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Friday, May 16, 2008


Any way you look at it, it’s junk. I’m talking about the tons of unwanted mail that overwhelms many Americans each year. The average household receives 800 pieces of junk mail annually, much of it not welcome to the people receiving it.

But, before reading further, check out the launching of the latest effort in the Do-Not-Mail war: This is a well-planned and calculating campaign to convince a lethargic Congress that some people are fed up with junk mail. I have been swapping comments with its founder, Rezzie Dannt, for over a week now on Center for Media and Democracy’s

The nucleus of the Junk Mail Revolt is to load up Washington with this unwanted advertising, and dump it on the desks of out of touch Congressional leaders. Like the movie, Miracle on 34th Street, where the post office piled up letters of kids addressed to Santa Claus on the judge’s desk to prove Edmund Gwenn, who was on trial as a fraud, was the real thing.

Here’s what the “Revolt” wants you to do: First, sign up on their Web site; second get a box and start collecting your junk mail; third, wait for instructions on what to do next and when. JMR also asks you to help enlist others in the fight, link to their Web site, sign a petition, and a host of other things that are easy to do but very effective if you want to join the revolt. You can see it all on their “Support” button.

Yesterday’s blog was an update on the Do-Not-Mail issue, which follows another one done on April 3, which was more environmentally focused. Two of the primary concerns in this issue are choice and waste damage to the environment. The Revolt is preference driven offering those who want to stop receiving junk mail the right to be heard, and providing an avenue to keep it out of the trash by limiting it only to those who want it.

JMR hopes to establish a Do-Not-Mail registry similar to the Federal Trade Commission’s Do-Not-Call. And I think that is a good idea. The question is whether the public is fed up enough with junk mail—compared to how they felt about junk telephone calls during dinner and shower time—to support this legislation. The Revolt says yes: in 2007 a “Zogby poll found that 89% of Americans would support a Do Not Mail registry that allows people to opt out of unwanted paper junk mail.” Unlike the ineffective Mail Preference Service of the Direct Marketing Assn., an FTC Do-Not-Mail list could be another huge success.

But there are obstacles. One in particular was covered in yesterday’s blog, where I noted that we have, “a Congress that pretty much does what the lobbyists tell them to do—and I can assure you from my 35 years in the junk mail industry there is a strong lobby—so we could probably expect a law that is pro-business, leaving the consumer at their proverbial spot at the end of the line.”

That’s all the more reason you should get behind the Junk Mail Revolt if you don’t want the stuff, and give them your full support.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's a revolt idea: Everyone get a Priority Mail box, put in it a ton of junk mail (if you can, also a speck of neutron star stuff) and 100 loose pennies and a terse note DEMANDING to be removed from every list, explaining that the $1 is enclosed in the form of loose pennies.

If they send you a letter saying they didn't find all the pennies, you send them another box of junk mail with a note saying "Now you know how I feel about losing mail amid the junk", and DEMAND again to be removed from the lists along with the exact number of pennies that was allegedly short. Make videos as you pack the box or boxes. And, if you have some, send them a second, heavier speck of neutron star stuff.