Direct Mail Terms

Address Service Requested

An endorsement which, when printed below the return address in the upper left-hand corner of the mailing piece, authorizes the USPS to provide, for a fee, the known new address of a person no longer at the address to which the piece was mailed.

Ancillary Service Endorsement

Ancillary service endorsements are used by mailers to request an addressee's new address and to provide the USPS with instructions on how to handle undeliverable as addressed pieces. The endorsement consist of one keyword:"Electronic," "Address," "Return," or "Forwarding," followed by the two words "Service Requested."


A coding structure printed on a mailing piece which is used by the USPS for mail sorting.

Booklet Envelope

Open side style and side seam make it suitable for automatic inserting. For annual reports, brochures, sales literature and a variety of printed material.

Carrier Route Presort

Mail that is sorted into a bundle for delivery to a specific delivery route. The mail carrier performing delivery breaks down the bundle at the delivery post office. For example, all books going to Rural Route #2, Pontiac, Illinois, would go directly to the mail carrier assigned to that route in one bundle.


An acronym for Coding Accuracy Support System, a program by which USPS approves software vendors and other information service providers to provide certified Zip+4 and address correction services to the general public. Mailing lists must be verified and corrected using CASS certified software in order to qualify for automation discounts.

Catalog Envelope

Open end style with a center seam. Catalog envelopes cannot be processed through inserting equipment. For small mailings because of costly manual inserting charges.

Delivery Point Barcode

An extended barcode allowing mail to be sorted in the order in which it is delivered by the postal carrier.

Duplicate Identification (See Merge-Purge)

The process of merging together two or more lists available on computer tape. This permits the identification of duplicates for separate handling, i.e., purging or mailing again as multibuyers.


The preprinted marking on each piece of mail in a bulk mailing showing that postage has been paid for by the sender.

Intelligent Mail Barcode(IMB)

The Intelligent Mail barcode is the next generation of USPS barcode technology used to sort and track letters and flats. Intelligent Mail barcode technology, among other things, combines the capabilities of the POSTNET barcode the PLANET Code ® barcode, and the ACS service into one unique barcode.

Key Code (key)

Group of letters and/or numbers, colors or other markings used to identify, measure and track the specific effectiveness of media, lists, advertisements and offers, or any part thereof.

Mail Date

The date when a list user, by prior agreement with the list owner, is obligated to mail a specific list. No other date is acceptable without specific approval of the list owner.


To combine two or more lists for list enhancement, suppression or duplicate elimination using a computerized matching process.

Minimum Order Requirement

A stipulation stating that payment of a given amount will be paid regardless of quantity.

Multiple Buyer

A person who has made a direct-mail purchase on two or more different occasions; also known as multibuyer or repeat buyer.

NCOA (National Change of Address)

A service of the USPS to improve the accuracy of mailing addresses. The NCOA file is compiled from change of address cards filled out and submitted by those who are relocating in order to have their mail forwarded to a new address. Mailing lists can be matched against this file in order to update delivery addresses. This service is provided by vendors licensed with the USPS or their business partners.

Net Name Arrangement

An agreement made prior to or at the time of ordering a list, whereby the list owner agrees to accept adjusted payment for less than the total names shipped to the list user. Basis for agreement can be for a percentage of names shipped or names actually mailed, whichever is greater, or for those names actually mailed without a percentage limitation. Running charges may or may not be applicable.


A bad address; a mailing piece returned to the mailer by the USPS under proper authorization, because of an incorrect or undeliverable name and address.

Nth Name Selection

A fractional unit that is repeated in sampling a mailing list. For example, in an "every 10th" sample, selected records would be the 1st, 11th, 21st, 31st, etc., or, 2nd, 12th, 22nd, 32nd, etc.


(or poly bag) A polyethylene bag for storing or packaging a product ; a wrap that acts as and envelope into which a mailing piece be inserted and addressed according to USPS requirements.


An acronym for Recency-Frequency-Monetary Value Ratio, a formula used to evaluate the sales potential of names on a given mailing list.

Response List

Individuals or institutions who have responded to direct-marketing offers either by mail or phone; such are more likely to respond again than those included on a non-response list.

Salting by seeds/dummies/decoys

The process of adding names with special characteristics to a list for purposes of identification and protection from unauthorized list use.

Sectional Center Facility (SCF or SCF Center)

A USPS distribution unit comprised of different post offices whose zip codes begin with the same first three digits.

Split Run (A/B Split)

Printing two or more variants of a promotional ad run on an Nth or A/B split throughout the entire edition; use of geographical segments of a publication for testing of variants.

Track N Trace

Mail-delivery monitoring information as part of the USPS OneCodeConfirm™ program. Each mailpiece in the designated job is tagged with a unique identification number stored in the IM™ barcode on the address label. Those IDs are then logged when the mailpieces are scanned as they move from one postal facility to the next on the path to their eventual delivery destination.