Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

What we like about catalogs

The formula is straight-forward:

  • an unwanted catalog is a waste of marketing resources and natural resources.  Bad for the financial and environmental bottom line.

  • a wanted catalog is a pleasure to receive in the mail; you can browse the merchandise in the comfort of your home. It can provide you with the inspiration for a gift or that product you have been thinking about buying.

  • the consumer is the one who has the right to decide what is wanted and unwanted.   That is why we built Catalog Choice.  Up until now, there was no straightforward way to communicate your decision about unsolicited mail.

There are other reasons to like catalogs, now that you have the choice of which ones to receive.  If you live in a rural area, a catalog can be one of your key ways of connecting to your favorite stores, whether online, by phone, or by mail.  Catalogs give you access to product selection beyond what you will find at Wal-Mart, the dominant general merchandise retailer in rural America.

If a merchant operates in all three channels (catalog, online, physical store), the catalog lets you check out what a retail merchant is now featuring before you decide to go shopping.

Another thing we like about catalogs is that the store is always open.  When we are ready to make a purchase, we can pick up the phone and talk to a knowledgeable customer service representative or point our browser to the merchant's website and make the purchase any hour of the day or night.  This is a real boon to those of us who work or are busy during the day and usually take the time to peruse a wanted catalog or website in the evening.

In addition to these benefits, several catalog merchants are leaders in the effort to reduce their environmental footprints.  Some use recycled and/or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified papers.  Some ask if you want to combine multiple products into one carton, reducing the amount of natural resources used (both in terms of packaging and transportation emissions) to send your items.  Some have information in their catalog and website to educate consumers on the environment and sustainability issues.  And, some merchants are starting to let the consumer specify the frequency and media channel (print, online, email) in which they communicate with you.

One of our goals is to help you find those catalogers that care about your choices and the environment so that you can incorporate that information into your purchasing decisions.  We plan to work with merchants to identify those “best management practices”, and to communicate those findings to you.

Dollars and Sense of Catalog Choice

The facts: Catalog Choice for Merchants is the only free, secure, easy-to-use solution for companies to respect the mail preferences of consumers.

The alternative: Consumers can call a company’s customer support line to make the opt-out request. Based on industry research, it takes three to five minutes to complete a call, and at .70 cents/minute, that will cost the merchant between $2.10 and $3.50 for each opt-out request.

The merchant math: 10,000 opt-out requests @ average cost of $3.00 per call = $30,000.

This is much more expensive than downloading a file. The economics seem compelling to our industry experts and many merchants that we’ve spoken to.  In addition to the pure dollars and cents, every merchant we have spoken to knows that it makes good business sense to respect your customers’ mail preference.

On the consumer side of the equation, it takes approximately 10 seconds to complete the opt-out form in Catalog Choice. If you are required to call the merchant to make your request,  you can complete your opt-out request for an individual merchant in four minutes, on average.

The consumer math: 50 opt-out requests will take 8.3 minutes to complete at 50 opt-out phone calls will take 3.3 hours or almost 200 minutes.   These are the kinds of productive gains our economy needs - a service that is 24 times faster than the current method and saves resources all in one step.  So instead of 550,000 people spending 433,333 hours (18,055 days) opting-out of over 6.5 million titles, Catalog Choice members are applying the power of the Internet and skills of great software developers to do the work much faster.

That is what I call a  win-win.  Cost savings for merchants and more time in the day for consumers.

If you had three extra hours, what would you do?

It is the Consumer's Choice

Herb Weisbaum wrote an article for MSNBC describing the Catalog Choice service and the Direct Marketing Association's service

Herb's two cents: ... some people might prefer using the Catalog Choice Web site because it does not require them to enter a credit card number.

Herb also quotes Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum regarding the DMA's requirement for a credit card to opt-out of a catalog: "We think it's a problem," says Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum. "There are people who are not going to give out a credit card number to stop getting a catalog.

