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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


DM News is my favorite of the junk mail publications that report on the industry. They are honest and up front, and got their start several years ago by telling it like it is. That’s why I was surprised by a recent article by a list professional, Stacey Girt, who is a senior vice president of a leading list firm by the name of MKTG Services. The title of her piece, “Protecting consumers and our industry,” caught my attention, because I thought someone in this business was finally genuinely concerned over the lowly consumer. What changed my mind was her statement, “Those of us who provide lists share at least some of the responsibility for knowing what promotion will be communicated to those lists…” In my 35 years as a junk mail data broker, I assumed 100 percent of the responsibility of making sure the company purchasing my lists was completely legitimate in all respects. You might want to go to the MKTG Web site and check those lists where your interests could have you recorded as a customer, and then inquire of this List Manager just how they determine who buys these lists. After getting to the site, click on “View Datacards” on the right; a datacard is an explanation of the list in question. Sample mailing pieces are supposed to be scrutinized carefully, but in my experience the list owner was more concerned with the competitiveness of the offer, and it is entirely possible a fraudulent sample could be submitted for approval. This, of course, is not the fault of the list professional, and they do “decoy” the list to check for what is actually mailed. All things considered, most companies do a good job of pre-screening, but some can fall through the crack like the ChoicePoint sale to a foreign criminal ring.

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