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Fulfillment Glossary

General Terms

AAM (Audit)

The Alliance for Audited Media is the recognized leader in cross-media verification with unparalleled expertise across all brand platforms including web, mobile, email and print. Founded in 1914 as the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) to bring order and transparency to the media industry. Today more than 4,000 publishers, advertisers, agencies and technology vendors depend on their data-driven insights, technology certification audits and information services to transact with trust.

AAM (Audit)

The Alliance for Audited Media is the recognized leader in cross-media verification with unparalleled expertise across all brand platforms including web, mobile, email and print. Founded in 1914 as the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) to bring order and transparency to the media industry. Today more than 4,000 publishers, advertisers, agencies and technology vendors depend on their data-driven insights, technology certification audits and information services to transact with trust.


Acronym for Account Based Marketing. This is a B2B strategy that directs sales and marketing resources toward a specific set of target accounts and uses personalized campaigns to uniquely reach and resonate with each individual account.


Acronym for Audience Relationship Management. A technical and strategic approach designed to maximize your audience engagement. This style of management allows you to develop new ways to attract and grow your audience, unify audience data, provide robust data governance and management, and provide you with ways to activate data to increase revenue, create new products, and provide long term value to your organization.


Acronym for Audience Director.


New names added to the data file. At Omeda most qualified adds will be applied to the database in a special classification; the field “class” will have a value of 3.  Also called New Business. See also – Qualified Subscriber.

Advance Renewal

A renewal generated by a promotional effort that goes out well in advance of the rest of the renewal promotional series. Advance or early renewals that come in unsolicited are sometimes called “unidentified renewals.”

Advertiser Copies

Each advertiser in a given issue is commonly sent a copy of the issue so that the advertiser can check the ad. Also called Promotion and Advertising copies, P & A, Comps (short for Complimentary).


A magazine that derives more than half of its revenue from advertising. Most magazines are still advertising-driven.

Agent-Sold Subs

Paid subscriptions sold by commissionable outside agencies.

Agency Credit Cancels

It is common to enter agency-sold subscriptions as “cash subscriptions,” even though the agency may have sold them on credit and is billing for them. When subscribers do not pay within the audit bureau’s allotted time frame, the agency notifies the publisher’s fulfillment operation, and the subscriptions are discontinued.

Agency Credit Reinstates

When a customer pays after an agency-generated subscription order already has been cancelled, the subscription is resumed or reinstated.

Alternate Source

In strict terms, an alternate source is any subscription source other than direct mail. However, in practice, the term is far more often applied to nontraditional sources such as package inserts and partnerships than it is to commonly used non-direct-mail sources such as telemarketing.


See “Draw.”


See “Grace Copies.”

Attached Renewal/Invoice

A renewal promotion attached to the magazine or mailed with it in a polybag, in place of or in addition to a direct mail effort. Despite polybag costs and a slight additional Periodicals class postage charge, attached efforts are cheaper than a mailing sent USPS Standard A. Also, an attached effort may pull as well or better than a direct mail effort.

Audit Bureau (Audit)

An independent organization that audits the circulation claims of their publisher members for purposes of verifying those claims for advertisers. AAM, BPAWW and VAC are the dominant audit bureaus within the magazine publishing industry.

Audit Report (Audit)

The audited annual report from an audit bureau that covers two consecutive Publisher’s Statements for a given magazine. Often termed a “white sheet” by AAM members. BPAWW members are not required to print an audit report if no changes are required to the data reported on the publisher’s statement.


In single-copy sales, a retailer’s approval for a particular title to be carried in some or all of its stores. In subscription agency sales, the publisher’s approval for an agent to sell a particular title, specifying rates and commissions.

Automatic Renewal

See “Continuous Service.”

Back Copies (Audit)

Copies served to a new subscriber that are older than the current issue. Often used to help meet paid rate base or controlled demographics goals.

Bad Pay Copies

Copies sent out on credit before a publisher suspends a subscription for nonpayment.

Bad Pay Allowance

A deduction from gross subscription circulation that a publisher carries in anticipation of eventual bad pay.

Bang Tail

This direct mail format features an attached reply envelope, eliminating printing of separate reply envelopes and insertion costs.

Basic Rate

A magazine’s standard, published subscription price was used as the benchmark for defining paid circulation.

Belly Band

Promotional band wrapped around the magazine after it is printed and bound.

Bidding Desks

How agency buyers can bid on audience segments across a volume of sites at once.

Bind-in Card

Most magazines include inserted (or blown in) subscription promotion cards.

Bipad Number

Within the Universal Product Code that is applied to all supermarket products (including magazine covers) and used for retail scanning/data-capturing purposes, each newsstand-distributed magazine is assigned a five-digit BIPAD number. The BIPAD is used for purposes of distribution, billing and credits for unsold copies, or returns. In most cases, BIPAD’s are identified by national distributor (each distributor is assigned a series of numbers and each client title is in turn assigned a number within the series). In some cases, a publisher or wholesaler is assigned a BIPAD. BIPAD originally stood for the Bureau of Independent Publishers and Distributors, a now-defunct organization that initiated the industrywide assignment of numbers during the early days of distribution channel computerization. Today, the numbering system is administered by BIPAD Inc., which is managed by Harrington Associates.

Blow-In or Blow-In Card

A subscription promotion card or envelope blown loosely into a magazine so that it will fall out and attract attention.

BPAWW (Audit)

Headquartered in Shelton, CT. BPA currently has about 5,500 members, including 1,952 business publications, 527 consumer publications, and 2,775 advertisers and advertising agencies, plus newspaper, Web site and associate members.

Brand Extensions

Also called “ancillary products” or “ancillary revenue streams.” New products or services that complement and expand the franchise of an existing branded product. For instance, a consumer magazine may spin off related publications or various merchandise bearing the magazine’s name, such as books, CD’s or online products. A business title might spin off trade shows, books or business information services. In some companies, non-magazine media and spin-off products contribute as much or more revenue as magazines.


Acronym for business reply card. BRC’s are the primary reply vehicle for direct mail orders, as well as subscription blow-ins and bind-ins. They are postage-paid by the publisher to encourage response from the prospect.


Acronym for business reply envelope, a key element of the typical direct mail subscription promotion package. BRE’s are postage-paid by the publisher to encourage response from the prospect.

Broadcast Email/Fax

The bulk distribution of promotion materials (such as new business or renewal/requalification efforts) via email or fax. May be performed in-house or outsourced to a third party.


A magazine’s projected circulation numbers and revenues for the year. The budget, now most often developed with the help of a computer model, is based on an analysis of the volume and revenue to be produced by various circulation sources, along with their costs.

Bulk or Public Place/Sponsored Subscriptions

Bundle of subscriptions sold to one customer, usually at a discount.

COA or C/A

A change of postal address.


In fulfillment, the process in which subscription orders and their enclosed payments are separated and then recorded. Traditionally called “caging” because clerks who performed this task were enclosed in wire cages for security purposes. Also referred to as “cashiering.”


A synonym for “caging” that is most often used in the international market. Cashiering is also the term used to encompass a number of services designed to assist companies engaged in international marketing. The most basic of these services include accepting payments in local currencies and providing currency conversions.

Catalog Agency

A commissionable source selling subscriptions, primarily to libraries or companies.


Acronym for Customer Data Platform. This platform is a unified customer database that organizes all of the customer data a company has into unique profiles. The platform is accessible to other systems for marketing (and other) uses.

Checkout Display

In newsstand sales, the coveted display space at the checkouts of supermarkets, convenience stores and other mass outlets. In addition to a per-copy discount off cover price and the RDA, publishers at checkouts generally pay per-pocket display fees.


A magazine’s total net paid subscriptions and single copies and/or request and qualified recipients. Often expressed as an average per issue over six months, per auditing and rate base conventions.


A magazine that yields most of its revenue from circulation. Many newsstand-oriented magazines, special interest titles (which depend heavily on renewal revenue) and titles published by nonprofit organizations are circulation-driven.


Acronym for Consent Management Platform. A CMP gives websites the technical capabilities to comply with GDPR regulations by informing visitors of the types of data they will be collecting and asking for consent for certain data-processing purposes.

Combination (Combo) Sale

Subscriptions to two or more publications or a magazine and another product (such as a book), sold in combination at a special price.


A payment to a subscription sales agency, usually a percentage or dollar amount per sub sold. The agency collects from the subscriber, deducts the commission and remits the balance to the publisher. (Also see “Remit.”)


A consolidator accepts internationally destined mail for deposit within a type of mail service, such as ISAL. By combining mail from more than one source, consolidators are often able to obtain volume discounts. A consolidator also usually provides convenience services for the mailer, such as preparing paperwork and obtaining permits.


