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Policy: Technology

Postmaster General: 'The American citizens aren't our customers'

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Postal Service,Technology

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe doesn't regard the American taxpayers who subsidize the U.S. Postal Service as the agency's primary customers, according to a new report from Inside Sources.

"You disrupt my service and we will never work with you," Donahoe told Outbox founders Evan Baehr and Will Davis. “You mentioned making the service better for our customers; but the American citizens aren’t our customers — about 400 junk mailers are our customers. Your service hurts our ability to serve those customers.”

It's hard to believe that Donahoe would say that, as Baehr and Davis told Derek Khanna. The USPS refused to respond to Inside Sources' request for information beyond a boilerplate statement that said, among other things, that USPS would "continue to monitor market activities to ensure protection of our brand and the value and security of the mail."

Khanna's report suggests why Donahoe would regard Outbox, a tech startup that digitized mail for consumers, as a threat to his clientele.

"Outbox’s prime service was to help unsubscribe customers from spam mail, and they unsubscribed customers from over 1 million senders of mail," Khanna notes. "Outbox scanned over 1.5 million pages, and when requested, re-delivered over 250,000 requested mail packages."

The USPS' opposition proved fatal to the company. "For longer than we would be willing to tolerate, we would lose money for each additional customer we gained," Baehr and Davis wrote on their blog. "Despite the massive interest in our company, we learned that the product we built did not find fit in the market we targeted."

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