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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Customize your Correspondence using Photo Stamps

Photo Stamps are a new and exciting way to turn your favorite photos into real useable U.S. postage! Creating photo stamps is easy, all you have to do is upload your favorite photo to one of the many of the websites offering these services and use their online editing interface to move, zoom or rotate to perfect you stamp. Many of the custom photo stamps websites also allow you to choose a border in a color that will match your photo perfectly. The stamps come in a variety of postage rates to meet all your mailing needs ranging from postcard rates of twenty four cents to thirty nine cents for regular first class to up to four dollars for packages. Photo stamps can be ordered in just a sheet with twenty stamps to large roll of hundreds for bulk mailing. They can be ordered and delivered to you and there are also special packages that allow the consumer to print his or her own stamps with a photo.

No matter what you are mailing there is a way for you to add a little extra something special to every envelope that is sent out. One widely popular use for photo stamps are for wedding invitations and the thank you cards after the wedding takes place. A wonderful idea is to use one of the wedding photos of the couple showing their rings or just a close-up of the bride in groom in their gown and tux. Another of the more popular ideas is using your favorite snap shot of your new baby to send out birth announcements. Holidays are another fun and exciting was to use photo stamps. Christmas cards are just that much more special with a family picture as the stamp.

One question that consumers typically have when using photo stamps is how the United States Postal Service can allow users to print their own stamps without encountering fraud and counterfeiting. The postal service has developed a system known as information based indicia that prints a specially designed two dimensional bar code on the printed stamps between the border and the photographs. The bar code contains, among other pieces of information, the date that the photo stamps were printed, the serial number of the software package that was used to print the stamps, and other encoded pieces of information that make it all but impossible to print counterfeit photo stamps. Special electronic detection equipment at the postal service delivery centers read the information based indicia bar code and can easily report when photo stamps are created fraudulently. In addition to the machine readable two dimensional information based indicia bar code, the stamps also contain human readable elements that are used to ensure that the they were created legitimately. All in all, information based indicia based photo stamps are highly successful at preventing counterfeit and fraud. The technology took several years to develop and then was beta tested for more than a year to ensure that the system performed as expected. Of course, given the relatively inexpensive price tag associated with sending postage, it is unlikely that counterfeiters would spend a great deal of time trying to circumvent information based indicia security. There are certainly more lucrative ways for counterfeiters to ply their trade.

Photo stamps are a great way to personalize your letters, cards, and other postal correspondence. By giving customers the ability to create their own custom, legally valid stamps while maintaining the security and integrity of the system, the US Postal Service has created a product that has been very successful and is likely to become even more so as more people become aware of the possibility of using photo stamps.

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