Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 9:11AM
The following quote was authored by Colleen Connell, President of Gaelsong, a multi-channel (catalog and web) merchant. She tells the story of Catalog Choice from the merchant's perspective so I thought it would be great to let all of our readers see it. I found this comment when visiting the TerraPass blog. TerraPass, a carbon offset company, authored two blog posts on the topic of junk mail. The comment string on this orginial blog post was so active, that Adam Stein published a second post with both Colleen's and my comments. I followed up with Colleen to get her permission to republish her comment here. There is only one clarification that is necessary. She indicates that only participating merchants in Catalog Choice get your opt-out request. In fact we deliver the requests to many merchants who are not participating via email, password protected CD and they can download their file from a secure server. We are developing new tools to improve the success of fulfilling requests from non-participating merchants. More on this later.
In Colleen's words:
In Colleen's words:
I own a mail-order catalog company and have direct experience with both the DMA and Catalog Choice (as well as experience talking to people who want to be removed from our mailing list). If you just get a few catalogs that you don't want, the most effective method is to contact those catalogs directly. But if you are being bombarded with loads of different unwanted catalogs, the best approach is to use both catalogchoice.org and dmachoice.org.
I recommend catalogchoice.org over the DMA’s service, but if you want to be sure to have your opt-out request honored, you should use both sites.
Also, whenever you place an order with a mail-order catalog company or subscribe to a magazine, you should request that they not rent or share your name with any other company.
Catalogchoice.org allows you to choose which catalogs you don't want to receive at all; it also allows you to choose the frequency of catalogs that you do like but that you may be receiving too frequently.
Originally the DMA and many members of the catalog industry opposed Catalog Choice, but I am among a growing number of merchants who think that they are performing an extremely important role for consumers, the environment, and even for the catalog industry itself. Due to the DMA's opposition, Catalog Choice got off to a slow and controversial start, but more and more merchants are cooperating with them every day.
The DMA is finally starting (very reluctantly) to see the light and they have modified their opt-out site to be more like Catalog Choice. The problem is that only the merchants who are members of the DMA can access the list of people who have opted out of receiving their catalogs. So if you opt out on the DMA site but the cataloger is not a DMA member, they will not know that you requested to be off their list. Likewise, if you opt out on Catalog Choice's site, only merchants who are cooperating with Catalog Choice get that data. (See above for clarification on this point). As more and more people use catalogchoice.org, more merchants will use their service and it will become more effective.
Also, please be aware that it really does take up to three months to get someone off a mailing list, so you need to be patient. The list for any given mailing is prepared weeks if not months in advance. If you are still getting unwanted catalogs after three months, I would recommend contacting the catalog directly and requesting again and tell them to use the Catalog Choice and DMA Choice services!