Product Description

Share Mail provides a mechanism for businesses and organizations to use the mail to share information not only with their customers but to have those customers send the mailpieces to other parties — without their having to affix a stamp. These mailpieces (letters or postcards) can flow between any two parties — for example, they can flow from a franchise to its franchisees, from a business to its customers, and from a business’s customers to other people (such as those customers’ family, friends, neighbors — anyone that they think might be interested in the information). Those who forward the message to others do not need to pay postage — that’s paid by the Share Mail account holder (hereafter referred to as just “account holder”) who first produced and distributed the mailpieces. Recipients of Share Mail letters and postcards may forward the pieces to others by depositing them into the mailstream in the same ways as other domestic single-piece First-Class Mail.

Exhibit 1 illustrates how a business can distribute Share Mail pieces to its customers, who in turn can share them with family and friends through the mail — without having to affix a stamp.

Exhibit 1

How a Business Uses Share Mail

How it Works Business Example flowchart

Examples of Share Mail

Here are some examples of how businesses and organizations can use Share Mail:

  1. A bakery, florist, golf club, or any local business provides promotional Share Mail cards to its customers so that they can share them by mail with their friends and family, who can claim the offer provided on the card.
  2. A cruise line or vacation resort provides its guests with Share Mail postcards offering greetings as well as promotions such as discount bookings — and the guests can mail these greetings without stamps!
  3. A retailer shipping products encloses Share Mail thank-you cards in its shipments of gift purchases so that recipient can thank the people who sent the gifts.
  4. An online retailer encloses Share Mail postcards in its fulfillment shipment so that the purchaser can mail a referral to a friend to take advantage of a promotional offer.

Before an account holder may distribute Share Mail First-Class Mail single-piece letters or postcards with an IMb, the Postal Service must approve their production. Each such letter or postcard must carry approved indicia in the upper-right corner in lieu of affixed postage.

How It Works

Share Mail relies on IMb technology to identify and count each approved mailpiece as it moves through the postal system. During First-Class Mail processing, the “FIM E” mark (described in Section 3), the IMb, and the indicia combine to identify the account holder’s Share Mail letters or postcards for payment purposes.

Share Mail letters or postcards are considered to be “Recorded as Scanned” after they are mailed, when the Postal Service processing equipment first captures the IMb information that identifies the piece as a Share Mail letter or postcard. Once the Postal Service scans and records the Share Mail pieces, the Postal Service invoices the account holder and deducts the funds for postage from the account holder’s Centralized Account Processing System (CAPS) account.

The mailpieces receive First-Class Mail handling procedures, and they receive processing and delivery according to single-piece First-Class Mail standards. Account holders can mail Share Mail letters and postcards only to addresses within the United States and to APO/FPO/DPO locations.