How to Strengthen Ad Mail by Building a Digital Information Market

Office of Inspector General - Risk Analysis Research Center, USPS, RARC-Working Paper No. 14-002

36 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2014

See all articles by Marshall W. Van Alstyne

Marshall W. Van Alstyne

Boston University – Questrom School of Business

Geoffrey Parker

Dartmouth College

Tushar Shanker

Boston University - Department of Management Information Systems

Date Written: December 11, 2013

Abstract

The US Postal Service suffered a $5B loss in FY 2013 following on a $15.9B loss the year before. One of the challenges has been the diversion of revenues from physical ad mail to online channels such as Google and Facebook. This paper articulates the design of an information market that could help physical ads compete with digital ads. The proposed mechanism offers a closed loop information feedback with attractive properties. (i) Recipients can declare what mail they do not want and become protected thereafter. (ii) Advertisers may learn what recipients do want. (iii) Recipients are rewarded for data they volunteer. (iv) The mechanism provides a simple means to convert offline contact to online purchase. (v) A data layer facilitates business partnership with USPS in order to offer new services. (vi) A new type of stamp provides USPS with a new source of revenue.

Keywords: Advertising, Coupons, QR Codes, Information Asymmetry, Marketing, Platforms

JEL Classification: D11, D82, D83, M3

Suggested Citation

Van Alstyne, Marshall W. and Parker, Geoffrey and Shanker, Tushar, How to Strengthen Ad Mail by Building a Digital Information Market (December 11, 2013). Office of Inspector General - Risk Analysis Research Center, USPS, RARC-Working Paper No. 14-002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2377476

Marshall W. Van Alstyne (Contact Author)

Boston University – Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-358-3571 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://questromapps.bu.edu/mgmt_new/Profiles/VanAlstyneMarshall.html

Geoffrey Parker

Dartmouth College ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-9075 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/people/faculty/geoffrey-parker

Tushar Shanker

Boston University - Department of Management Information Systems ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
5085236067 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://smgapps.bu.edu/mgmt_new/profilesPHD/ShankerTushar.html

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