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Tech Industry

Customized stamps are back

Apparently, WeStampU didn't get the memo that letting people put their own pictures on postage stamps could lead to trouble.

Another company is trying its hand at offering customized postage stamps in the United States, but Internet pranksters could foil the plan again.

WeStampU, based in Germany, announced Tuesday that it plans to bring its customized postage stamp service to the United States. WeStampU is affiliated with Postcard-Mailing-Service, a company that has been selling customized postcards and postage in Germany since 2002.

This isn't the first time that a company has tried to offer Americans the option to put their own pictures on stamps. Last year, Los Angeles-based Stamps.com began a pilot program for customized stamps with the U.S. Postal Service. But after some Internet pranksters ordered stamps featuring images of controversial figures, including Ted Kaczynski, Jimmy Hoffa and Slobodan Milosevic, the program was stopped.

Like the old Stamps.com model, WeStampU allows people to upload their own digital images to be used as a stamp. The company puts the stamps on a postcard, which customers are also able to customize with their own digital images or ones offered by WeStampU. But unlike Stamps.com, which issued its stamps through the U.S. Postal Service, WeStampU's stamps are mailed through Switzerland.

The way it works is that the sender enters the address and a personal message online and pays the order by credit card. WeStampU prints the single postcard and mails it for the customer to any address in the world.

Doris Linke, a spokeswoman for WeStampU, said the company has rules about uploading inappropriate images. She added that for the three years that WeStampU has offered customizable stamps in Germany, no one has ever abused the service.

"Because we print and send the postcards, we see the images chosen for the stamps," she said. "If someone noticed something inappropriate, they'd feel free not to send it. And if a legal issue comes up, the sender is responsible for it."