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Frequently Asked Questions

What is OIV Mail? How is it different from ordinary email?

OIV Stamped email is a message in an envelope delivered in an email. Stamped Mail, like paper mail, requires a small payment for delivery. This makes indiscriminate mass mailing impractical - it stops spam.

Unlike paper mail the recipient receives the postage. You get fewer unsolicited emails and you are compensated for the time you spend looking at them.

As a sender, you can send to strangers without creating bad feelings. You get proof of opening when the recipient opens the mail. You pay nothing if the mail is not opened.

How much does it cost?

Stamped Mail costs whatever postage you choose to offer the recipient plus a small fee to OIV Mail. There are service charges when you use a credit card or Paypal to buy Stamp credit and when you withdraw credit (see FEES).

How can I distinguish between genuine and fraudulent Stamped email?

Spammers will always be able to create email that appears similar to genuine Stamped Mail, but they cannot create the cryptographic information contained in the stamp.

If you use OIV software to get your mail, genuine Stamped Mail is automatically recognized and labeled.

If you use web based email or an ordinary email program on your computer, the way you open Stamped Mail is to click a web link. Since this link could point to any web site (rather than the OIV Mail server), clicking the link in a fraudulent Stamped Mail would take you to a web page controlled by the creator of the fraudulent Stamped Mail. This is no different than the mislabeled web links in other fraudulent emails. However...

OIV Mail contains a fixed three letter code unique to you, on the envelope. There is no easy way an outsider can know this three letter recognition code.

When you use the web link method to open Stamped Mail, you should avoid opening mail in which this three letter recognition code is incorrect or missing.

Below is a screen shot of stamped email “subject field”:

In the above screen shot “vsl” is the client code of the recipient “”. This client code will be the same on all Stamped Mail sent to recipient “” regardless of the sender. The code is known only to OIV Mail System and is added to the envelope at the time it is generated by OIV Mail System. Senders do not know this code. Therefore, spammers and fraudsters can not trick you if you remember this code. Once you activate your OIV Mail account, you can change this code as often as desired and all genuine stamped emails will have the new code as part of the subject prefix.


How do I start using OIV Mail?

When you first learn about OIV Stamped Mail by noticing a Stamped Mail in your Inbox (Click here to see a screen shot of Stamped Mail), and when you proceed to view the mail and redeem the stamp, OIV Mail creates a new account using your email address as the ID.

At this point, the account is called “inactive”. You can continue to accrue credit in this account by opening mail, but it is useful to register the account.

In order for you to use all other features of OIV Mail system (send Stamped Mail, convert OIV Stamp credit into cash etc.), OIV Mail System must verify your ability to access to your email address. For this verification you must Register with OIV Mail system.

During registration process, you specify your name and choose a password. (This password is your OIV Mail password and not related to the password you may use for your mail server.) Note that you are not required to use your real name.

OIV Mail System will send you an email to the address that you are registering. This email contains a verification link which you click after receiving this email in your web or any other mail client. When you click the link the OIV System informs you that you have successfully activated your OIV Mail account.

You can also manually create an OIV Mail account for a particular email address before opening any Stamped Mail by visiting the Register page on OIV Mail website.


Which OIV Mail software should I use?

Choice of OIV Mail software depends on how you receive your email.

In all cases you can open mail by using the web link contained in the envelope. If you use a web based email account (such as Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail) or your computer does not use Windows, currently this is your only option.

If you currently receive email in your PC email client (such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, Eudora, etc.), then you can use one of the following OIV Mail software downloads:

OIV Mail Client Plug-ins:
OIV Mail Client Plug-ins add Stamped Mail features to your existing email program. We recommend that you use the OIV plug-in if one is available for your email client. OIV Mail is developing plug-ins for various popular mail clients that allow plug-ins. Click here to learn more about OIV Mail Client Plug-ins and to check the availability of plug-in for your mail client.

OIV Mailer application:
OIV Mailer is a stand alone email client designed to view, send and receive OIV Stamped Mail. It has all the basic features of email clients. If you setup OIV Mailer to receive your email, you can additionally completely eliminate spam, and get full control of all your mail folders. Click here to learn more about OIV Mailer. Choose OIV Mailer if you want to switch from your mail client and get all the benefits of OIV Mail paradigm.


How do I sign up?

Visit the Register page on OIV Mail website to register and create your OIV Mail account. During the registration process, you specify your email address, name and choose a password. (This password is your OIV Mail password and not related to the password you may use for your mail server.)

OIV Mail System will then send an email to the address that you are registering. This email contains a verification link which you click after receiving the email. When you click the link the OIV System informs you that you have successfully activated your OIV Mail account.

After registration, optionally download and install free OIV Mail software (Click here to find out which OIV software you should use?) to begin viewing and redeeming Stamped Mail and sending Permission Mail.

Please read the answer to (How do I start using OIV Mail?) above, also.


What types of Stamped Mail will I get?

The basic Stamped email first appears as a closed envelope showing the sender name, subject, the postage value, a three letter recognition code and the verification level. When you open it, you see the body of the email and receive the value of the postage.

If you do not use OIV software, the body of the email is displayed in the web browser. If you request it, the system sends a copy of the body to your email account. (In OIV email clients, the body is displayed immediately when you open the envelope.)

Similarly, when you compose and send Stamped Mail from the OIV website, your email account receives a copy. Normally such a copy would reside in the Sent folder, but because it comes from outside (from the OIV website) it comes to your Inbox.

If you send a Stamped email, the OIV system sends you an acknowledge email when the recipient opens the envelope and takes the postage. If you Transfer funds, the recipient receives a notification.