A type of offer in which the consumer agrees to review new editions of or variations on a product and purchase a contracted number of these over a specified time period. (Examples include CD’s periodically offered within a music club or recipe cards sent by a cooking club.)

Continuous Service

Also referred to as “automatic renewal” and “’til forbid.” An agreement in which a subscriber allows the publisher to continue to renew the publication at expire, using the subscriber’s initial credit card authorization, or through automatic billing, until the subscriber informs the publisher to stop. Some subscription agencies make CS offers through credit card invoice stuffers and other sources, and a growing number of publishers are testing and rolling out CS because of its potential for reducing costs and increasing profitability.


In direct mail promotional testing, the basic package against whose results other packages are compared. Usually, the control is the winning package in a previous test or tests.

Controlled Circulation

Many business/trade publications, and some consumer publications, are sent free of charge to individuals who qualify because they work within a certain industry, have a certain job title, purchase certain types of products, or otherwise represent a targeted group of particular interest to specific types of advertisers. Many controlled publications have circulations that are mainly or almost entirely request, meaning that individuals have verified in writing or by telephone or the Web that they are qualified to receive the publication and desire to receive it. (See Also – Direct Request)


Any first-time renewal, or the process of converting nonpaid subscribers to paid subscribers. (This term is also used online to express the “conversion” of clicks to orders.)


A form of mail promotion in which a number of magazines or products are merchandised together.

CO-OP Database

A database comprising information from two or more companies for the mutual use and benefit of all participants.

Cost-Plus or Cost-to-Serve Model

A new type of payment structure for wholesalers being advocated by some publishers. Publishers, instead of wholesalers, would have the primary relationships with retailers. Wholesalers would be paid for performing delivery and other specified services based on their actual costs plus a margin.

Cover Wrap

Also called a wrap or wrapper. An additional cover stapled or glued to a magazine, most often used for circulation and other promotional messages. Many business magazines, and some consumer titles, use wraps as efforts in their renewal or requalification series, and occasionally on sample copies as new-business promotions. Although wraps are often used on the final issue of an expiring sub, they are also increasingly used as supplementary, earlier efforts, even by consumer titles. (Also see “Tip-On.”)


Acronym for cost per thousand, often used in relation to list-rental prices. The ad cost divided by the circulation minus the last three zeroes.


Acronym for cost per order. The sum of all production and media costs (creative, printing, lettershop, postage, etc.) divided by the total number of orders received.

Credit Copies

Copies served on subs ordered on credit, in expectation of payment. These copies can be reported as paid on publisher audit statements only if payment is received. (Also referred to as “Good-Faith Copies.”)


Acronym for customer relationship management. The act of managing and analyzing customer interactions and data throughout the customer life cycle with the goal of improving relationships and assisting in customer retention.


In single-copy sales, the joint display of magazines and other consumer goods, usually in the area of the store in which related goods are traditionally displayed (such as baby magazines in the diaper aisle). Cross-merchandising exploits natural synergies between magazines and related consumer products to heighten awareness and bolster sales of the products and the publications.

Database Marketing

In its true sense, refers to using relational computer systems that allow for maintaining multi-product purchasing history and all other data on a customer. This allows all data on the customer to be readily accessed and cross-referenced for marketing purposes, including cross-selling and upselling.


A kill or cancel, sometimes initiated by the subscriber or, particularly with controlled titles, by the publisher. Agency cancels are an exception.


Characteristics of one’s readers, including sex, age, income, home ownership, presence of children, industry, job title and others. Controlled business titles often gather extensive demographic information on individuals and their companies for advertising and ancillary marketing purposes. In recent years, consumer titles have also moved toward capturing customer demographics because of shrinking prospect universes, cost efficiency pressures and ancillary marketing goals.

Demographic Edition

An edition carrying additional, targeted advertising and/or editorial matter that is distributed to a specific, demographically defined segment within a magazine’s circulation.


Acronym for Double-click For Publishers (now Google Ad Manager). Online advertisement service that helps publishers streamline operations and capture the most value for every impression. The platform helps to grow ad revenue through the business ads wherever people are watching, playing or engaging.

Direct Debit

A customer may instruct his or her bank to authorize an organization (such as a publisher) to collect regular or occasional payments from that customer’s bank account as long as the customer has been provided with advance notice of the collection amounts and dates. Common in Europe; still uncommon in the U.S.

Direct Distribution

In single-copy sales, an alternative to the traditional mass-market distribution system that bypasses the wholesaler and, in some cases, the national distributor. Direct distributors oversee the parcel shipping of specific numbers of magazine copies to individual stores. Often, retailers receive a larger discount off cover price under the direct system. The direct system covers many major bookstore and discount chains and specialty stores, but traditionally has not reached supermarkets and other major mass-market magazine outlets.

Direct Entry

Entering mail directly into another country’s mail stream for delivery within that country. Also known as “ABB remailing.” (Also see “Remailing.”)

Direct Mail Agency

Commissionable agencies that use direct mail co-op packages to sell subscriptions to magazines from various publishing companies. Publishers Clearing House uses sweepstakes promotions and “stampsheets” (showing one title per “stamp”), from which the subscriber makes a selection; hence the nickname “stampsheet agent.”

Direct Request

Often shortened to “request.” The most desirable type of controlled circulation, from most advertisers’ point of view. Direct request circulation consists of qualified individuals who have verified, in writing or over the telephone or online, their qualification and desire to receive the publication.At Omeda this is referenced by codes of 20,21 and 23 in the “Source” field on the database. See also – Source.

Directory Source

A type of controlled circulation source in which qualified individuals’ names are pulled from directories and added to the circulation file. Publishers generally seek to minimize the percentage of directory circulation and to convert directory names to direct request. At Omeda this is referenced by a codes of 40 and 70 in the “Source” field.


Acronym for Data Management Platform. This platform is used to collect, organize and activate consumer data across a range of sources for first-, second- and third-party data.

Domestic Mail Manual (DMM)

The DMM is the comprehensive U.S. Postal Service guide to rules and regulations, including the sizes and formats allowable within various classes of mail.


The purchaser of a gift subscription. (Also see “Non-Subscribing Donor.”)

Double Postcard

A form of self-mailer derived from the U.S. Postal Service double postcard, which includes a postpaid tear-off reply card. The Domestic Mail Manual outlines the format specifications.

Doubling Date

The date by which a marketer anticipates that one-half of the orders/responses will have come in after mailing.


Also termed an “allotment.” In single-copy sales, the number of copies of each issue of a particular title that are distributed to specific wholesalers and retail outlets. Determined on the basis of a title’s sales history or typical sales of similar titles in a specific store or area.


Any subscription leaving the subscription list. Also used to mean “drop date,” the day a mailing is entered in the postal stream.


Having magazines trucked from the printing plant to a regional U.S. Postal Service facility in order to save money by qualifying for lower zoned rates. One form of “work-sharing” with the USPS in order to reduce distribution costs. Also used by direct distributors when delivering magazines to individual retail outlets.

DRTV (Direct Response Television)

Some consumer and paid business titles use television commercials as one subscription source. This is generally quite expensive, but may be costeffective under certain circumstances. May be desirable for raising a title’s awareness with potential readers and advertisers, as well as helping to attract new subscribers.

Dunning Letter

Letter accompanying an invoice that is late in being paid.


Acronym for email change-of-address. (Often used in database management operations for online business.)

E-Commerce (Electronic Commerce)

Refers to conducting business on the Internet, including selling and purchasing products online.


Sub-versions within a given magazine issue’s print run and distribution. For example, a magazine may have separate editions for subscriber versus newsstand copies, U.S. versus Canadian copies, or by region or certain types of audience demographics.

Edition Split

A document showing the number of copies of a magazine issue that comprise each edition.

Efficiency or Efficiency Level

See “Sell-Through.”


Any individual promotion to a subscriber or prospect. A new business, qualification, renewal or requalification, or billing series will comprise several efforts.


To put a subscriber name or subscription record on the file. This does not mean, “to start service. See also – Start.


Acronym for Email Service Provider. A company that offers an email marketing platform, email tools and bulk email services.


The unified banking currency that has become the national currency of European Union countries.


A payment option used widely in Europe. A Eurocheque can be written in most European currencies on a bank that is part of the system.


As a verb, what happens when a subscription reaches the end of the period paid for without renewing. As a noun, a subscription or group of subscriptions that run out on a certain date (“the January expires”). Expires may also refer to a list of expired subscribers. Because expires are prime prospects for new offers, expire lists (also called “hold lists”) are valuable commodities.

Expire Drop

A subscription or group of subscriptions removed from the active file when they have expired. Sometimes, expires receive one or more “grace copies” before being dropped.

