Advertising service? Postal Service is overstepping 2012.09.19

Written by David Green.

Advertising is essential for the success of a newspaper. It pays the bills to enable a new edition of the paper week after week.

So why is the United States Postal Service (USPS) trying to take it away?

Newspaper owners across the country are upset about a plan by the Postal Service to entice ads out of papers and move them to a USPS favored company known as Valassis.

The Postal Service will provide rebates of more than 30 percent to Valassis to entice advertising inserts from newspapers into direct mail. The goal is to create more advertising mail, at the expense of newspapers that are already in a fragile condition following the economic downturn that began in 2008. Through the recession and the growth of internet usage, advertising declined and never recovered. Now, the USPS is trying to make it even worse.

The Postal Service offer is only for the big players. Valassis can take the rebate and offer a discount to national retailers. Newspapers can’t sign a single contract together to earn their own rebate from the USPS. Small, local stores can’t be part of the deal with Valassis, either, but the USPS also has an advertising plan for them.

It just doesn’t seem right. Sure, the Postal Service has its own revenue problems, but it isn’t a business. It’s a service owned by the government, designed to serve all. It shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in any marketplace.

Does America need a federally-owned advertising service? Our answer to that is “No!”

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