Another Mail.dat Spec Gets Rolling

As we hurtle along towards 2011 and increased postage prices due to the USPS exigency filing, IDEAlliance formally published the Mail.dat 11-1 specification for the industry’s review.  This new specification is designed to take into account new items being requested by the industry and the USPS for better communications amongst ourselves and with the USPS via PostalOne!  Although, truth be told, it’s more the latter than the former.  With the publishing of the final spec, there are a few things/dates people need to know: 

  1. All reviews must be complete and comments turned in by Friday, 08/06/10.  Due to the compressed schedule for publishing this spec requested by the USPS, there is only 1 week to dig into and review this new spec.
  2. The “must-catch” date is 12/02/10 – This is the date software that receives and reads Mail.dat files (like Window Book’s DAT-MAIL or the USPS PostalOne! system) must be ready to receive (catch) files formatted using the 11-1 spec.
  3. The “must-send” date is 02/02/11 – This is the date software that creates Mail.dat files must be able to produce files formatted using the 11-1 spec.
  4. Expected date of exigency price increase is 01/02/11 – These 3 dates create a 60-day window between catch and send dates for Mail.dat with the price increase date right in the middle.
  5. When reviewing the new spec, it’s easier to start at the back!  Find the section in the back that details the changes to the spec between and (page 154) and use that to guide you through your review. 
  6. Pay attention to the new “air box” scenario described on page 150.  These are containers that mailers are being required to use even though the USPS doesn’t have many technical details about them.   

For those of you just getting familiar with Mail.dat (and Mail.XML), Window Book will be presenting a Mail.dat/Mail.XML Webinar on Tuesday, 08/10/10 at 3:00 pm EDT.  Interested parties can register at

Wallace Vingelis

Director, Postal Industry Practice

Window Book, Inc.

Phone:  (617) 395-4569

Fax:        (617) 395-5969