Field Force

In single-copy sales, a group of representatives maintained by a national distributoror a large publisher. A marketing field force gets authorizations from retailers. A circulation field force over-sees the execution of planned distributions to retailers.

Finder Number

A unique number that identifies and becomes part of each name and address on a mailing list. When the order is received, the fulfillment operation uses the number to locate the name on the mailing list and input that record to the mainfile.

First Class

The U.S. Postal Service class of mail that provides the most timely delivery and is therefore the most expensive class, outside of express service. Occasionally, a direct mailer will choose to use first class for speed or impact purposes, instead of the usual Standard A service class. Invoices must be sent first class or attached to a magazine issue (see “Attached Renewal/Invoice”). The BRE and BRC are also first class return mail.

Forced Free Trial

A short-term, free subscription sent without request to targeted prospects with the goal of converting them to paid subscribers, most frequently used by newsletters. Because of their high production and mailing costs, magazines are more likely to use sampling than FFT’s.


Acronym for free-standing insert, meaning an insert that is polybagged with or tipped or blown into an issue.


Also called a “love gift.” An item given free of charge to a prospect as an incentive. Freemiums are not directly tied to a magazine or product purchase. In other words, they are true gifts, as opposed to premiums contingent upon an order or payment of an order.


The number of times per year that a magazine is published, usually expressed in terms of monthly, bi-monthly, semi-monthly, or weekly.


An all-inclusive term referring to the numerous tasks involved in creating, updating and maintaining an active subscriber list and producing the mailing labels and necessary statistics and reports for auditing and marketing purposes. Fulfillment is accomplished either through an outside supplier-a fulfillment bureau (also called a fulfillment “house” or “fulfillment service”)-or internally, with purchased or self-developed software packages, hardware and an in-house staff. Each in-house and outside system or bureau has its own capabilities and specialties. Omeda is a fulfillment company or a fulfillment bureau.

Full-Cover Display

The most desirable position within a mainline display at retail, in which the entire cover of the magazine is visible.

Future Starts

New subscriptions, entered with instructions to start service with some future issue. When that issue has been printed, the computer automatically starts these subscriptions. An example is a Christmas gift subscription intended to start with the January issue.

GIRO (Postal Giro)

A method of payment used widely in other countries. A giro account is set up at a bank or post office, and funds are electronically transferred from one account to another.


A term used in some foreign countries. Indicates that the addressee is no longer at that address.

Good-Faith Copies

See “Credit Copies.”

Grace Copies

Copies served to subscribers retained on an active subscription list after expiration. (Also called “Arrears.”)

Gross Response

Also called “response” or “return.” The total number of prospects who order a subscription from a given promotion effort or series, expressed as a percentage of total promotions sent. See also – Net Response.

Group Subscriptions

Subscriptions sold in quantity to companies or organizations. Governed by audit rules.

Hard Offer

A promotion that does not treat the first issue or first several issues as a no-obligation trial. The subscriber is not given the option of canceling the subscription when the first invoice arrives, and is expected to pay for the full subscription when billed. (Can also apply to credit card-only offers.)

House List

A list of buyers of one or more of a company’s titles/products.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

An acronym for code that tells a Web browser how to display an electronic page or message (for example, code that makes a word on an electronic page or message appear in bold face). HTML-coded pages or messages incorporate color, special font treatments and a variety of graphics that may be static or moving. The text or graphics within the page or message can be made “live” (“clickable”) to link directly to a URL (Web page address).

Installment Billing

Allowing a subscriber to pay in installments. Usually offered by magazines whose annual price tends to be perceived as high (weeklies, for instance) and frequently offered in direct mail agency subscription promotions. Payments are not spread over the life of the subscription, but are collected in full during the first three to four months. Not to be confused with paid during service.

International Mail Manual (IMM)

The comprehensive U.S. Postal Service guide to rules and regulations for international mailing, including requirements for specific countries.

International Business Reply Service (IBRS)

An international service available between reciprocating countries for postpaid business reply mail.

Invalid Email

An email address flagged as invalid by the Omeda system is one that has reached its threshold of bounces – either hard or soft. The bounce counter threshold is a custom setting on a database level. If the email does get delivered, the bounce counter is reset to zero and the invalid flag is removed.


A fulfillment report that is a computer print-out of all of a magazine’s subscriptions, usually tabulated by expire issue, price, term or source, without individual names and addresses. Used for source analysis and budgeting. Not to be confused with inventories of promotional materials, which should be referred to as “stock.”

Inventory Profile

A series of monthly inventories, summarized by source.

Invoice/Invoice SeriesA series invoices designed to get ‘Bill Me Orders’ to pay.


Acronym for introductory slotting allowance/introductory pocket offer. A one-time payment made to the retailer for display placement. Publishers have always paid these allowances. Retailers also ask wholesalers to pay such fees on some titles.

ISAL (International Surface Air Lift)

A bulk service for printed matter and small packets provided by the U.S. Postal Service. ISAL has a growing number of competitors.


All copies of a magazine of the date given on the cover. This is not necessarily the on-sale date.


The code that appears somewhere on each direct order form, which identifies the promotion that produced that order. “Key” denotes mini-source. (See “Source.”) At Omeda the “Promo-code” field on the database holds this information. Also called promo-code, key-code, tracking code or list-code.

Lift Note/Lift Letter

Refers to a folded promotional device (note or letter) found in a direct mail package that often helps lift response by providing more information or sell copy about the magazine. In a magazine promotion, this device may be called the “Publisher’s Letter,” as it is generally signed by the publisher.

List Broker

The intermediary between list renters and list owners/publishers.

List Hygiene

Everything that goes into ensuring that lists are clean and deliverable, including the correctness and non-duplication of names and addresses. Also called list maintenance.

List Manager

The in-house or outside professional or company responsible for marketing a list and/or maintaining, cleaning and enhancing that list.

Live Date

The date when an online promotion becomes active.


Acronym for marketing automation. Software that allows an orchestration of marketing efforts especially in regard to repetitive tasks that can be automated such as emails, social media, and other website actions.

Mail (OR Email OR Telephone Preference Service)

See “Suppression File.”

Main File or Master File

The master computer file of a magazine’s active and inactive subscriber list. This file contains name, address and other information. Controlled magazines’ main file contains extensive demographic data. Database systems (like Omeda’s) make it possible to maintain this data in an auditable and retrievable format. Also called CIR.DAT or Cir File.


A large magazine rack or “reading center” displayed within interior aisles of supermarkets and other retail outlets. It may be a wall fixture or a free-standing rack in the middle of a store aisle. For publishers, mainline is not as desirable as checkout display.


A multi-page direct mail piece that resembles a magazine and includes samples of typical issue content, as well as promotional copy and an order device.

Make Good

A publication that misses rate base over a period of time or prints a poor reproduction of an ad will generally offer to republish the ad at no extra cost to the advertiser, or reduce or cancel the fee for the affected advertising.


In single-copy sales, a specific request for an additional quantity of a title to be allotted to a wholesaler or retailer.


To combine two or more lists by computer, eliminating all but one of the duplicated names so that the prospective subscriber will not receive duplicate copies of the same promotion. At Omeda merge/purge is also the name of a department or team of people who perform this and other electronic data processing functions.


A circulation model is any mathematical simulation used to forecast overall financials and circulation levels or revenue. Although most modeling today is done with computers, some companies still work models manually, with spreadsheets. List modeling is the practice of using statistical tools, such as regression analysis, to identify particularly good or poor prospects for the purpose of enhancing response.

Multi Buyer List

A list of duplicate names found on several direct mail lists, which is a byproduct of a merge/purge. These are sometimes subdivided into “two hits,” “three hits” or more, depending on the number of matches. Because these are the most productive prospect names, it is frequently economical to re-mail to them one or more times after the main mailing. List brokers can arrange for this.

National Change of Address (NCOA)

An address correction service that the U.S. Postal Service provides to mailers through USPS licensees. The licensees match mailing lists submitted to them on tape or disk against change-of-address information for the entire country from all Computerized Forwarding System units. NCOA can correct an address before it is used on a piece of mail.

National Distributor

In single-copy sales, the organization that advances publishers money for an issue, bills and collects for copies going to wholesalers and retailers, performs other fiduciary functions, acts as the publisher’s liaison with wholesalers and retailers, prepares distribution and marketing plans, oversees planned distributions, acquires retail authorizations, and performs other marketing functions.


A list rental agreement in which, after merge/purge, the renter pays only for the names that are not already on the renter’s file.

Net Paid

With few exceptions, circulation defined as “net paid” by the audit bureaus consists of subscriptions bought and paid for by the recipient.

Net Response

The total number of subscription requests from a given promotion that are actually paid for or qualified, expressed as a percentage of total promotions sent. For Omeda clients the Net Response usually refers to those returned subscription requests that pass basic data quality tests (net checks). At Omeda these are records that successfully update to the main subscriber file, (cir.dat). See also – Gross Response.

