, President & CEO, IDEAlliance, said, “Each year IDEAlliance funds nearly $100,000 for the ongoing development and maintenance of the specifications that support the efficient print distribution of our members. IDEAlliance sought the support of the mailing software developers’ community for a new model to fund the development of Mail.dat and Mail.XML. The Mailing Software Developers Group stepped up and responded and are being Good Citizens to fund an industry-wide standards development process that is key to the mailstream.”