Direct Mailers Organize To Fight Anti-Junk Mail Forces

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By: Mark Fitzgerald

Worried that “Do Not Mail” laws may catch on nationally on the way “Do Not Call” did, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and other mailing and fulfillment businesses are fighting back with a lobbying group called Mail Moves America.

The organization, formed over the summer, solicited printers support at the Graph Expo commercial-side equipment show that concludes Wednesday in Chicago.

Aimed at what Graph Expo’s Official Show Daily called “Mail Haters,” Mail Moves America intends to head off at the pass the growing number of bill introduced in state legislatures to permit residents to opt out of getting junk mail — or, as the direct mail industry calls it, marketing or advertising — in their mailboxes.

DMA noted with alarm that in 2006 four “Do Not Mail” proposals had been filed in four states. So far this year, there have been 18 bills introduced in 15 states.

In a message to direct mailers earlier in the summer, DMA President and CEO John A. Greco Jr. said the association saw “stirrings at the state level of what we believe will be a long-term, concerted national effort to limit advertising mail.”

The “well-financed” opposition to unsolicited mail “is being driven by environmental, privacy, and consumer groups who often distort the facts in their efforts to eliminate advertising mail to consumers,” Greco added.

At Graph Expo, the main drivers of “Do Not Mail” campaigns were identified as the environmental group GreenDimes and The Center for the New American Dream, which says it wants to educate people to consume responsibility. Its Web site has declared September the month to “JUNK your junk mail” to help improve the climate.

DMA’s Greco, who said Mail Moves America includes more than 50 associations and businesses, said it had determined “that the best response to the growing threat posed by state ‘Do Not Mail’ legislation is one that is aggressive, coherent, and equipped with complete and convincing information about the consumer benefits of advertising mail.”

DMA estimates the average U.S. household gets 14 pieces of marketing mail every week.

If marketing mail, which DMA says provides more than half the revenue for the U.S. Postal Service, were to be curtailed or eliminated postal rates would soar and delivery may be shortened, Mail Moves America argues.

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