New Business

New subscriptions (as opposed to renewal/requalification) also called new name.

Newsstand Sales

An alternate term for single-copy sales.


Direct mail pieces returned by the Postal Service as undeliverable.

Non-Subscribing Donor

A person who gives a subscription but does not order his or her own subscription at the same time (including a subscriber with a different expiration date than the gift recipient). To differentiate between donors who are or are not subscribers to the publication, regardless of order or expire date, the terms “Donor On List” (DOL) and “Donor Not On List” (NNL) are sometimes used.

Office for the Consumer Advocate (OCA)

A body within the PRC that represents the interests of the general public in proceedings such as U.S. Postal Service rates and reclassification cases.

Off-Sale Date

The date that the copies of a particular issue of a magazine are due to be pulled off of retail displays.

On/Off Report

A report prepared by the fulfillment operation, or by the circulation manager, from data supplied by fulfillment. Shows subscribers added to and deleted from the magazine’s active subscription file for each issue. The audit bureau refers to these as Additions and Removals. The total numbers are reported in each publisher’s statement by issue in the Paragraph 2 report on the statement. At Omeda these are also called “adds and kills” and are generated by a program called “E_AUDIT”.

On-Sale Date

The date that an issue of a given title is scheduled to be put up on display in retail outlets.

Open Rate

The open rate for an email message is the number of messages opened divided by the number of messages sent. Open rates are only counted for HTML messages. The images that are to be used within an HTML message are stored on a server. Within an HTML email message, there is an embedded image reference that is invisible to the recipient. When the message is opened, the image reference calls the Web server to load the images. A script is executed on the server that records the activity, and this is how tracking software counts the number of opened messages. Some software packages identify the recipient and will only count the recipient’s activity once; others will count every time the images are called from the server, even if the same recipient is opening the message more than once. There is no mechanism for counting the open rate for text messages because there are no images to recall.

Opt Out/In

Because of consumer privacy concerns and government regulations, responsible direct marketers give individuals the choice of having their names or email addresses removed or omitted from a list or database. This is particularly critical when a list is made available to other companies for outside solicitations. There are many variations of opt-outs and opt-ins. Essentially, an opt-out provides a box to be checked in order to be removed from or not placed on the list. The opt-in is a more stringent method, in which the customer or pro-spect must actually give affirmative notice that he/she wants to receive third-party messages or future promotions/communications from the publisher itself. Those promoting to or exchanging data with European countries must now abide by The European Union’s Directive on Data Protection and/or the EU/US “Safe Harbor” agreement in order to avoid legal and logistical complications.

Order Regulation

Computerized retailer-by-retailer draw/sale data, maintained by the wholesaler. Increasingly important as publishers strive to adjust draws to raise sell-throughs.

Outer or OE

The outer envelope of a direct mail piece.


A page or card enclosed with a magazine in a polybag and used for circulation promotion purposes. Similar to a cover wrap, but not attached to the magazine.(Also called an onsert.)

Outward Code/Inward

The two portions of the postcode used in certain countries (such as the U.K. and Canada). The first part of the code (outward) directs mail to the sorting area. The second part (inward) directs the mail at the local sortation level.


Consumer or business data (generally from compiled sources) that is added to or overlaid on a marketer’s customer or prospect list in order to improve targeting and cost-efficiency.

Ownership Statement

A statement that every publication with periodicals-class mailing privileges must print once per year. In addition to company ownership, the statement spells out how many copies of a magazine, on average, have been printed, sold through agents or by mail, or distributed free during the past 12 months, and those numbers for the issue nearest to the statement’s filing date. The statement is also the only public source of newsstand returns data.

Paid During Service (PDS)

A source in which the agency sells a subscription to a group of magazines to a consumer, who agrees to be billed monthly for the life of the subscription. Today, the sale is usually by phone and the billing by mail, instead of in person, as in the past.

Partnershp-Sold Subscriptions

Subscriptions sold with another product or service, in partnership with an outside marketer.

Pay-On Sale/Pay On Scan (POS)

See “Scan-Based Trading.”


A calculation to express the number of prospects who responded to a promotion and then paid for the magazine or product. Expressed as net versus gross, pay-up includes credit pays (customers who are billed and pay the bill) plus cash (those who pay by credit or bank card).

Periodicals Class

One of the U.S. Postal Service’s classes of mail, consisting of magazines, newspapers or other publications formed of printed sheets that are issued at least four times a year at regular, specified intervals from a “known office of publications.” Traditionally, magazines and newspapers have been afforded lower rates than promotional mail, on the grounds that periodicals advance the dissemination of information necessary in a democracy. Periodicals must demonstrate that their subscriber lists are at least 50 percent paid and/or request to qualify for the Periodicals rate.

Per-Pocket Fees

In single-copy sales, an extra fee paid to retailers on a per-pocket basis, for checkout display.

Personal Identifier

In controlled circulation, when marketing by telephone or electronically, readers are asked to answer a question about themselves that can later be used to confirm that a specific individual made the request to receive a subscription to a publication. (For instance, the telemarketer might ask for color of eyes.)

Pink Sheet

Slang for the AAM paid consumer publisher’s statement.


Publisher and wholesaler in-store marketing activity.


A plastic wrap around a maga-zine that allows enclosure of promotion materials and protects the magazine in the mail.

Point-Of-Purchase (POP)

Refers to promotional and/or display materials used to encourage single-copy sales.

Postal Rate Commission (PRC)

An independent federal agency, created by the Postal Reorganization Act, that makes recommendations concerning USPS re-quests for changes in postal rates and mail classifications. The five commissioners are nominated by the President and approved by the Senate.


Copies returned by the retailer to the wholesaler before the off-sale date.


Anything offered to the sub-scriber as an added incentive contingent upon ordering a magazine subscription (or renewing it) or buying a newsstand copy. Printed or online-delivered premiums that tie in closely to a magazine’s editorial mission are called editorial premiums; all others are called product premiums (or, flippantly, “greed premiums”). Premiums are usually withheld until a subscription is paid. BPA now refers to premiums as “free promotional incentives.” One or more free copies of the magazine are considered premiums, as opposed to , samples”, if they are offered as an extension of or part of a subscription.


The process by which a mailer prepares mail so that it is sorted to at least the finest extent required by the standards for the rate claimed. In order to qualify for various postal discounts, mailers or their suppliers presort mail to various levels, from the lowest (finest) level to the highest level, according to three- and five-digit zip codes, carrier route, walk sequences, entry points and other specified standards as defined by the U.S. Postal Service.

Professional Discount Package

See “Voucher Package.”


A way for advertisers to buy display inventory across multiple sides using real-time bidding (RTB).

Psychographic Data

Data that describes consumer lifestyles, attitudes, values and beliefs. For example, overlays are available for analyzing and targeting markets based on psychographics correlated with specific zip code areas. Demographics are now used for targeting single-copy sales distribution, as well as subscription promotions.

Public Place/Sponsored Subscriptions

AAM’s current term for multiple subscriptions sold to one customer, usually at a discount. Previously called “bulk” subscriptions.

Publisher’s Statement

The circulation statistics filed by a publisher twice per year with an audit bureau. These statements are audited annually.

Push/Launch/Blast Date

The date an email promotion is sent.

Qualification Form

Any form used to request and qualify a controlled circulation subscriber. The prospective subscriber is asked to sign a written request for the publication and give name, address, title or job function, the date on which the form was signed and, often, a host of demographic information about his or her company. Also called qual card, qual form, and sub card.

Qualified Subscriber/Recipient

Someone whose statements on the qualification form verify that he or she meets the targeted audience requirements of the publication and has therefore been put on the circulation list. The qualification data become part of the reader’s main database record. Controlled readers used to be referred to as “recipients,” but are now more commonly termed “subscribers.” At Omeda we use the term “Class 1 or Class 3” subscribers in reference to the subscription status code value found in the database field called “Class”. Class 1 is active qualified and Class 3 is inactive qualified record. See also Add.

Rate Base

Many publishers guarantee advertisers that they will maintain a certain average circulation level, or rate base, over a given six-month audit period (a few publishers guarantee rate base on each issue published). Advertisers use the rate base to determine their cost per thousand of circulation, or CPM, and will generally demand a makegood if average rate base is missed over a six-month period, or sometimes even on one issue.

Retail Display Allow-ance (RDA)

In single-copy sales, it is more or less standard for the retailer to be offered a percent discount or set dollar amount off the cover price of a magazine, in theory for guaranteeing adequate display of the magazine on the mainline or at the checkout. The RDA is paid to retailers on top of the traditional national retail discount off the cover price.


