So Long Go Daddy – LetterStream moves to the Amazon Cloud

June 22nd, 2015 Comments off

LetterStream turned off dedicated servers at Go Daddy today and moved to the cloud with Amazon Web Services (AWS). We’ve enjoyed our time with Go Daddy over the past dozen years, but it’s time for us to move on to a more powerful and hopefully more reliable network and hosting partner.

As you are probably keenly aware, we like excellence. We thrive on it. We love offering it. We love getting it. It’s just who we are. Because excellence is in our DNA, we need strategic partners who are like minded in their pursuit of perfection.

The most recent Go Daddy outage that impacted us happened just today, June 22, 2015. The prior outage we experienced was June 9th. On both occasions Go Daddy didn’t know our dedicated servers were unavailable. Today, after being left in the dark about the status of their network and being in queue for 30 minutes for a server reset, we felt the need to re-evaluate why only our backup servers were operating in AWS.

so long go daddy

source: www.downdetector.com

In pursuit of uptime perfection we’ve officially decided to move our primary servers to AWS. This move should deliver greater availability as well as scalability, both of which are designed to give you comfort with your choice of LetterStream as your print and mail partner.

Amazon Web Services

source: www.downdetector.com

Please know that we are around for you. We don’t want to hide behind long chat queues, or multiple tiers of technical support, nor do we want to partner with organizations who are not mindful of how important you are to us. We are optimistic that this migration will allow us to continue to offer the outstanding service that you deserve.

 

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New USPS Postage Rates Coming May 31st

May 7th, 2015 Comments off

It’s official; new postage prices go into effect on May 31st, 2015. On May 4th the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the USPS proposed price change request.

As a recap, the price of a USPS First-Class stamp remains unchanged at $.49. Therefore there is no need to stock up on Forever stamps.

However, most other postal mailing categories will see increases. Below are some of the highlights for First-Class Mail.

  • First-Class Postcards will increase from $.34 to $.35 each
  • Additional ounces for First-Class mail will increase from $.21 to $.22
  • Certified Mail base fees will increase from $3.30 to $3.45
  • Certified Mail Return Receipt Green Card fees will increase from $2.70 to $2.80
  • Certified Mail Electronic Return Receipts will increase from $1.35 to $1.40
  • International First-Class Letters will go up from $1.15 to $1.20
  • One ounce First-Class flats will increase to $.98, and 2 ounce pieces will be $1.20
  • Registered Mail letters will increase from $11.95 to $12.20
  • The price of a First-Class Stamp will remain at $.49

Keep in mind, we are quoting the new USPS postage costs, not LetterStream prices. LetterStream typically increases prices only to the extent that the USPS fees increase, but review your invoice when creating mailings online for exact pricing.

It’s generally difficult to find the new postage rate charts at USPS.com before a postage rate change is implemented, but with a little digging, the rate tables can be found. Follow this link for the new postage rates for 2015. You can download an Excel file in the left sidebar called “Mailing Services Prices excel – Proposed Updated 05/01/15″.

We don’t recommend using the “Calculate a Price” postage rate tool on the USPS website for mailings after May 31 until that date has passed. While the tool technically allows you to enter the future date of a mailing, it doesn’t take into account the new rate increases. (Don’t ask us why.)

If you’d like to see the complete PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission) document, it was published by the Federal Government Publishing Office on May 4, 2015 and can be found here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-05-04/pdf/2015-10029.pdf

USPS First-Class Mail Slowing Down… Or Is It Me?

February 19th, 2015 Comments off

Stopwatch Man Waiting for First-Class MailDoes it seem like your First-Class letters don’t travel as quickly as they used to? Well, it’s not just your imagination. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been intentionally and systematically slowing down First-Class letters in order to reduce costs and create efficiencies in their mail handling operations.

This slowing down process has been rolling out for several months now and will continue to be noticed as postal facilities consolidate and the new plans take shape. The most obvious change occurred in January of this year (2015) when the USPS eliminated next day delivery of First-Class mail. This change has effected almost everyone who receives First-Class mail.

Judging by the number of phone calls we’ve already received about this, it’s not necessarily what any of us expected. If there is an upside, the USPS still quotes a delivery service standard for First-Class mail of 3 days (from and to) anywhere in the first 48 U.S. States. (But don’t quote us on this; we are still a little skeptical).

