RPN Test Starts April 3

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The U.S. Postal Service begins a market test of new added rates for repositionable notes, also known as "yellow stickies" or RPNs, on direct mail April 3, according to a Federal Register notice published yesterday.

The test opens the use of RPNs to some types of mail for which they are currently prohibited, but also institutes a fee for RPNs on direct mail where their use is now free. Direct mailers oppose the test of the added rate, arguing that direct mail with RPNs doesn't cost more to process and that the USPS is justifying the increased rate solely on the grounds that RPNs raise response rates.

RPNs will be allowed on all letter- and flat-sized mail sent at discount First-Class, Standard and Periodicals rates, according to the Federal Register notice. The added rate for RPN-bearing mail is 0.5 cents for First-Class pieces and 1.5 cents for Standard and Periodicals pieces.

RPNs also must meet several standards, including:

· They must measure 3-by-3 inches, plus or minus one-eighth of an inch.

· There can be no phosphorescent or red fluorescent colorants.

· They cannot be manually affixed.

· They must be adhered with a three-quarter-inch strip and placed in a manner that does not interfere with the piece's delivery address, rate markings or postage.

· They cannot display a specific address or ZIP code, though general landmarks may be referenced.

The test ends April 3, 2006. The USPS will issue a notice before the expiration of the test regarding whether the new RPN rates will be made permanent, according to the Federal Register notice.

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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