The person who receives a gift subscription (also called a “donee” or “giftee”). Also, readers of controlled publications are sometimes still referred to as “recipients,” although “subscribers” is now the preferred term.

Regional Edition

Editions of a national magazine that contain advertising and/or editorial targeted to readers within a limited geographic area.

Regression Analysis/Modeling

A statistical technique wherein two or more customer files are matched and/or mailed against each other to produce “look-alikes.” The objective can be either to weed out poor prospects or to identify good ones for promotion purposes. Many list owners now offer regression to make renting segments of large lists economically feasible for more mailers.


Depositing mail in the postal system of one country for delivery to its final destination. Remailing is generally done in order to obtain a more favorable rate and/or faster delivery to the final destination. There are three general types of remail: ABA, ABC, ABB. ABA Remail: A mailer in “Country A” ships mail to “Country B” for mailing back to addresses in “Country A.” ABC Remail: A mailer in “Country A” ships mail to “Country B” for mailing to addresses in “Country C.” ABB Remail: A mailer in “Country A” ships mail to “Country B” for mailing to addresses in “Country B.” (Also called “Direct Entry.”)

Remail Point (Hub/City)

The city where mail is taken to be remailed – usually because a more favorable rate can be ob-tained, but sometimes for other reasons, such as faster delivery to nearby destinations.


The portion of a sale remitted to a publisher after a subscription agent’s commission is deducted.

Renewal at Birth

Also called a collection extension or step-up. An upsell offer, often on the bill for a credit subscription, and usually at a lower price per copy than the original offer. For auditing purposes, not to be counted as separate subscriptions if the transaction takes place within 60 days of the date of original order.

Renewal Incentive

A premium that is offered in a billing effort as an extra incentive to pay for the renewal.

Renewal Rate

Number of renewals sold to a block of expires, divided by the number of expires available for renewal in that block. Expressed as a percentage.

Renewal Series

A scheduled series of marketing efforts (such as direct mail, telemarketing, email) made to a renew a group of subscribers. Usually starts well before expiration date and generally continues a few months past expiration date.

Requalification (Requal)

Refers to the renewal of controlled-publication subscribers.

Request Circulation

See also – Direct Request.


The circulation function of acquiring and keeping paid subscriptions through renewal marketing promotions and billing efforts.


In single-copy sales, magazines that are distributed but not sold. In many cases, unsold copies are returned to the wholesaler, who processes and records them, issues credit records, shreds the copies, and verifies, by affidavit, that the returns have been destroyed.

Return Affidavit

A document issued by the wholesaler and accepted by the publisher and national distributor in lieu of actual covers of unsold magazines. The affidavit certifies the number of returns and their destruction by the wholesaler.

Return or Response

See “Gross Response” and “Net Response.”


Acronym for Real-Time Bidding. Part of programmatic buys to dynamically price digital inventory.


Paid magazines sometimes attempt to recruit new subscribers by offering them one or more free trial issues. Samples differ from a forced free trial in that they are requested by the prospect and usually involve only one or a few free issues. Free copies added to or included in a subscription term are premiums, not samples.

Scan-Based Trading

Refers to the practice of basing retail sales figures for magazines solely on the number of sales recorded through checkout scanning, as opposed to the traditional system of returning unsold magazine covers. Also known as Pay-on-Scan or Pay-on-Sale (POS). (Also see “Returns.”)

Secondary Wholesaler

Traditionally, a wholesaler that services retail accounts outside of supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores and other major, mass-market outlets for magazines. Due to industry consolidation, these wholesalers now service all markets.

Selective Binding

The computerized, database-driven binding process that has expanded the economic feas- ibility of breaking out regional or interest-specific advertising and/or editorial editions of a given issue. Selectively bound, ink-jetted messages are sometimes used for subscription promotion and for editorial customization that serves circulation goals, as well as for advertising messages.


A piece of promotion mail that is not enclosed in an envelope and is designed so that a portion of it can be used for a reply. A double postcard is one type of self-mailer. (See the Domestic Mail Manual, “Reusable Mail Pieces.”)


Also called “efficiency” or “efficiency level.” The percentage of distributed newsstand copies that were actually sold. Average sell-through for the industry has fallen to about 36 percent, compared to 55 percent in the mid-’80s and nearly 49 percent in 1989.

Single-Copy Sales

Also called “newsstand sales.” Single copies of magazines sold at retail. Most single-copy sales are made in supermarkets and other mass retail outlets. Many publishers also distribute through specialty stores.


The difference between beginning and ending inventory that can’t be accounted for through sales and delivery records. Magazine issues that cannot be accounted for as sold or returned and destroyed are labeled “shrink.” The issue of how much if any of the costs associated with shrink should be absorbed by the publisher versus the retailer (who currently absorbs these costs) is a source of contention between the two parties. (See “Scan-Based Trading.”)


Acronym for Service Management Platform. This is on the supply side and is used by agencies to buy into DMPs (Data Management Platforms) for Programmatic buys.

Soft Offer

A subscription offer that states or implies that you may receive the first issue without obligation and may discontinue the subscription without payment by writing “cancel” on the first invoice and returning it.


At Omeda the term references a field on every magazine database that stores the audited information that indicates the way the subscriber name was obtained. The types of sources are broken down into 5 basic categories according to audit rules and regulations;

    Personal direct requests              20,21 and 23 (written, telecommunication and Internet)

    Request from Recipients Company       15,16 and 17 (same as above)

    Association or Society membership     41 and 42

    Communication other than request      10,11, and 12 (same as above)

    Other sources (directories etc.)      30,40, 50,60,70, and 91

These sources are reported in the Publisher’s Statement in paragraph 3b.

Source Evaluation

A mathematical study of new subscriptions sold through a given source, and their conversion and renewals over the years, to determine the true profit per net paid unit of circulation. This allows for comparing and assessing the relative volume and profitability of various sources. It is one of the main uses for models.

Sponsor Sales

Sales by agents, often by telephone, in which a charity or civic association gets a portion of the commission in return for use of its name. On the business side, a company may purchase bulk subs to give to clients.

Stampsheet Agencies

See “Direct Mail Agency.”

Standard Mail

The U.S. Postal Service’s Standard Mail category includes Standard A and Standard B. Standard A is the subclass generally used by large-volume direct mailers, although some magazine circulation promotions are sent by First Class. Standard B is the rates and classifications subcategory used for books and parcels.


To commence service on a subscription, or a subscription that starts. At Omeda this information is stored in the field called “First Iss Rcvd” for paid orders and “Activation Dte” on the main subscriber file (cir.dat).

Subscription Count

Since a subscriber may have more than one subscription, a subscription (or label) count will usually be larger than a subscriber count.

Suppression File

File made up of names of people who have indicated that they do not want to receive direct marketing offers, or people whom a marketer has identified as undesirable prospects for a direct marketing effort. The Direct Marketing Association offers three suppression services for con-sumers: the Mail Preference Service, the Telephone Preference Service, and the Email Preference Service. Also, most individual marketers now offer customers the option of having their names excluded from list rentals and email promotions. At Omeda this information is stored in the database in fields called “Promote” and/or “E-mail Promote”. Also called Robinson list, pander file, suppression file.(See “Opt Out” and “Opt In.”)

Surface Air Lift (SAL)

Mail transported by air to a distribution city, where it is deposited into the mail stream for final delivery via surface mail.


Selling subscriptions by telephone solicitation, either in out-going (“cold calling”) or incoming calls. In some cases, prospects respond by phone to a DRTV or other sub promotion, or are “up-sold” a magazine subscription when they call in for customer service or call a third party (such as a cataloger) to order merchandise.


DUES The fees postal administrations of various countries pay one another for handling international mail.

‘Till Forbid

See “Continuous Service.”


A single-sheet subscription renewal or new-business promotion glued or affixed to the front of a subscriber or sample copy. Less costly than a wrap. Used most heavily by controlled titles, but also increasingly common among paid titles.

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

An international congress that meets every five years to determine terminal dues and other matters affecting mail exchanged among various countries.

Universal Product Code (UPC)

The barcode on products that allows retailers to automatically record the sale of those products. Magazines are assigned a unique number (a “BIPAD,” after the Bureau of Independent Publishers and Distributors), which is the last five digits of the UPC. The number allows retail scanners to automatically input a magazine’s price and allows wholesaler equipment to identify the publication sold and pro- cess returns.

Voucher Package

An inexpensive direct mail format that touts a heavily discounted introductory subscription offer (ostensibly made because of a prospect’s professional or “special” status – hence the term “professional discount package”).

White Mail

Unsolicited subscription orders or letters.

Whole-Copy Clain Form (WCC)

Claim form submitted by a wholesaler in place of actual magazine headings or affidavit. This procedure is used when a wholesaler is instructed to return whole copies or when whole copies are to be used for promotion purposes.


