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I have long maintained that an extension of the postal service should provide a one-stop-shop for your addresses.

I have moved nearly every year since I left for college and I hate having to reset every address on every service I have. I'm sick of it.

Right the USPS should provide a layer of indirection. Give everyone a virtual mailing address, and then they could automatically route your mail to wherever you actually happen to live at the moment.

I didn't know it until now, but this is the disruption I've been waiting for.

Not the USPS, but companies like this one: https://www.earthclassmail.com/

do pretty much what you're looking for.

The USPS have a hard enough time maintaining a conventional address database.

My understanding is that addresses in the US are usually derived from the municipal authority and by the time those trickle out to the various consumers (counties, states, feds, USPS, Census, and commercial consumers) it's a mess. There are many initiatives underway to clean this up (usually in the context of E-911 and putting a single point on every discrete unit in a building) but it's a massive task.

Every City has it's own standard (often the whim of whoever has the authority) and there are situations that will make you tear your hair out - the official address being 1000 Some Road but it's a multi family place so the building address is 1020 Some Road, or confusion over whether its 1000 W Some Road or 1000 Some Road W. My personal favourite was the guy who convinced USPS that his address was 1 Unicorn Road (changed for privacy) rather than XXXX Long Avenue. The City ended up making an exception for him. Then there are address like 10 1/2 12 1/2 Avenue.

And don't even get me started on how USPS often use a different City (my understanding is that this dates back to when the US was surveyed and the postal system was established. If your City didn't exist at this time then there is a good chance your USPS address is really the nearest large city).

Geocoding solves the issue if you don't care about spatial accuracy but even that has issues.

The reason cities vary randomly in mailing addresses is that the third line of your mailing address:

is not the name of any city at all, it's the name of the post office from which your mail is delivered. The post office will shuffle addresses between ZIP codes based on what makes for an efficient delivery route -- it has nothing to do with municipalities.

The mismatch is especially common in areas which used to have dozens of post offices which have now been either shut down or downgraded to PO box-only offices, and all home delivery has been consolidated to a single post office for cost efficiency.

Correct. I've heard that it varies depending upon your location. For example St Paul, MN was massive when it was set up so most of the eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities have St Paul MN, 5XXXX rather than the actual city.

Municipalities assign the rest of the address (street name, house number etc) and are responsible for that mess.

In Sweden our population registry is used for that purpose - for stuff like banks, utilities and even some online shopping you sign up with your personal ID number, and then they pull the address from the government population registry, and then sync changes periodically. Change your address with the registry and it updates nearly everywhere.

http://www.iammoving.com/ :)

This is for the UK. Dunno about elsewhere. Dunno about competitors in the UK.

I remember having this idea in the late 90s (while in London, moving around frequently) and did a net search and found that there was a provider of such a service even back then. Do not know if it the same crowd since way back then.

Nice find! I'd love to see something like this in the US. You can get the usps to forward your mail for a year but the thing that would really win me over would be to update my address on the usps, go buy a thing on, say, Amazon, and see at the checkout page that my delivery address AND billing address have been automatically updated.

Of course all of this automated centralization will result in security holes, so that'll suck, especially if the federal government's fallback is the woefully insecure social security number.

This is for the US. In fact it is the US Postal Service version of the service.


That's what PO boxes are for. Some friends I know even managed to get the PO box on their driver's license (using suit 1234 instead of PO BOX 1234).

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