Smart Stationery Makes Snail Mail Fun Again

Two new Seattle-based companies are focused on improving the mail we get.

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Founded by four Seattleites who wanted to share special photo moments with relatives who aren’t on Facebook or email, Postcardly (postcardly.com) delivers personalized paper postcards to your friends and family with a few mouse clicks. After signing up for an account (subscribe to five cards per month for $4.99; 15 cards per month for $9.99; or pay a flat fee of $19.99 for 20 cards), create unique Postcardly email addresses for the people to whom you’d like to send a postcard (say, Aunt Carol: auntcarol@postcardly.com) and plug in the associated home addresses. Then send your personal message with a photo attached to auntcarol@postcardly.com (and whomever else you’d like to receive the postcard). Postcardly creates and mails the addressee a physical postcard, with the photo on one side and your message on the other. Et voilà, Aunt Carol gets in on the Facebook fun (without getting tangled in the interwebs).

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At the other end of the mail spectrum is PaperKarma (paperkarma.com), devoted to ridding you of irritating and eco-unfriendly paper junk mail. The brainchild of Seattle Microsoftie Sean Mortazavi and former Urbanspoon software engineer Brendan Ribera, the free app allows users to unsubscribe to junk mail by way of smart devices. Just snap a picture of the sender’s name, address or logo on an unwanted catalog, magazine, credit card offer, etc. and submit it to PaperKarma via the app. The method to this magic? PaperKarma has a database of U.S. companies that send commercial mail; when you send photos of your junk mail, the system automatically contacts the corresponding companies with a request that your name be removed from mailing lists. The only downside is you might need to buy a new (smaller) recycling bin.

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