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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Personalized postage experiment to resume

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – After an initial test marred by computer pranksters, Stamps.com Inc. and the U.S. Postal Service are again offering people a chance to put their personal photos on postage stamps.

A new one-year test period will begin on May 17, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company said Tuesday. Stamps have also been redesigned to provide more room for images, with a sheet of 20 first-class stamps selling for $16.99.

The initial 7 1/2 -week test last year sparked orders for more than 2.7 million stamps and generated $2.3 million in revenue for the firm. Consumers could imprint stamps with wedding and vacation photos or pictures of pets and children.

Despite efforts by the company to filter obscene or otherwise inappropriate images, pranksters were able to order stamps using the images of such notorious people as Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and ousted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Of the 83,000 images submitted during the initial test, nine inappropriate images were made into stamps, Stamps.com Chief Executive Ken McBride said.

In the upcoming trial, Stamps.com will use more rigorous screening procedures, including a “watch list” of persons not allowed on the stamps, have been established.

Shares of Stamps.com rose 18.5 percent, or $3.08, to close at $19.74 Tuesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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