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Frequently asked questions

What is the MPS? The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is a data file of consumers who have registered their wish not to receive unsolicited advertising material by mail. The MPS is a non profit service managed by the Governance Division of the Direct Marketing Association.

How much does it cost to obtain the file? An Annual Licence is £1,200 + VAT. To receive a one-off file ONLY £300 + VAT. For a partial one-off download of up to 50% the full file ONLY £65 + VAT

I'm running a one off mailing campaign covering a relatively small number of addresses. How can I screen cost effectively? You can download a one off partial file, which is up to 50% of the total MPS file for just £60. This is a geographical download. You will need to enter the postcodes you wish to screen and the system will work out the percentage of the file. If it is less than 50%, you can purchase part of the MPS file associated with the postcodes you provided.

Why is this so much less than the TPS and FPS files? MPS is funded in a different way than TPS and FPS. Every mailer that has a Mailsort account with Royal Mail pays a levy on their invoice - the Mailing Standards Levy. This is collected by Royal Mail and passed to an independent body called the Advertising Standards Board of Finance. This levy goes toward funding the Mailing Preference Service.

How often is the file updated? If you take the data online the data is updated as frequently as the month before. If you take the data in any other form it is updated on a two monthly basis.

Do you provide any deduplicating software? No, we just provide the name and address information. See our technical information for details of the file layout.

Do I have to screen my customer lists against the MPS? No, there is no requirement to screen customer listings against the MPS.

What happens if I mail someone who is registered on the MPS? The consumer can complain to the MPS, who will then write to you for an explanation. If it appears that the complaint is a valid one it will be passed on to the Advertising Standards Authority.

FAQ For MPS Personal Changes

Due to the changes in the MPS file, we have listed some of the most frequently asked questions. Please read through these before you contact MPS.
MPS Original - The current MPS file held at household level. We will no longer be adding names to this file it will effectively be frozen as of September and re-issued annually.
MPS Personal - All new registrations will be added to this file, details are held at an individual level. It is to be used in conjunction with MPS Original and will be issued monthly.
MPS Household - This contains the same registrations as MPS Personal but at a household level, it will be updated monthly and is available to download from the web for one year. It is intended to be an interim measure to allow time for licencees to make the changes necessary to use MPS Personal. As of the 4th April this file is no longer available.

Do we need to enter into a new licence agreement? No, your current licence will not be affected by the changes to MPS.

Are there any additional costs to download both the MPS Personal and MPS Original file? No, although there will be 2 files (MPS Original & MPS Personal), there will be no additional costs and the MPS Original file will only need to be downloaded once a year.

Can you confirm that the MPS Original file is not going to be updated for the remainder of 2007 and therefore we do not need to download a copy after September 2007? This is correct. The MPS Original file will be frozen from the 31st August 2007 and will not be updated. At the annually file cleanse which currently takes place in February, this file will reduce slightly and should be taken by all Licensees at this time.

The MPS Original file will be updated annually. What month will the update be available? Currently it will be update in February but this could change. If it does we shall inform all licensees.

Do you anticipate, at any point, that the two files will be combined, or will they always be kept separate? We envisage both MPS files to be kept separate at all times. Again if this changes, we shall inform all Licensees.

Where can I obtain a sample of the new data file? This, along with other technical data is available from the MPS Licensee website

Are existing MPS subscribers being migrated from the MPS Original file to the MPS Personal file? From September 2007 there will be 2 MPS files. MPS Original which will contain all records pre Sept 07 and MPS Personal, which will contain all records post Sept 07. All new registrants who register from 1st of Sep 07 will go onto the MPS Personal file.

Do MPS Licensees need to suppress against both files or just one? Both. Use MPS Original to suppress all existing records at a household level and MPS Personal for the new registrations at individual level.

I do not have enough time to amend my systems to accept the changes to the new file layout? We have allowed time for all Licensees to change their systems to be able to take MPS Personal. For 1 year only the new MPS Personal file will be in 2 formats, Individual level (MPS Personal) and Household level (MPS Household). This means that the new registrations will be available in the original format.

Do MPS subscribers from Sept 07 have to re-register every 5 years? Yes, from now on MPS registrations will last for 5 years. After which time subscribers will be removed from the file and will have to re-register. This does NOT apply to people already registered on MPS Original.

Can we continue to take the MPS file in the method we do now? MPS Original and MPS Personal can still downloaded via the web, FTP, SFTP or received on by CD-ROM. MPS Household is available via web and FTP/SFTP only.

How would we now match client data supplied as Mr J Smith, and on the MPS file he is supplied as Mr John Smith? We potentially couldn't make a definite match in this case. If your clients provide data with Mr J Smith then you could continue to match at surname or at individual by just using the initial. This is entirely up to the Licensee. The MPS Personal file will have a revised layout as the existing 'Initial' field is expanded to a 'Forename' field, details can be found on the Licensee website.

Where can I get up to date information on these changes to the MPS and obtain Technical information? By visiting the MPS Licensee website