The companies that physically distribute magazines to single-copy retail outlets, process returns and engage in marketing and in-store service. Wholesalers once served specific geographic territories. But due to retail chains’ insistence, one or two major wholesalers are now responsible for magazine distribution to an entire retail chain, however geographically far-flung.


Shipped single copies that never reach the racks. Wholesalers sometimes withhold copies, cut allotments and return the remainder because they believe they are being oversupplied with a given title, or because a retail outlet will accept only a portion of its allotment.


Drop-shipping, sorting and bundling magazines or mail to reduce the work required by the U.S. Postal Service and thereby qualify for lower postage rates.

For additional IT terms link to the following sites:


ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Computers can only understand numbers, so an ASCII code is the numerical representation of a character such as ‘a’ or ‘@’ or an action of some sort. ASCII was developed a long time ago and now the non-printing characters are rarely used for their original purpose. This is the most common format in which we send and receive data. Personal computers all use ASCII as do Unix mainframes.

Common Gateway Interface (CGI)

The cgi program running behind the scenes is what makes our web pages work and function dynamically. The CGI at Omeda is written in a programming language called Visual Basic, though there are many other languages that it can be written in. Our cgi has 3 main functions: log in/page display, validating the data (see also JavaScript), and writing the data to the web servers.

The CGI is smart enough to know whether a URL should display an add or renewal page, and whether or not a promo code field should be displayed. This is the logging in function. The CGI parses through the query string (see below) and determines whether or not the query string contains a valid rdrnum and/or a promo code. If a valid rdrnum is present, then the CGI displays renewal pages. If not, then add pages are displayed. If a promo code is present, then the resulting page does not prompt for a promo code to be entered. It is the CGI that determines how a URL should be logged in, and what resulting pages should be displayed.

After the add or renewal page is displayed, the next time the CGI program is executed is when the person hits “submit”. The CGI program for each book contains a list of required address block fields and questions. If one of these fields is blank or questions has not been answered, the CGI displays an error page indicating which fields or questions still need to be completed.

When the CGI determines that no errors exist, the program writes the data to the web servers in kpform format.

Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC)

This is a code that was developed by IBM, and was the most popular format until the late 70s. All IBM mainframes still however use EBCDIC, which is why Omeda still supports it.

Email Blast

The electronic equivalent of a direct mail effort, where a list of email addresses is sent an email directing the reader to a URL where they can subscribe or renew their subscription. Blasts are usually sent out in the evening or early morning hours when Internet traffic is the slowest.

Encrypt Reader Number

A reader number that has been encoded so as to foil the attempts of hackers. Since reader numbers are assigned sequentially, it is possible for a somewhat savvy reader to log in to a subscription page using another existing reader number. If this were to happen, the user could delete or change the other subscriber’s record. It is also possible for a hacker to gain access to the list names/address stored in the match file by writing a program that bombards our servers with URLS containing other reader numbers. An encrypted reader number makes this much more difficult.


The process of encoding sensitive data as it travels over the Internet.


A security barrier set up between a company’s internal systems and outside systems. Firewalls can be designed to keep hostile visitors out, as a way of protecting the company’s internal information. To access the Omeda system from outside the firewall via the Internet, a user needs a static IP address (one that does not change each time an internet connection is made). Holes are “punched” into the firewall for each of our clients’ IP addresses, allowing access only to known addresses. Unknown addresses are not granted access.


An element of an HTML document that allows a user to enter in information. There are 5 different ways of getting information from the user:

  • Radio buttons: a circle that has a dot in it when the option is checked. Only one radio button at a time can be checked for a series using radio buttons (i.e. a “check one only” question). Each option has a value assigned to it, and it is this value that is written to the web servers by the CGI upon submit.
  • Checkbox: a square box that has a check mark in it when the option is selected. You can select as many options as you want in a series that uses checkboxes (i.e. a “check all that apply” question). Again, each option is assigned a code value.
  • Select box: a rectangular box that contains all possible options for the question. The default value is usually “select one only”. The functionality is the same as radio buttons since only one option can be selected at a time, but it gives more flexibility with how many options are displayed at one time. Each option is assigned a code value.
  • Text box: a box that allows the user to enter in unstructured data, such as an open-ended coding description. The html programmer specifies the size of the text box and the number of allowable characters. A text box takes up only 1 line.
  • Text area box: a multiple line text box. This is used on the customer service websites, and allows the user to enter in information as if they were writing a letter.


Hypertext Markup Language HTML is the foundation for most web pages. It is not really a programming language, but a way to format text by placing a series of marks or “tags” around the text. For example, HTML allows you to make a word bold by placing an opening and closing tag around the word. It can also provide a way to collect data from a user, by showing the user a “form” (see above) that contains checkboxes, radio buttons, select boxes, and text fields.


Hypertext Transfer Protocol—A set of rules that lets computers agree how they communicate over the internet.


A link that connects you to other documents, other places within the same document, pictures or HTML pages. Think of a hyperlink as an invitation to visit another place. A simple click on the link will take you there.


“Private network that enables the use of Internet based applications in a secure and private environment. As on the public Internet, Intranets can host Web servers, ftp servers, and any other IP-based services. Omeda’s intranet is accessible only from computers that are inside our firewall. Account reps use it (or will use it) on an almost daily basis to everything from submitting a programming request to finding documentation on an existing program. Other departments use the intranet as well. The web team develops and tests web pages for our clients on the intranet, before posting them for external viewing.


A programming language mostly used in web pages, used to add features that make the page more interactive. Since JavaScript can be interpreted differently by different browsers (or not at all if the JavaScript setting is turned off or the browser is too old). Some Omeda-hosted web pages use JavaScript to prevent a person from checking “none of the above” and other categories in the same question.


Email deployment system and application.




Subscribers who have answered “yes” (opt-in) or “no” (opt-out) to an approximation of the question “do you wish to receive emails from 3rd party vendors?” People who answer “no” are also called “do not promotes”. Many clients are collecting opt-out data on other specific methods of contact, such as on for renewals or surveys. Others collect opt-out data on a publisher or sister-publication level. There are watchdog groups that have formed to prevent the abuse of email addresses, such as Mail Abuse Prevention Systems (MAPS). This company keeps a real-time “black hole” list of spammers or abusers. Internet Providers subscribe to this black hole list and filter out any email coming from the spammers, preventing it from reaching people who use that Internet provider. It is VERY important for Omeda clients to understand that people who have opted-out must be excluded from third party emailing lists. For more information on opt-outs, visit this website:


An established method of exchanging data over the Internet. A protocol has “must follow” regulations that govern the transmission and receipt of information across a data communications link. It can also refer to the languages that computers use to talk to each other. Protocols assure that different network products can work together. Any product using a given protocol should work with any other product using the same protocol. Examples of Internet protocols include: telnet, email, news and World Wide Web.

Query String

Anything occurring after the “?” in a URL. A typical query string in a renewal URL would contain an encrypted reader number and a promo code, separated by a plus sign. For example, in the URL:, the query string is 9908I7457689E2S+promo

Security Certificate

Web & app servers have SSL certificates. Used to create secure, encrypted connection between a web server and a client so that data is encrypted during transfer. Client—something that is not a server. 2 types: 128 bit cert—domestic and foreign connect 128bit40: 128 when domestic connects, 40 when a foreign. 1 certificate is need for each domain name, ie or


A computer (or application) that delivers or routes information to other computers on a network (mail servers and web servers for example). Omeda currently has 5 web servers operating. The html, cgi, match files, and submitted data are stored on these machines.


An Internet connection capable of carrying data at 1,544,000 bits-per-second. At maximum theoretical capacity, a T-1 line could move a megabyte in less than 10 seconds. T-1 is the fastest speed commonly used to connect network to the Internet. Omeda has 5 T-1 lines connecting us to the internet.

Terminal Emulation

Programming that is designed to provide communication with a specific computer system. It interprets the keystrokes that someone makes on their computer keyboard into a series of electronic signals that the computer can understand and process. Kea is the terminal emulator we use to communicate with the VMS cluster.


The act of requesting to be removed from a mailing list. One of the guidelines of sending out mass emails is that the email message must contain a method (either phone or email) for a person to unsubscribe from the mailing list. Mailers have the responsibility of immediately ceasing to mail to a person who has unsubscribed.

Postal Terms


Periodical postage statement USPS report for claiming Periodical postage rates. Form indicates total postage as well as the number of pieces claiming certain zones, number of pieces mailing, number of sacks/pallets, entry point, etc.


Standard Mail postage statement USPS report for claiming Standard postage rates. Form indicates total postage as well as the number of pieces claimed at each rate, number of pieces mailing, number of sacks/pallets, entry point, weight of each piece etc.


