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Monthly Archive for December, 2007

How Effective is the DMA’s Mail Suppression List for Reducing Unwanted Junk Mail?


Since yesterday I have been to the newly launched DMA’s MPS opt out website and note that you can now opt out of individual direct mail companies. Funnily enough you can also Opt In to them on the same page! Is this a ploy to collect yet more names for marketing purposes? Hmmm, another day.

As I myself have used the MPS to stop unwanted catalogs and direct mail in the past along with I was curious to see if any of our top stopped catalogs are members of the DMA. When I asked the DMA in the past to put me on their mail suppression list I had no idea which direct mail companies I would be stopping.

The following is a list of the top 20 stopped catalogs from our members last week:
1. Herrington
2. Brookstone *
3. Frontgate
4. Harry & David *
5. Wine Country Gift Baskets
6. Bits and Pieces
7. Hammacher Schlemmer
8. RedEnvelope *
9. Eddie Bauer *

10. Garnet Hill
11. Calyx Flowers
12. PajamaGram
13. Plow & Hearth
14. The Danbury Mint
15. Williams-Sonoma *
16. FAO Schwarz
17. Lands End
18. Pottery Barn Kids
19. Godiva *
20. The Sharper Image *

From these top 20 stopped catalogs there were only 7 (or 35%) on the DMA member list. So if you want to stop any of the other catalogs on the list you have to call or contact them yourself and ask to be removed from their mailing lists which is what the DMA advises. Also just remember by being members of the DMA these companies use the other services the DMA offer such as how to best market to consumers!

As a note, LL Bean was on the list but hey, I actually like to get that one! Also, notably some of the big department stores like Macy’s , Bloomingdale’s, Target were on the list but I couldn’t find AOL, Qwest, Dell, Apple, Bank of America or Comcast.


Is the DMA Really Committed to Consumer Privacy or Direct Marketing?


The DMA is having a “Catalog Summit” meeting in New York today to unveil something to it’s members. I have heard that it may be another service to help consumers opt-out of mailing lists by catalog, a service much like greendimes, and Currently the DMA offer a blanket service where by consumers can opt out from all the DMA members, approximately 3600.

The DMA currently collects consumers opt out information, then once a month sends a suppression list in the form of a file to each of it’s members. The agreement is based upon the compliance that their members will suppress these names from their marketing lists. Their ethics committee oversees these rules.

But what about those companies such as who also send opt out requests to direct mail companies, including DMA members? Since the DMA does not divulge who their members are(they keep that private) it is hard for a service such as to know which companies we may be sending duplicate opt-out requests to.

Currently we send opt outs 1 by 1 but we have been asked by some companies to send a file containing all of our members who wish to opt out. Will the DMA allow it’s members to receive names collected from 3rd parties such as ourselves in the form of a file like they do? I mention this because I have heard that the DMA is trying to convince their members to refuse just these kinds of opt out files from 3rd parties. Just say NO is the message! But surely you ask isn’t that the choice of the catalogers and not the DMA to dictate to their members?

If the DMA were really committed to helping consumers reduce their unwanted direct mail and protect their privacy they would encourage other services such as,, and to work with their members.

Problem is the DMA’s main business is committed to helping members better target consumers for direct mail. How can the DMA be committed to both consumer privacy and direct marketing? Now isn’t that an odd dilemma!


Global ReLeaf2 Campaign from American Forests


American Forests Organization recently announced a bigger effort to rebuild our forests. There are 2 new funds you can donate to Wildfire Releaf for the forest fires in California, and Global Releaf2.

“We are launching Global ReLeaf2 because the current problem requires a doubling of our efforts to reduce rising global temperatures. Our goal is to plant 100 million trees by the year 2020, a goal that can only be attained through the support of communities, businesses, our partner organizations and individuals. By helping us restore the life-giving ecosystem services produced by forests, you can help prevent the loss of more trees.” says American Forests. currently donates $1 of every subscription to the Global ReLeaf Projects, check out what is going on in your state to help regenerate our forests.

In our own state, Colorado, we had a huge fire in 2002, the largest in Colorado history, the Hayman Fire. The fire destroyed many habitats including about 20-40 winter nesting spots for bald Eagles. So far with the help of local organizations the Global ReLeaf fund has donated over 26,000 trees for the restoration project alone. This project is a 10 year plan to regenerate the burn area.

Here are some other American Forest Campaigns.


DMA Opt-out of Individual Company’s Mailing List


I thought I would share this with you from the DMA’s Mail Preference website. There is a complaint form that you can fill out for any individual direct mail company who is persistently sending you direct mail and will not remove your name from their mailing lists after repeated tries. Of course you can also call the direct mail company your self or use to send a 2nd name removal request.

The DMA wants to help if you have been unsuccessful in removing your name and address from a specific company’s or non-profit’s mailing list. They try to be helpful in all complaint situations, whether the company is a member of our association or not. All you have to do is fill out the complaint form and mail it to the Direct Marketing association in Washington, DC. They will do the rest for you.


What is Unwanted Postal Junk Mail?


You know I do love some of the catalogs that come to our home, REI, Edmund Scientific’s, Lego, Sierra Trading Post, Lands End Kids and others. We do not get many besides these and if I want others I just get online and order directly from their website. No need for wasting resources. We have been selectively opting out of postal junk mail in our house since 1999 and now only receive 1-2 catalogs a week. That’s not a misprint, infact it might be a bit of an exaggeration! When I get them I am pleased to see them and spend a good few hours going through them to see what is new. I actually really enjoy my current catalog choice!

The other pieces of my mail consist of a few direct mail offers. If I go through what I have received this past week, I have a an offer for Vonage, an old Navy Holiday Gift, a local clothing store Elena Ciccone advertisement, United Mileage plus credit card offer, Wells Fargo newsletter and the Colorado Talking Library annual fund raiser. All of these we either have relationships with or use in our daily lives, except Vonage which I need to deal with….hmmm a piece of junk mail!

So what is unwanted Junk Mail? Every consumer has different ideas of junk mail in varying degrees. Some of our members do not want any direct mail, some want to define their preferences by being selective, some only want to get rid of credit card offers or sweepstakes.

If a consumer wants to stop their unwanted postal junk mail it includes catalogs but this is a small part of the big picture. There are many other types (or categories) of direct mail including, magazines, airlines, fund raisers, publishers, computer resellers, cable companies, non-profits, colleges, banks, credit bureaus, churches, insurance companies, newspapers, newsletters, financial institutions, clubs, department stores and many more.

We all have bank accounts, credit cards and cell phones, we all have email accounts, we subscribe to magazines and newspapers, we move house, we buy property, members of book clubs, we shop online, we went to college. Think of all the places and times you give out your personal information, it is endless.

We freely give out our information to catalogers and they in turn very nicely sell, rent or share that data without our knowledge. Hence the viral spread of your personal data becomes common knowledge and property of many different direct marketers.

We also give out our names and addresses to other major institutions that we trust because we have very necessary relationships with them. Most all of these companies have privacy policies, some state that they will not share or sell but in most cases the onus is on you , the consumer, to opt-out, not opt-in. You are opted in until you opt out. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

At we have been helping our members opt out of direct mail since 2001 and we have a list of over 9,000 direct mail companies by title and growing.

Here are comments from CurrentBUzz , The Full Mommy and Hatchlings about unwanted junk mail which prompted me to write this.