Postal Mailing List Glossary

This Mailing List Glossary contains Terms and Phrases relating to Postal Mailing Lists

A clear understanding of the terms and phrases shown below is essential prior to purchasing a postal mailing list or launching a direct mail advertising campaign. If you have questions about the terms and phrases listed below or if you need a definition of a term not shown ask one of our coaches.

Avery Labels
Avery is a company that sells easy to peel and stick address labels for inkjet printers. When purchasing a mailing list, mailers can request the provider to send the list in “Avery” PDF label format. Avery labels can be purchased online or at most office supply stores. As an option, most list providers will also sell lists printed on Avery labels.

Bulk Mail
The term “bulk mail” refers to larger quantities of mail (minimum of 200 pieces) prepared for mailing at reduced postage. Also know as “standard mail”, a annual permit from the post office is required and mailings mail only be sent from the post office (Business Mail Entry Unit “BMEU”) where the permit was issued.

Targeting the best prospects is the key to a successful direct mail advertising campaign. Demographics refer to factors such as age, gender, income, education, occupation and more within the target market area.

Do Not Call List
The Do Not Call Registry accepts registrations from both cell phones and land lines. To register by telephone, call 1-888-382-1222. You must call from the phone number that you want to register. To register online (, you will have to respond to a confirmation email.

List Broker:
A company that sells mailing lists and demographic information on consumers and businesses. The data is provided by a third party list compiler.

List Compiler:
A company or organization that gathers and maintains physical addresses and in some cases demographic information on consumers and businesses.

Mail Carrier Route:
The daily delivery area of a USPS Mail Carrier (Postman). Usually averages 300 to 500 deliveries and can include residential homes (single and multi family residences)  and/or commercial businesses.

Mail Carrier Route Delivery Types:
C = City Routes
R = Rural Routes
H = Highway Routes (delivery provided by contractor)

Mail Carrier Route Delivery Categories:
Single Family Dwelling Unit
Multi Family Dwelling Unit
Trailer (can include manufactured homes)

Mail Drop:
A commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA), also known as a mail drop, typically operates as a Private Mail Box Operator. A customer of a CMRA can receive mail and other deliveries at the street address of the CMRA rather than the customer’s own street address. Depending on the agreement between the customer and the CMRA, the CMRA can forward the mail to the customer or hold it for pickup.
Unlike a post office box, a CMRA operates independently of the national postal administration and is therefore able to receive courier packages or other non-mail. CMRAs typically provide ancillary services such as facsimile, copy or courier.
A customer may wish to use the services of a CMRA for privacy; for example, a person running a home-based business may not wish to disclose his or her residential address. A customer in one community may contract with a CMRA in another community with a better known or more prestigious address. A business located near an international border may use a CMRA as a point of local presence to receive cross-border freight or correspondence at domestic (instead of international) rates.
The use of a CMRA may render the delivery of mail at a later time of day than it would at a Post Office box. Some CMRAs offer an online post office, providing a means to access mail over the internet.

The UPS Store
Mail Boxes Etc.

Metropolitan Statistical Area – MSA –  is a formal definition of metropolitan areas established by the Office of Management and Budget, a division of the U.S. government. Modern MSA’s are configured to represent contiguous geographic areas with a relatively high density of human population.

In 1997 the government implemented a new classification system commonly referred to as NAICS or North American Industry Classification System. While this system offers some better methods of classification, most mailing list compilers and many government agencies still use the SIC system. When appropriate, we will compare both methods to generate the best data results for our clients.

National Change of Address Database (NCOA):
The National Change of Address Database is maintained by the US Postal Service and is comprised of 160+ Million address change notifications received during the past 48 months. In order to be eligible for Postage Discounts the mailer must provide evidence that evidence that the mailing list used has been updated with the NCOA database within the past 95 days.

Postage Rates for Neighborhood Saturation Mailings:
A neighborhood saturation mailing qualifies for a special low postage rate providing it includes  90% of the residential addresses or 75% of the combined residential and business deliveries in a given carrier route. Furthermore, the mailing list must be sorted in Walk Sequence order (the actual sequence that a Postman delivers his route).

Return Service:
Return service is provided by the United States Post Office for all mail sent First Class. If the addressee in no longer residing at the mailing address and a forwarding address has not been provided or has expired, the mail piece will be returned to sender. This service is not available for mailings that use bulk or standard mail postage rates.

Saturation Mailing Lists:
Saturation mailing lists include all deliveries on a mail carriers daily route. The source of the list is the Post Office. There are no names the addressee is “CURRENT RESIDENT”.
In order to qualify for Saturation Postage rates:

  1. – The mailing must be sent using a Standard Mail permit
  2.  – It must be sorted in “carrier walk sequence order”
  3.  – The mailing must follow the 90/75 Rule which means you must mail to at least 90 percent of residential addresses, or at least 75 percent of the total number of residential and business addresses in a given carrier route.

SIC Codes:
SIC Codes are a Standard Industrial Classification system that uses numerical codes, assigned by the U.S. government, to identify the primary business of an 

As shown on saturation mailing list count reports refers to traditional mobile homes as well as manufactured homes.

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