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Friday, December 08, 2006

More Junk Mail Catalogs Opt-Out Dilemma

Junk mail…the Convenient Way to Shop

Junk mail has long been hailed for being a convenient medium in which to shop, albeit a pain in the butt when the mailbox is deluged with unwanted mail. It has become even more accommodating by the use of toll-free numbers to place an order by telephone, and, in the last few years, the Internet.

Junk mailers spent millions on technology to perfect the easiest way to get your order—and money of course—and this continues to be a major outlay for most companies. Of course, in the process, they capture your name and private information—like your phone number and credit card info—which they rush at the speed of light to list peddlers who hawk this sensitive data all over the world.

Taking the Convenience Out of Junk Mail

So how is it that a majority of catalogs our household received recently—in the holiday avalanche, of course—are requiring their customers to either physically send in by mail the actual label on the catalog, or call or fax this information? Why don’t junk mailers just put some of this technology to work setting up an online system for instant opt-out? I’ll tell you why: the majority of their customers would use it, and they wouldn’t have the names available to sell, from which the list business grosses over $4 billion annually.

I did earlier blogs on two catalogs that don’t even offer an opt-out, period. They were Herrington and Brookstone, and maybe you want to read these posts before deciding to shop there. The ones that still make it difficult are: Harry & David; Signals; The Popcorn Factory; Improvements; Crutchfield; The Tog Shop; L.L. Bean; and Pier 1. If you order from any of these companies, you might want to ask their customer service department why they don’t offer online opt-out. That is, unless you’re just lonesome and really crave more junk mail.

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