Address Change Service After setting up an ACS account with the USPS and placing an assigned code on mailpieces, the USPS will return change of address information electronically to the ACS member. For Periodicals the USPS requires change of address information be returned to the sender, and the use of ACS by the Periodical mailer is a way to reduce costs.

Ancillary Endorsement

A marking used by a mailer to request the new address of an addressee and to provide the USPS with instructions on how to handle mail that is undeliverable as addressed. Certain ancillary endorsements may be used to meet the Move Update requirement for First-Class presorted and automation mail.


Postage reductions are offered to mailers who barcode their mailpieces and meet addressing, readability, size, and other requirements for processing on USPS automated equipment.

Bag tags (sack tags, sack labels)

Bag tags are attached to each postal sack. The bag tag describes the following about the pieces in the sack: a) the USPS destination facility, b) the size and presort level of the mail pieces, c) the entry point of mailing. Pieces claiming automation rates require that bag tags holding such pieces contain barcodes.

Barcode / delivery point barcode

A series of vertical bars and spaces that represent any numerical series, most often a correct ZIP Code for the delivery address on a mail piece. The barcode facilitates automated processing by barcode readers and scanners. A delivery point barcode contains bars and spaces relating to the ZIP+4 Code, the last two digits of the primary street address number and a correction digit.


A bindery is a place where magazines/books are printed and bound together. Typically a print shop will bind and mail Periodical magazines.


Acronym for Bulk Mail Center. A highly mechanized mail processing plant that distributes Standard Mail and Package Services in piece and bulk form.


Acronym for Business Reply Mail. A service that allows a permit holder to receive First-Class Mail and Priority Mail back from customers and pay postage only for the returned pieces. These pieces must have a specific address and format. Postage and per piece charges are collected when the mail is delivered back to the permit holder.

Bundles / packages

Group of addressed pieces assembled and secured together to make up a basic unit of bulk mail for processing purposes.


Acronym for Centralized Automated Payment System. A postage payment system providing postal customers an electronic option in lieu of presenting checks and cash in person at each mailing post office.

Carrier route

Addresses to which a postal carrier delivers mail. Regarding a presort, carrier route is the finest level in sorting and therefore receives the best postage discounts.


Acronym for Coding Accuracy Support System (form #3553). A service that improves the accuracy of matching to delivery point codes, ZIP+4 codes, 5-digit ZIP Codes, and carrier route codes on mail pieces. CASS provides a common platform to measure the quality of address matching software and to diagnose and correct software problems.


Acronym for Centralized Postage Payment. Postage payment system that allows Periodical publishers entered at three or more post offices to pay postage at a single postal facility rather than through individual accounts maintained at each entry post office.


Acronym for Courtesy Reply Mail. Envelopes or postcards that a mailer provides to its customers to expedite delivery of their responses. The customer affixes the reply postage before mailing.

Drop ship / dynamic entry

The movement of a mailer’s product on private (non-postal) transportation from the point of production to a postal facility located closer to the destination of that product. Drop shipment is done to decrease postage costs. Dynamic entry is drop shipping to multiple entry points. Many mailing houses use mail.dat files to determine the most cost effective drop shipment plan.

Entry Point

The city, state and ZIP code of the post office receiving mail from a customer


A USPS-licensed automated system that updates addresses by identifying names and addresses for which current change-of-address orders are on file. Fastforward is one way to meet the Move Update requirement for automated and presorted First-Class mail.

Firm Packaging

For pieces claiming Periodicals postage rates, firm packages can be made to save postage costs. A firm package is a package of two or more mail pieces going to the same delivery

First-Class Mail

A Class of mail that includes all bills and statements, personal correspondence, and is sealed or closed against inspection. Any mail-able matter may be sent as First-Class.


A mail piece that exceeds the dimensions for letter-size mail (11-1/2 inches long, 6-1/8 inches high, ¼ inch thick) but that does not exceed the maximum dimension for the mail-processing category. Dimensions are different for automation rate flat-size mail eligibility.

Forward sequence (LOT) Forward LOT (Line of Travel) Sequence

the actual sequence of the route that the carrier follows when delivering mail.

Group1 Software

A company providing postal address standardization and presort software. Omeda uses Group1 Software.

Indicia / Postal Permit

Imprinted designation on mail that denotes postage payment

Issue Date

A magazine’s date of issue, usually found in print somewhere in the magazine.

Issue Number

At Omeda the issue number refers to the 6-digit issue number assigned by Omeda personal to each issue of a book.


Acronym for Locatable Address Conversion System. A service that provides mailers an automated method of obtaining new addresses when a 911 emergency system has been implemented. 911 address conversions normally involve changing rural-style addresses to city-style addresses.


A message directed to a specific person or an address that do not exceed any of the dimensions for letter-sized mail (11-1/2 inches ling, 6-1/8 inches high, ¼ inch thick).


Acronym for Line of Travel. A presort for Carrier Route rates in which mail pieces are arranged by ZIP+4 codes in the order in which the route is served by the carrier. The mail pieces are sequenced in delivery order.

Mail Date

The date mail is taken to or accepted by the post office.


An industry standard reporting utility developed to assist mail-related vendors in communicating mail production and processing information. Mail.dat consists of a series of electronic files that account for preparation and presentation variables within a given mailing. The files can also be used to rerun a presort, change entry points (entry point planning/dynamic entry), print postal reports and bag/pallet tags. As well, the postal service can use mail.dat files for mail acceptance in lieu of printed reports.

Move Update

As of 1997, the postal service requires that all addresses mailing as First-Class mail and/or letter-sized mail claiming presorted or automation postage discounts must have first used some sort of process to insure that addresses are current and correct. There are four ways to meet the Move Update requirement: NCOA, Fastforward, ancillary endorsements, and ACS.


Acronym for National Change of Address. An address correction service that matches mailing lists against change-of-address information for the entire country from all Computerized Forwarding System units. If a match is made, NCOA can correct the address before it is printed on a mailpiece.


Mailpieces that do not meet the requirements for automation (i.e. size, bar-coding, Move Update, quantity) may be mailed at non-automation postage rates.


Acronym for Optional Endorsement Line. A series of specific printed characters on the top line of the address block that identifies the sortation level of a package and may contain an ACS participant code. The OEL is used in place of package labels.

Pallet placards (pallet tags, pallet labels, pallet flags)

8-1/2 x 11 sized paper required to be placed on 2 or the 4 sides of a pallet. The pallet placard (also known as pallet flags, tags, or labels) denotes the following about the mail on the pallet: 1) presort level, 2) entry point, 3) destination point


Process of preparing mail on a pallet under specific standards for transportation. Palletizing does not gain any additional postage savings for mail, but it makes preparation and transportation easier and therefore may often gain savings for a client of a printing/mail house.


A reusable platform on which mail is stacked to be moved as a single unit.

Periodical Mail

Class of mail consisting of magazines, newspapers, or other publications that are issued at least four times a year at regular, specified intervals (frequency) from a known office of publication. Periodicals usually must have a legitimate list of subscribers and requesters. The USPS must approve mailing privileges at this rate>


Thin, plastic material that covers a mail piece.

Postal Rate Commission (PRC)

An independent federal agency, created by the Postal Reorganization Act, that makes recommendations concerning USPS requests for changes in postal rates and mail classifications. The five Commissioners are nominated by the President and approved by the Senate.


A printed card that if meeting size and thickness standards may mail at reduced postcard rates when mailing as First-Class.

Postal Presort

Process by which a mailer prepares mail so that it is sorted to the finest extent required by the standards of the rate claimed. In order to qualify for various postal discounts, mailers or their suppliers presort mail to various levels, from the lowest (finest) level to the highest level, according to three- and five-digit zip codes, carrier route, walk sequences, entry points and other specified standards as defined by the U.S. Postal Service.


Acronym for Qualified Business Reply Mail. An automated means of processing and calculating postage plus fees on business reply mail. QBRM pieces must meet certain design specifications and may be eligible for the lowest per piece fee available for BRM and for reduced automation First-Class Mail postage rates. An application to the USPS must be submitted and approved before a mailer may participate in QBRM.

Qualification Reports

A report required by the USPS for postal verification at time of mail acceptance. The report describes the presort for the mailing.

Reverse Presort

During a postal presort, typically the best level of presort is obtained before continuing down to the next highest level. When palletizing, it is often beneficial to forego putting as many pieces as possible into the best level of presort in order to avoid having undesirable sacks and low presort levels left at the end of the presort. Reverse presort takes the regular presort and looks through it to reallocate the levels. Usually the result is more pieces in mid-level presort groups, less sacks when palletizing, and less higher and low-level presort groups.

