Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How To Make Money With Photostamps


PhotoStamps, a product of Stamps.com, are custom postage stamps. The stamps are valid U.S. postage, bearing a custom photo or graphic provided by the purchaser. PhotoStamps were first made available on August 10, 2004.

There was an initial controversy when PhotoStamps were created in the initial market test depicting various notorious individuals and items, including Monica Lewinsky's dress, but that died down after the company announced more strigent standards and enforcement of them.

September 30, 2004 was the final day for the original market test for PhotoStamps. During the seven and a half weeks in which the product was made available, more than 2,600,000 individual PhotoStamps were ordered, mostly featuring pets, children, and landscapes. These so-called "vanity stamps" were also popular with brides-to-be and art designers.

PhotoStamps postage is valid US postage and can be used at any point in the future. As of April 26, 2005, the PhotoStamps program was once again reactivated with USPS approval, and "over 19 million PhotoStamps have been sold" since then.

In the United States personalized stamps are technically a form of meter labels and thus do not fall under the regulations for what can be depicted on U.S. stamps; for example, the restriction that people, with the exception of U.S. presidents, have to be dead for five years (formerly ten) before they can be commemorated is not applicable. This means that, under the standards for metered mail, they are also not supposed to be cancelled, though there are examples of this being done by unaware or other-enthusiastic employees, or perhaps as a favour for collectors.

A "PhotoStamps of the Year" contest was announced, with the winners to be displayed at the Smithsonian. In some cases certain aspects of copyright law relating to personalised postage are unclear. However, Canada Post claims sole copyright in Canadian personalised stamps.

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