USPS this one is for free. All I ask is that someone from there posts a comment here saying it was a good idea.
I have a new system for you that will increase your good will from your residential customers by a ton. It will also show that you really care about people and not bulk mailing companies.
First thing is that every piece of mail now gets a 10 digit Alpha-Numeric number added to it on the front or back. Talking with Lamar we are unsure of how many pieces of mail that go through the system per year, but 10 digits at 35 possibles (leaving O out to avoid confusion with zero) results in a possible 2,758,547,353,515,62. That is quite a bit and since my plan would only really need the number to be unique for a while, it should be plenty.
The next step is that every piece of mail that comes in not only gets the “To” address scanned, but also gets the “Return Address” scanned. These numbers are placed in a database along with the unique number and stored.
Now residents at an address go to the usps site and request an account for their address. The USPS can come up with a system to authenticate that they really live at that site. It should probably involve sending a piece of mail to their address that they then have to return with a code or enter the code onto a website. Just something to prove that they really live at an address and to tie their account to that address.
What then happens is that whenever I get a piece of mail that I do not want to receive anymore, I just go to the USPS site and login to my account. I then enter the 10 digit number and tell the post office that I want to blacklist that “From” address.
Next time something hits the system that matches my address and the “Return Address” the system just marks “Return to Sender” on it and dumps it back out for delivery to the sender. This will save the USPS time sorting, collecting and delivering the various pieces of junk mail and save me from having to get it. Hopefully, companies would start to catch on and remove people's names from their lists. If you actually decided that you needed mail from an address you could always go back to the site and unblacklist it.
Something else that it would allow is for people to go to the site and list people that actually live at their residence. I continue to get mail for my great uncle that has been dead for around ten years. I also get a lot of junk mail that doesn't even have my name on it. That seems to be the latest trend in bulk mailing people. You could even do mail redirects and such with it, so that if a member of your household moves you could immediately change their address to the new one.
The big downside for the USPS is the initial cost of the computers to run the system, but the big one is that the USPS makes most of their money off of bulk mailers. That would probably drop off if people really started using this system. The only other thing that I could think of would be that if someone you blocked them moved and the new person at that address mailed you, it would still be blocked.
I definitely think it is an idea that could be done and would be great for people that receive lots of junk. Until it gets done though, I guess I will just go back to taping their “Postage paid” envelopes to bricks and putting them back in the mail box. They tend to take your name off of their list then, since that costs them a lot of money. 🙂