Reverse Sequence (LOT)

Forward LOT (Line of Travel) sequence is the actual sequence of the route that the carrier follows when delivering mail. Often a printer’s production method will flip the presort order. Therefore, reverse sequencing is done during the presort and address preparation so that it will end up in forward sequence after mail preparation as required by the USPS.

Ride-Along Rate

Material that would otherwise qualify as Standard Mail may “ride-along” with Periodicals mail for a flat per piece rate.


A container generally used to transport flat-size mail, parcels, and loose pack mail.

Scan marks

Blocks of print placed in the right margins of address labels to designate the end or beginning of a package, sack, or pallet. Scan marks are read by automated equipment during the mail preparation process.


Acronym for Sectional Center Facility. Postal facility that serves as the processing and distribution center (P&DC) for post offices in a designated geographic area as defined by the first three digits of the ZIP Codes of those offices. Some SCF’s serve more than one 3-digit ZIP Code range.

Selective Binding

The computerized, database-driven binding process that has greatly expanded the economic feasibility of breaking out regional or interest-specific (target marketing) advertising and/or editorial editions of a given issue. Selectively bound, ink-jetted messages are becoming a viable option for subscription promotion and for editorial customization that serves circulation goals, as well as for advertising messages.

Selective binding enables a mailer to produce each piece/version and compile each individual book during the same production run. Different versions of books can therefore be intermingled.

Split-ID (promo code)

At Omeda, the split-id appears in the keyline of the address block, which is the second line from the top. The default Omeda split-id is eight characters in the following format: ###iiSSS, where ### is the book’s Omeda database number, ii is the last two digits of the issue number, and SSS is the 3-digit BCT code. The default code can be overridden if a client wishes to put a special promo code on certain splits.

Standard Mail (formerly Standard-A, formerly Third Class)

Class of mail consisting of mail-able matter that is not required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or is not mailed as Periodicals. This class requires a permit, and is generally used by large-volume direct mailers and catalogers. The mail class formerly called “fourth class,” used for books and parcels, is now called “Standard B.”


Newspapers and other over-sized, thin flat mail pieces.

Tray tags (tray labels)

A paper label sized to fit in the outside holder of a postal tray. The tag describes the contents of the tray including point of entry presort level and destination.


Acronym for United States Postal Service.

ZIP+4 Code

Nine-digit numeric code composed of two parts: 1) the initial code: the first five digits that identify the sectional center facility and delivery area associated with the address, followed by a hyphen; and 2) the four-digit expanded code: the first two additional digits designate the sector (a geographic area) and the last two digits designate the segment (a building, floor, etc.)

Zone rates

Rate structure for Periodicals (except non-advertising portion) that is based on weight and distance traveled (or zones crossed) from the mailpiece point of entry to its destination.

Audit Terms

Additional Breakout

This refers to the additional analysis of data that is not included in the standard breakouts and is not classified as supplemental information. These are generally single response questions such as: how many employees are at you company? There is not additional cost to have this audited and included on the statement.

Audit Cycle

Refers to two cycles, June and Dec. that each publication selects to base its 1-year period of activity on and audit that data. If its on the June cycle the period covered would be July 1 through June 30th, for the Dec cycle it would be Jan 1, through Dec 31.

Back Copy Violation

Back copies are issues served to subscribers that are older than the current issue. A violation occurs when any copy of an issue is mailed on or after the date of any of the second subsequent issue is served. EX: A copy of the May issue mails on July 7 and the July issue mailed on July 6. If a request for this older issue was made then it is not counted as a violation.


This refers to isolating specific demographic information on the file and being able to produce a galley with every record that is included in the count.


Method of reporting unit data based on all unduplicated responses received from recipients at a unit. Used mainly for “check all” questions.

Comparability Market

This is a program designed to set reporting standards that are consistent for publications that have comparable industries. It allows competing publications information to be presented in a uniform manner to the advertisers. If the publisher is participating in a Comparability market the demos they report, are dictated by the market, as are their demo response options. Participation is not mandatory. Some markets don’t have comparability programs.


Method of reporting data at a unit based on most frequent response of a demographic value. Unit value is determined based on a tiebreaker if there is a tie for the consensus values


Definition of Recipient Qualification (DRQ) that is the Title/Function criteria set up by the publisher that recipients have to meet in order to be considered qualified on the file. This information will coordinate with the title/function question asked on the qualification card/script and also listed on the front of their circulation statements.

Field Served

This is the Business/Industry criteria set up that recipients have to meet in order to be considered qualified on the file. This information will coordinate with the business/industry question asked on the qualification card/script and also listed on the front of their circulation statements.


Method of reporting data based on a single respondent at a unit that provides data to all recipients at the unit based on criteria determined by the client and approved by BPA.

Late Mailing

If copies mailed for an issue are mailed on or after the stated mailing date of the next issue they are considered late. For the audit beau’s, if 15% of the total copies mailed were late then it needs to be disclosed in the circulation statement.


North American Industrial Classification System is a numerical coding system that represents manufacturing, but also includes more service, technology, and evolving industries. It determines what classification a company belongs to by determining the business process of that company and coding it accordingly. This is replacing the SIC classification system.

Personal Identifier

A personal question asked as proof of the request for the subscription. This is for efforts that do not allow for a signature such as telemarketing and Internet efforts. The answer to this question is in lieu of the signature and constitutes being counted as a request and is used to confirm the request during the audit. Some of the more common ones are: What city were you born in? What month or day were you born on?


Standard Industrial Classification is a numerical coding system of manufacturing and non-manufacturing establishments developed by the Statistical Policy Division of the Office of Management and Budget. It determines what classification a company belongs to by determining the end product manufactured and coding it accordingly. This is being replaced by NAICS coding system.

Stated Date of Mailing

This is the date that a publisher states as the date the magazine will mail each month. EX: Mails on the 5th of the month. This information can be found in the media kit/advertising rate card and in the SRDS. If a publication does not have a stated date of mailing then it is assumed as follows: Monthlies – assumes first of the month, Bi-monthlies – assumes last day of the second month of the previous issue (May/June issue assumes April 30 as the stated mail date), Weekly – cover date.

Supplemental Breakout

This refers to the analysis of data that generally is from multiple response questions that elicit data regarding respondents’ purchasing authority/value and/or multiple response categories. These breakouts are in addition to the standard breakouts that are required for the circulation statement. There are additional charges to have this data audited and reported on the statement.

Supplemental Mailing

This is used to describe when the file for an issue is not mailed or produced in its entirety at once, usually done on audit issues to enable the publisher more time to reach the reporting goals for the analyzed issue. For example: A publisher wants to increase the one year records on the file so they mail all the records that are already one year (1st mailing) and hold off the 2 & 3 year records. They do a telemarketing effort to get some of them to renew. They update the file with the renewals and then mail everyone who was not included in the first mailing.


An establishment engaged in 1 type of economic activity at a single physical location.

Advance Renewal

Generally, a renewal generated by a promotional effort that goes out well in advance of the rest of the renewal promotional series. Some advance or early renewals come in unsolicited.

Agency Cancels


See “Grace Copies.”

Basic Rate

A magazine’s standard, published subscription price, usually for one year.


As a verb, what happens when a subscription reaches the end of the period paid for without renewing. As a noun, a subscription or group of subscriptions that run out on a certain date (“the January expires”). Expires can also refer to a list of expired subscribers. Because expires are prime prospects for new offers, expire lists (also called “hold lists”) are valuable commodities.

Expire Drop

A subscription or group of subscriptions removed from the active file when they have expired. Usually, expires receive several “grace copies” (see definition) before being dropped. Also called expire suspends.

Future Starts

New subscriptions, entered with instructions to start service with some future issue. When that issue has been printed, the computer automatically starts these subscriptions. An example is a Christmas gift subscription intended to start with the January issue.

Grace Copies

Copies served to subscribers retained on an active subscription list after expiration. The number of grace copies a subscriber will be served is determined by the publisher within the audit guidelines.

Merchant Accounts

Third party credit card processors

Month End Reports

Month End GL, AR and Liability reporting.

Renewal At Birth

Also called a collection extension. An up sell offer, often on the bill for a credit subscription, and usually at a lower price per copy than the original offer. For auditing purposes, not to be counted as separate subscriptions if the transaction takes place within 60 days of the date of original order.

Renewal Rate

Number of renewals sold to a block of expires, divided by the number of expires available for renewal in that block. Expressed as a percentage.

Renewal Series

A scheduled series of direct mail efforts sent to a group of subscribers. Usually it starts well before expiration date and generally continues a few months past expiration date.



The channel of sale that produced a subscription, or the single-copy sales channel. On circulation reports, the source is shown either by key (see definition) or agency designation. “Source” includes both mini-source (individual keys) and maxi-source (keys grouped together in a planned way).

Transaction Types

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