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Friday, March 21, 2008

Whatcha Gonna Do With All That Junk?

Postal service and direct mailers join together in a pro-junk-mail campaign

A number of state legislators are introducing bills that would allow residents to block junk mail, and the group ForestEthics recently launched a campaign calling for a Do Not Mail Registry. This sounds appealing to most everyone with a mailbox, but is loudly opposed by direct mailers and the U.S. Postal Service.

The Direct Marketing Association has kicked off a new "Mail Moves America" campaign, which argues that junk mail is crucial for keeping postal carriers, copywriters, and printers employed.

Some nonprofit groups -- including environmental groups -- are also unenthusiastic about a national do-not-mail registry, since they themselves market by mail. As an alternative, big green groups including the National Wildlife Federation and Natural Resources Defense Council have created Catalog Choice, which asks retailers to voluntarily stop sending catalogs to residents who opt out. But it's unclear how much of an effect the program is having, as the Direct Marketing Association has advised its members to ignore it and keep on sending out those catalogs.

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