Do you think that you should have to provide your credit card number to use a service to stop getting unwanted mail? The DMA does. Catalog Choice does not. Leave your comment to let us know what you think.

Kudos for all the Kudos

Over the 80 days we have been live many members have written to our customer service team thanking us for providing this service. Below is a sampling of the notes we have received.  Each quote below is shown exactly as we received it .... including the capitalization and exclamation points.

  1. This is a fabulous service! Thank you for helping in saving our earth.

  2. This is the best idea ever. Thank You.


  4. THANK YOU!! Your site is a godsend; I've forwarded it to all my friends, and everyone is thrilled with the opportunity to lessen their mail intake.

  5. Thank you for this service!

  6. Many, many thanks and a happy and healthy holiday season to all of you who work so hard to do something so important for the WORLD!!

  7. Passed along your web site to over 70 of my friends. Thanks for the service; as you can tell it was long overdue.

  8. You have provided a wonderful service. Thank you so much. We'll be back for more cancellations.

  9. Thank you for a valuable service.

  10. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I have been so overrun with catalogs and didn't know what to do-there were sooo many! Thanks for being there-I'm telling everyone!

  11. Thank you for this terrific service!

  12. Thanks for the service. I feel so much better stopping unneeded catalogs. I shop entirely on the Internet and no longer need print catalogs. Keep up the good work.

  13. What a fantastic website!! I used to do this all by hand (writing letters). I have passed along a link to your website to everyone I can think of. Thank you so much!

  14. Bless you! Thank you!

  15. This is SUCH a great idea! Thank you!

  16. I just want to say what a great, great idea this is!! I am thrilled to be able be helping to save our environment by opting out of getting these catalogs that I never use!

  17. Thank you so much. I have spent hours on the phone in the last year fighting this avalanche of paper. I shall spread the word!


  19. Thanks for the response. I've already passed this website on to friends. I think it's great.

  20. I want to thank you for this wonderful service you are providing the public. It's eliminating unsolicited catalogs that end up in the garbage. It saves businesses the cost of paper, printing & mailing. It saves the environment by cutting fewer trees & reduces landfills. And, my mailman also said to say thank you.

  21. Wonderful idea! I am sending this website to all of my friends. Thank you!

  22. Thanks for saving trees!

  23. Thank you so very much for providing this service. I knew we were inundated with catalogs, but I had no idea how many we actually receive until I started declining them!

  24. THANK YOU so much for providing this service.

  25. I LOVE this service!! Thank you for doing this.

  26. Thank you so very much. You are like a dream come true. I'm not inundated with wasteful catalogs. My mail carrier thanks you too!

  27. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I have wanted a service like this for years.

  28. Love the service.... and I have passed it along to many already!!

  29. You have revived my hope in the human race! Thanks so much for making this opportunity possible. I have been longing for something like this for years.

  30. Thank you for providing this service! I'm stoked!

  31. This is a wonderful site. I had been calling individual companies whenever I got a catalog I didn't want but this is much, much easier. Thanks for doing this.

  32. This is so great. I've been saving my catalogs for weeks and sat here for 3 hours tonight and entered each one. I am drowning in catalogs and can't wait for them to stop coming.

  33. Thank you so much for this service! I'm so tired of the clutter of junk mail - I'm sure our mail carrier will appreciate the lighter load as well!

  34. Thank you. Everyone I have told about the service is already using it!

  35. I just want to say that this is perhaps the most useful website I've ever used. Especially at the holiday season the number of catalogs is overwhelming

  36. I am delighted that you are here for all of us "environmentally conscious weary of entirely too many catalogs" kind of people.

  37. Many, many thanks and a happy and healthy holiday season to all of you who work so hard to do something so important for the WORLD!!

  38. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I have been so overrun with catalogs and didn't know what to do-there were sooo many! Thanks for being there-I'm telling everyone!