Finally, if you have OIV software, you can receive Permission Mail. This feature allows you to give senders permission for their emails to go into your Inbox when you choose the Clean Inbox option to exclude unstamped emails from your Inbox. This allows your known correspondent's access to your Clean Inbox without paying for postage. (Currently, Permission Mail and the Clean Inbox feature are available only in OIV Mailer.)

Click here to learn more about Stamped Mail and OIV stamps.


What are the various verification levels?

The identity of senders of Stamped Mail is verified by OIV Mail. OIV Mail assigns senders a verification level of High, Medium or Minimum (based on what information has been verified). Minimum level means that OIV Mail has verified the email address of the sender. Medium level means that OIV Mail also has verified that the sender has a valid financial account (credit card, bank account, Paypal account etc.). High verification level requires proving physical address and phone number.


Can I change my verification level?

You can change to Medium level by doing a one time purchase of Stamp credit of $10 or more using a credit card or Paypal.


How can I find verification level of sender?

The color of the stamp on the unopened envelope indicates the verification level of the sender: red for Minimum, Blue for Medium (financial record), and Green for High (complete).


What is the catch – get paid to open my mail?

No catch. Senders pay to prove they are serious. The OIV Mail company takes a small fraction of the price of each stamp to provide the necessary services (see FEES). Recipients win by getting paid for their time and avoiding spam. Cold call senders win by proving they are serious and keeping the good will of the recipients. Repeat senders win because spam filters that sometimes block their mail are no longer needed.


How do I send Stamped Mail?

Before you can send stamped mail, you must register to create an active OIV Mail account. You need stamp credit which you collect by receiving Stamped Mail or buy using a credit card or Paypal. You can send Stamped Mail from the OIV Mail website or use free OIV software. Users of web-based mail service (such as Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) can send Stamped Mail only from the OIV website.

When you send Stamped Mail from the OIV Mail website, a copy is sent to your email address. Click here to learn more about sending Stamped Mail.


Is OIV Mail an anti-spam product?

Yes, in several ways.

Most dramatically, if you use OIV software, you can choose to receive mail only from known friends and strangers willing to spend a few pennies. Spammers send such volumes of mail that they cannot afford this, but for individuals, it is insignificant. This requires setting the Clean Inbox option which currently is available only in the OIV Mailer download.

All stamped mail shows you whether the sender's name and financial information have been verified. You can choose not to open unverified mail, or even set your email program to filter it.

If you use any web based email account (such as Yahoo mail, Hotmail, or Gmail) OIV Mail is easily distinguishable form ordinary email in your Inbox (click here to see the how a stamped mail looks in Inbox).

Furthermore, the origin of the stamped mail has been verified by OIV Mail and contents of the stamped mail are not visible until the mail is opened.

It is virtually impossible for spammers to imitate stamped mail. Therefore, you can easily ignore spam and open stamped mail only.


Why do I want to send stamp-mail while I can send it free?

Stamped Mail proves to the recipient that you care about the mail you are sending. Even a five word email costs more in someone's time than the stamp...
unless they are sending out many copies.

Secondly, if you are not sure the recipient wants the message, you earn goodwill by paying for the effort of looking at it.

If the recipient knows you, use Permission Mail which is free.


Is Permission Mail same as white-list?

No. It has a similar purpose, but it is managed by OIV Mail. Permission Mail does not require the recipient to keep the list so it works from any computer. Permission Mail uses a cryptographic code tied to both sender and recipient, and so cannot be forged. In addition, the sender is informed in advance whether the mail will be accepted.

Permission Mail free and is sent using OIV Mail software which is also free. Currently only OIV Mailer separates Permission Mail from ordinary mail.


How about mail from family, friends, associates and a long-lost friend?

Within OIV Mail paradigm you can continue to receive mail from family friends and associates without requiring these senders to send you Stamped Mail. How you can accomplish this depends on which email client you are using to receive your email. Solutions of various mail clients are:

OIV Mailer or Mail clients with OIV Plug-in:

Set the Clean Inbox option. (Clean Inbox currently is implemented only in OIV Mailer.) Grant permission to all from whom you want receive email and request them to send you Permission Stamp Mail. You may configure your software to use One Time Permission Mail. In this case it sends a reply to mail that is diverted from your Inbox by which senders without OIV software can reach your Inbox using a two step process. (One Time Permission Mail is not yet implemented.)

Desktop Mail clients without OIV Plug-in and Web Mail clients:

In this case you can not realize the anti spam benefits of OIV Mail. All mail goes to your Inbox as normal.


What can I do with my stamp credit?

You accumulate stamp credit by opening Stamped mail. You use stamp credit by sending Stamped mail. You can also buy stamp credit if you send more than you receive.

If receive more credit that you send, you can redeem it as cash by transferring to a bank account (ACH), transferring to a Paypal account, requesting a check, or transfer it to another OIV user.

The fee for transferring to another OIV account is very low. (See FEES).


What makes OIV different?

OIV Mail is a new email paradigm. Postal mail reduces spam because of the price of a stamp. In OIV Mail, you get less spam AND you receive the value of the stamp.

Please click here to read more about what OIV Mail is and how it is different from ordinary email.


What about spam?

If you receive email in PC desktop mail client (Outlook, Outlook Express etc.) with OIV client Plug-in or OIV Mailer spam will be history. Sorry, we cannot eliminate spam for those of you who receive email on the web but you can still look for Stamped Mail to know what isn't spam. We are working hard to convince providers of web mail services (Yahoo, Hot Mail, Gmail etc,) to incorporate OIV software into their websites and totally eliminate spam.


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