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Do Americans Know Their ZIP + 4?

ZIP codes aren't specific enough for Local Search

     
10:19 pm on Jan 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion, the ZIP code system in the US does not work well for local search. With less than 50,000 unique 5 digit codes in use representing such a huge (and populous) country it's clear that a ZIP code just isn't local enough for some searches.

The UK is a tiny island in comparison to the US but uses 1.7 Million Postcodes that pinpoint locations quite well. The US has an extension to the ZIP code that, if adopted widely, could solve the problem of codes covering too large an area.

Not being from the US, I'd like to know if people tend to know their ZIP + 4. From what I read about ZIP + 4 it appears to be mostly companies that will use them rather than the general population. It seems to me that knowing your own ZIP + 4 would be handy if local search sites supported them as it would give you more accurate geographic results (without having to type in your entire address - which admittedly would be better still for geolocation services).

Do you know yours?

Do you think the general public know theirs?

Is there something better than ZIP + 4 for a quick, accurate lookup?

6:32 pm on Jan 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"soft" branding

10022-SHOE [dmnews.com].
11:26 am on Jan 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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jimbeetle, that's a perfect example eh? Thanks!

I'm sure there are many reading this topic and thinking...

"What's my +4?"

There are prestigious Zip Codes by default. For example, 90210 (Beverly Hills). Add a unique +4 to that and you have another "soft branding" element. :)

Now, if you can convince the U.S.P.S. to give you your own custom +4 like above, that would be the ultimate!

94043-GOOG
78746-NULL

6:01 pm on Jan 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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One of my customers told me that post offices use the zip+4 information on envelopes to screen out junk mail because the majority of those using it are businesses that harvest mailing addresses from databases which include this extra information.

Because of that hearsay, I've stopped using the zip+4 info that I get from white pages reverse-lookups to avoid getting our brochures etc labelled as junk mail -- because they're not!

6:12 pm on Jan 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You made a major business decision based on something one customer told you?
6:14 pm on Jan 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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screen out junk mail

They don't screen out junk mail, they'd go broke; it's probably the most important revenue streams USPS has.
7:00 pm on Jan 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You made a major business decision based on something one customer told you?

This hardly sounds like a major business decision to me, unless they're sending large amounts of bulk mail.

But no, the USPS will not "filter out" junk mail. However, I can see some customers associating the +4 with junk.

8:37 pm on Jan 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't remember my plus4. This is why we're still using the qwerty keyboard, even though apple offered Dvorak back with the Apple III if memory serves...old habits die hard.
8:37 pm on Jan 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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However, I can see some customers associating the +4 with junk.

Yeah, it appears on all my bills. ;)

5:56 pm on Jan 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They don't screen out junk mail

They screen junkmail in Canada if you ask them to. Thus the quick decision to stop using the zip+4 info on our mail-outs. We don't send out many yet, so, for us, the point is moot.

9:29 am on June 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You can use the free address correction tool below to find the ZIP+4 of your address.

#Snip, Removed URL#

[edited by: inbound at 12:48 pm (utc) on June 6, 2008]
[edit reason] Removed URL - No Specifics Please [/edit]

12:54 pm on June 6, 2008 (gmt 0)

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As tgotchi pointed out, there are free ZIP+4 lookup tools available on the web.

Rather than linking out to others providing this service I'd suggest that, as the source of this data is the USPS, anyone looking would probably do well to start there.

This 41 message thread spans 2 pages: 41
 

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