  39. Thank you for this terrific service!


  41. Thanks for the amazing service that you offer! What a gift to the rest of us :)

  42. You are doing a terrific service for the environment and for the post office workers who have to carry these catalogs.

  43. Bless you! I've tried for years to unsubscribe from unwanted catalogs. Finally, I can really do it. Your work is a boost for the environment and a time saver for people who while away hours looking at goods they don't really want.

  44. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate what you are doing to help save our planet and our trees.

  45. Dear Folks, Great service! Too many catalogs and junk mail out there. We need to save the trees. Thank you!

  46. Thank you for this wonderful idea. I think it's terrific.

  47. Thank you!!!!!!!!!

  48. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I dread the holiday season because of all of the catalogs; now I can look forward to it! This is a wonderful service.

  49. Thanks, you've definitely lightened my load.

  50. I just want to thank you for doing this. I was able to "knock off" 26 catalogs!

  51. This is one of the most worthwhile sites on the Internet! I have spread the word and have canceled 22 catalogs in 4 days. I'll keep going and hope you do the same! THANK YOU!!!

  52. Thank you for this website. This is making me feel empowered each day when I sit down and decline all the catalogs I've felt guilty about just throwing away!! Thank you!!

  53. I have been using your site for almost a month now. I love it and I've passed it along to dozens. Thanks for this great service!

  54. Just a thank-you thank-you thank-you! We so often get overwhelmed with the catalogs and are actively trying to do everything we can to reduce waste.

  55. What an unbelievably nifty service!

  56. I love this website! I can take care of all my company's catalog opt-out needs quickly, efficiently and simply and help the environment. Keep up the great work.

  57. Thank you for offering this service! I learned about you on Bill Moyer's Journal.

  58. This is a wonderful service. Thank you!!!

  59. This is a wonderful idea. Thank you for doing this service.

  60. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! This is the best idea I've ever heard. I have forwarded this information to everyone on my email list! Great job!!!!

  61. THANK YOU! I am so grateful for this site! I've been sharing it with everyone. You're doing a great service for Mother Earth!

  62. Thank you for this service - many of us are SO grateful!

  63. Thank you so much for this service! I've declined 80 catalogs on this site. Of those 80, I have ordered from only 5 merchants!!! It's shocking. I truly appreciate what you are doing!!! So does my mailman!!

  64. Fabulous service! I must get literally hundreds of unwanted catalogs a year. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

  65. Thank you so very, very, very much. Also, I have told all my friends.

  66. Blessings all over you!!!!

  67. What a wonderful service; I am passing along the information to all I know, friends and co-workers.

  68. Fabulous idea !!! Finally, I can stop receiving all of the catalogs that I have no interest in, as well as benefit the planet.

  69. My mail carrier thanks you very much!! And so do I - this is a great service.

  70. MANY thanks for this valuable service and easy-to-use interface!

  71. Hi, I am so glad that you have created this site to help save the trees!


Fulfilling your requests - Status Update

As you all know, there is currently no legislation that requires merchants to honor the opt-out requests that we are delivering on your behalf.  So, you ask, how will entering your opt-out request at stop the flow of catalogs?  The answer is embodied in  three words - Choice, Respect and Persistence.

Choice - It starts with the power of the people, our community of over 300,000 conscious consumers, who are using our website to state their choice to no longer receive paper catalogs from specific merchants.  Consumers are doing a tremendous job at stating their choices - we are rapidly approaching 4 million opt-out requests.

Respect - We depend on the good faith of merchants to honor your choices.  Many merchants are working with us to incorporate the opt-out requests into their mailing process.  Due to the busy holiday season, some merchants have requested that they need additional time to add the requests to their do not mail list.

Persistence -  Our Merchant Service Account team spends every day emailing, faxing and calling merchants to ensure that the merchants have received our opt-out requests and are putting the names into their do not mail list.

Stay tuned for more updates.