Postcode Data to be free?

What planet are the post office on? While I have upmost respect for the local postie the management has for me proved that they don’t understand business at all. Why this rant? Well today it not to do with the cost of postage but with what they charge for using the postcode address file.

Most of us are used to typing postcode’s into web pages and seeing our address come back? Useful right? Nice feature that saves you typing and for the company hosting the web page improves accuracy and mis-deliveries.

Well when we want to set this up we don’t have to install anything on the web server, we simply subscribe to one of several companies licensed to provide this data over the web by the post office. When using it from a web page I can ‘pay per go’ and it typically costs £44 for 2500 lookups with a year to use them before they expire. Even if I only use 2000 of those its still only 2p per query – well worth the money.

If I want to use it from any other software however I have to buy a different licence. This I have to pay for per user regardless of how many queries they will be doing. At £150+ per user per year I have the hassle of not just installing the software but also the updates. With for instance, a room full of order processors, I maybe need six or ten copies to cover everyone that starts to get serious money per year.

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The stupid thing is I could just as easily (and preferably) use the web based web service that the web sites use. Paying per use even at a higher rate would be more than acceptable but paying a subscription regardless of how little I use it, is a step to far for most companies.

So I had real interest in a BBC article that was pointed out to me the other day that says the data will be free of charge from April this year. I would imagine the Post Office isn’t happy but frankly they deserve it. If they had a sensible charging structure not only would every company subscribe rather than the one in hundred as currently, but I’m also sure it would have gone on far longer.

See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8402327.stm for the details such as they are. All I can say is, come on UK Government, give us the details of how we use this new free service as soon as you can

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