• on Jan 21st, 2013 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 4 comments

    The U.S. Postal Service can play unique and positive roles in the expansion of the peer-to-peer marketplace, as suggested in a new OIG white paper, Peer-to-Peer Commerce and the Role of the Postal Service. American consumers are familiar with peer-to-peer (P2P) digital commerce and increasingly comfortable buying and selling that way. Millions of people place offerings and shop on eBay, Craigslist, etsy, and other sites every day. In recent years, the P2P segment has grown beyond these traditional product sites and now includes services from which users can rent a vacation room in someone’s house, lend or borrow a private car, or even hire someone locally for small jobs, such as baking cookies for a child’s classroom party or assembling modular furniture. However, there are a number of problems in current P2P commerce that may prevent wider adoption by the American public. Market participants face the challenges of balancing convenience with privacy and the potential for economic or physical harm. Some of these issues can be addressed through enhanced digital identity and authentication services, but there are other opportunities, which the paper presents. The paper describes P2P digital commerce and challenges and gaps in the current marketplace, including several types of fraud and threats to personal property and physical safety. It then identifies Postal Service products and services that exist today or might be developed in the future to facilitate market expansion. Current postal ancillary and special services, both physical and digital, are well suited to the P2P market. These include insurance, Registered Mail, Certified Mail, Collect on Delivery (COD), Track and Trace, Return Receipt and Return Receipt for Merchandise, Restricted Delivery, and other services. Please share your comments on this concept as well as observations on your own P2P experiences, if any, below. Do you believe a trusted intermediary such as the Postal Service could help in this segment? Please give us your comments below:

  • on Dec 29th, 2008 in OIG | 19 comments

    After blogging for several months, the Office of Inspector General wants you to know how it’s going.  So far, we’ve posted seven blogs (including this one) and received more than 100 comments. There have been a number of thoughtful observations about the Postal Service, and the Mail Transport Equipment blog actually led to a tip that resulted in the recovery of some pallets.

    Our most successful post so far has been "Self Service Mail Technologies". More than 150 people participated in the survey questions about Automated Postal Centers (APCs) — the Postal Service’s self-service kiosks. As the charts below show, as of the time of this post, 76 percent of participants said they were aware of APCs, and 81 percent said they would be more likely to use the Postal Service if self-service machines were conveniently located where they shop. We intend to incorporate your survey responses and comments into our work on APCs.

     Are you aware of APC?  Pie chart:  76 percent yes; 24 percent no

    Would you use APC if located where you shop?  Pie chart:  81 percent yes; 19 percent no

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, and please continue to comment. We’d also like to hear your ideas for new blog topics. What topics should we address in 2009? We welcome your suggestions.