You’ve Got Mail – Email That Is!

Getting your mail by email is coming folks, sort of.

Last year the United States Postal Service launched a pilot program named “Informed Delivery”, in which they can email you digital photos of the front side of your mail every morning before it’s physically delivered. The mail isn’t opened, they don’t actually access the content of it, but this at least lets you know what to expect when you walk out to the mailbox. It doesn’t, however include packages, catalogs and magazines, although they might add the latter two sometime in the future.

Informed Delivery has been available in seven northern Virginia zip codes since late 2014. Now the USPS is expanding that service into the New York City metro area and they plan to roll it out to more areas in 2016. Per their website, “In the Fall of 2015 the service will be available in the New York City metro area, including the following three digit ZIP Code ™ locations: NY: 100-119; CT: 066 & 069. The service has been available in select ZIP Code ™ locations in Northern Virginia since 2014 starting with the following three digits: 201, 220, 221, 222, 223, 226, 227. Expansion to other areas is being considered for 2016.”

Email me all my mail

A massive USPS sorting facility.

The postal service has been photographing every single letter since 2013. That’s well over 150 billion letters a year! According to Postmaster General , this is done as part of their automated sorting process, although some of the images have been used to assist law enforcement in criminal cases.

Email me all my mail

Postmaster General Megan Brennan

The service is free, but you will have to sign up for it at a USPS website. The site offers a fairly extensive FAQ, which is useful.

Brennan has some other ideas brewing to keep the USPS relevant in today’s high-speed, multi-service environment. They have expanded same day deliveries of items such as groceries, water, and fish, in several cities. They’re looking at offering Sunday delivery to more locations. They even hope to overturn a Prohibition-era ban the forbids the postal service from shipping alcohol. This all could mean big boosts in revenue for a service that definitely needs to up its game if it hopes to survive.

Next up, maybe emailing me my Scotch? I would definitely sign up for that.

This post is also available on Joe For America.


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