Virtual Stamp of Approval – E-Stamp Internet-based postage system – Hardware Review – Evaluation
Requirements Win 95/98, 16MB of RAM, 19MB of hard disk
space, CD-ROM drive, 300dpi or
List Price $50 plus 10 percent of postage cost
Manufacturer E-Stamp Corp., 888-437-8267, www.e-stamp.com
YOU’VE PLUCKED YOUR client’s info from your PIM and inserted the name and address into your business letter. Think you’re done? Think again. Now you can print out an envelope complete with stamp from your printer with E-Stamp, an Internet-based postage system.
E-Stamp simplifies the often clumsy process of applying to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for permission to purchase postage online. You simply fill out a Web-based form, and E-Stamp takes care of the rest; we received approval within a day. You then purchase postage by clicking on a button in E-Stamp. Pretty impressive. Despite its convenience, though, E-Stamp is hamstrung by silly postal regulations.
Using the self-explanatory E-Stamp design, you add an address for the envelope, select the appropriate amount of postage, and print the envelope. That’s simple enough–but the program won’t launch unless you first place the address verification disc in your CD-ROM drive to make sure addresses and zip codes match.
An E-Stamp representative told us the USPS requires the use of the disc for security reasons–although the CD-ROMs, which are updated every few months, could be out of date if you’re sending a letter to someone who lives in a newly constructed dwelling. And if the disc can’t validate the address, E-Stamp won’t print your postage. Moreover, you must add a small device to your PC’s printer port to prevent printing of unpaid postage.
At $50 plus a 10 percent premium per stamp, E-Stamp can get costly if you purchase a lot of postage. But despite its minor clumsiness and extra cost, it’s a temptingly simple, convenient solution.
PROS Get stamps from your printer
CONS Dumb postal regulations
V = Value
P = PerformanceVirtual Stamp of Approval
E = Ease of Use E-Stamp
S = Suitability for Home Office Use
COPYRIGHT 1999 CURTCO Freedom Communications
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group