For over 10-years, the USPS Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup INstrument, also known as MERLIN, has been used by acceptance clerks to test and verify mailings. When first rolled out, it created quite a stir within industry surrounding measuring mail quality at the point of mail acceptance.
Full-Service mailers have moved to Seamless Acceptance and enjoy the benefit of standardized acceptance and verification processes thereby eliminating the need to have mailings tested on MERLIN.
MERLIN is also used to ensure that addresses were updated within 95-days of the mailing date with customer filed COA (Change of Address) orders. The USPS announced that on January 21, 2018, the method for ensuring compliance with Move Update requirements will change from the MERLIN Method to a new Census Method. The new method checks compliance on all mail pieces (unlike MERLIN that verified samplings), and reduces the current 30% threshold to .5%.
This marks the end of the MERLIN era, and the start of greater efficiency in measuring postal compliant mail.