Here’s a good overview published by the USPS in September of 2011; it’s pretty clear and easy to read, and spells out their elimination of next day First-Class mail: USPS Frequently Asked Questions – Service Standards

If you want to dive into all the glorious details in a far-less user friendly document, you can review the implementation plan in the USPS Final Federal Register 39 CFR Part 121. This document spells out the specifics of the USPS implementation process. Phase one began on July 1, 2012, and phase two began on February 1, 2014.

In January of this year, the USPS posted a revised interactive service level map on their website in order for mailers to graphically see the service standards for various types of mail originating at your nearest post office. Follow the link to do some experimenting of your own based on your location. For LetterStream customers, use 850 PHOENIX AZ as your Originating point.

Keep in mind that the USPS service standards are not service guarantees. You know… “results may vary“.

In summary, your next day delivery of First-Class letters is probably gone for good, and we are likely to see additional days of transit built in as the USPS consolidates facilities. Editor’s note: Just between you and me and Mr. Stopwatch here; I’d caution you to not expect faster service if your letters already take 4 to 5 days for delivery.

Official USPS And LetterStream 2015 Holiday Schedule

February 1st, 2015 Comments off

We’ve updated our USPS Holiday Calendar with the latest information from the USPS. In addition, we’ve added important USPS early closing days which are not typically spelled out on the USPS Postal Holidays web page.

We’ve placed this information along with LetterStream’s holiday schedule on a Google Calendar so you can have all the information at your fingertips on your smartphone, tablet or Google account.

If you are already synced to the LetterStream calendar, awesome! Your job here is done. If not, see the instructions below.

One more important mention; most USPS retail counters close early on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, so make sure you call ahead and/or plan accordingly. In conjunction, LetterStream will also be closing early on both of those days.

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Click on the “+Google Calendar” button below to subscribe with your Google account.

(*Click here for instructions on how to sync Google Calendar with a mobile device.)

USPS First-Class Stamp Price – Unchanged For 2015

January 22nd, 2015 Comments off

2015 USPS first-class stamp priceJanuary is the month that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been using to introduce prices increases in recent years. However, for 2015 the USPS has no intentions of raising the rate of a First-Class stamp.

On January 15, 2015 the USPS published a press release about pricing titled “Forever Stamp Prices Unchanged“. The title might be a bit misleading as they are actually talking about the price of *any* First-Class stamp that you purchase for First-Class 1 ounce letters, not just Forever Stamps. Late in the press release the USPS specifically says:

Maintains single-piece stamp prices at 49 cents.

Keep in mind the USPS is requesting authorization to raise the price of other letter fees, including the cost for additional ounces (from $.21 to $.22), the cost of international letters (from $1.15 to $1.20) and the cost of postcards (from $.34 to $.35). “Requesting authorization” means that these price changes need to be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission before becoming official.

If approved, the changes will take affect on April 26, 2015.

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays From LetterStream!

December 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Season's Greetings

 

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

 

From your friends at

LetterStream

This holiday season we want to wish you lots of love, time with family, hot chocolate, and of course… all your mail delivered on time. We are thankful for your support in 2014, and we look forward to serving you well in the coming year as well.

Please note that according to the USPS, most post offices will be closing at 12:00 noon on Christmas Eve (Wed. Dec. 24th) and New Year’s Eve (Wed. Dec. 31st). Be sure to drop mail in blue collection boxes by noon on those days as well, as the USPS will be picking up mail early.

See LetterStream’s holiday hours below, and click here for a link to the 2015 USPS holiday calendar.

Happy Mailing!

-The LetterStream Team

LetterStream Holiday Hours

“Paper Fun Truck”: The Latest Video By Domtar

July 16th, 2014 Comments off

Our paper manufacturer, Domtar, has done it again. The following is the latest video in their Paper Because series.

Who knew paper could spread so much joy! To see it for yourself, search the hashtag #paperfuntruck on Instagram and Twitter.

If you need help with real paper mailLetterStream is here for you. Visit our website to learn more about our solutions for online Certified MailFirst-Class mail, and Non-Profit mail.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj0VHm1FDKw