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Tuesday
Sep272011

Member Testimonial

Our member, Mark Merritt, posted the following testimonial about his experience with Catalog Choice on his Google+ account. With Mark's permission, I am reposting the testimonial here.

My experience with Catalog Choice over the past 3-4 years:

Four years ago, our mailbox overflowed with catalogs. It was unbelievable. Four years ago, there were more than one hundred different companies sending us catalogs*. Some companies would send multiple catalogs each and every week to more than one of us. One November, we went away for a week and the diameter of the pile of catalogs waiting for us on the floor when we returned was easily five feet across.

Every catalog went straight from the mailbox to the garbage. We couldn't even recycle that paper. It was (is) a really tragic situation.

About that time, I heard about Catalog Choice which is a non-profit organization with the following stated mission:

"Catalog Choice's mission is to help people reduce unwanted mail, save natural resources,and protect their privacy."

I've been using their free service now for three or four years and these days we only occasionally get a catalog in the mail.

The process is simple, but takes a bit of rigor. Some of these companies really drag their feet on getting you off their lists so you may have to redo a request a few times, but this seems to be getting better. Every time I get a catalog or piece of junk mail, I make a little investment of two minutes of my time to help reduce waste and make it so future-Mark doesn't have to deal with lots of unwanted garbage.

If I think of the amount of waste that our household has saved over the past few years and multiply that by their one million users, this little organization has helped save a lot of trees, energy, etc. I thought I'd pass my experience on as a way of doing my little part to help get that number to 10 million.

You can find them at: https://www.catalogchoice.org

I also recommend donating money to help their cause (https://www.catalogchoice.org/donate).

In case you were wondering, I have no affiliation with Catalog Choice other than being a user of their service (under my wife's name) and a donor to their organization.

*To date, I have removed someone from our family (sometimes more than one person) from the mailing lists of 149 companies.
Saturday
Sep242011

Proof is in the Member Comments

The other day we saw a blog post about Catalog Choice on the Parenthacks.com website.  In this post, Asha Dornfest was soliciting input from her readers on our service.  Like millions, she is "on a quest to rid our house of clutter. (I always seem to be on this quest, but no matter.) And the constant inflow of junk mail and the waste it produces aggravates me every day."

The comments that followed were so cool to read, we had to post them here too:

I have been using Catalog Choice for several years, and have been so impressed that I chose to donate to them earlier this year. If you order from companies who sell their mailing lists (ahem, Garnet Hill), Catalog Choice is truly outstanding. They make it simple to use and, based on the status of my mailbox, they're effective.
POSTED BY: KRISTI | 20 SEPTEMBER 2011 AT 11:19 AM


Between their efforts and mine I often go days with NOTHING in my mailbox. I've donated also. I think they do a great job.

POSTED BY: BETSY | 20 SEPTEMBER 2011 AT 12:58 PM


Yes yes yes! Catalog Choice is excellent! I've used it for several years as well, but haven't ponied up for the donation level.

Our mailbox is very small (one big community set of boxes on the next street over), and with small kids I don't always get to empty it each day. I found out the hard way that our Post Office will send our mail back to the sender if the box gets too full. So I started using Catalog Choice to reduce the extra stuff that was just getting thrown into the recycling bin anyway. It has been fabulous! Last year I signed my dad up as well, since he was having trouble getting to his mailbox and didn't need all the catalogs that my late mother had signed up for over the years.

POSTED BY: LISSA | 20 SEPTEMBER 2011 AT 02:29 PM

I've been using Catalog Choice for years and also recently donated. Fantastic service that I really enjoy using. I actually look forward to the errant catalog that ends up in my mailbox...so I can enter it in the CC website and kiss it goodbye!

The gripe I have about this is that some "junk mail" is really junk, and other pieces of mail have great coupons. If your name gets removed, you lose the good "junk" too!

POSTED BY: MICHELLE | 20 SEPTEMBER 2011 AT 08:42 PM


There is nothing more rewarding for our team than getting unsolicited feedback about our service.  Our Customer Service and Merchant Outreach leads, April and Jen, are on the phone and emailing merchants every day to make sure they get your suppression request and honor them.  This is tough work since it sometimes falls to the bottom of the merchants priority list.  It is always on the top of our list.  The kudos fuel our tank.

Looking for more tips to simplify your family life, check out Parent Hacks.

Friday
Jul222011

Together We Make A Difference

We provide the most comprehensive list of direct mailers so you have one place to make your opt-out choices. We strive to make the process easy, track the status and provide a way to file a complaint if the first request is not honored. The good news is that our simple opt-out form automatically delivers about 90% of opt-outs to companies. You select the name and address from the drop down, enter the customer number and source code, if available, and you are done.

This blog post is about the other 10%. The companies that require you to call customer service, send an email from your own account, or fill out a form on their website. Not all companies make it easy to opt-out through our system, but we have developed the best alternative methods to deliver your requests. And, we always track the status and give you a way to file a formal complaint. Our staff is constantly working to get these companies to make it easier for you to opt-out. Read on to learn how you can help.

Company Forms: We Help You Fill Them Out

In some cases you are required to complete a company’s contact form to opt-out. We know that opening their form in your browser is not ideal, but we try to make the form process less confusing by providing instructions and information you need at the top of the screen.

When a form opens in a new window in your browser, we provide you with a private, Catalog Choice email address (@cmails.org) to use in the form. Just copy the unique email from the top of the page and paste it into the form where required. Then, copy and paste the pre-written request text into the comment section of the form if needed. Feel free to add your own comments asking them to cooperate with Catalog Choice. Finally, click on the "I've Completed This" link to record your request in your Catalog Choice account.



When You Have To Use Your Own Email Address

Believe it or not, some companies block the unique Catalog Choice email we use to track the status and protect your own personal email address. When companies block our email server, we provide you with a template that makes sending the email from your own address quick and easy.


In these cases, you will see the note below on the opt-out page. Feel free to add your own words to the email telling the company to work with Catalog Choice. Every note helps. For example, thousands of members sent emails to Talbots in June and they changed their policy to accept emails from our server.

When You Have To Call

In a digital age it’s hard to believe that some companies require a phone call to their customer service department in order to change your mail preferences. When you run into the handful of companies that require a call, make sure to tell the customer service representative that you want their company to work with Catalog Choice. Every voice helps. For example, Comcast committed to working cooperatively with us, after years of requiring our members to call their customer service line to opt out. They promise to have an online system by the end of the year.

Together We Make A Difference

Together we can shrink the uncooperative 10% to zero. Many companies change their ways when they hear from you. So keep making your choices, even if the process requires some added effort and patience. With your ongoing participation and perseverance, together we are making a difference.
Wednesday
Jul202011

Why Do We Opt-Out

We ask our members to indicate why they are opting out of the delivery of direct mail every time they make an opt-out request.  The default answer to this question is "prefer not to answer".  Well, most people prefer to indicate their reason and on average the answers are clear.  It is about the paper, irrelevance and the internet.

Based on 8.5 million responses recorded since the survey question was add in 2008, the results are:


The results imply that it is often about the paper, not the brand.  More than half of the opt-out reasons imply that the individual still likes the brand, they just don't want the paper and they prefer to go online to look for the products and services.  The 38% of choices that are made because the person has no interest in the company's product or services is a win for everyone.  The company gets valuable feedback from the person and they can redirect their marketing resources towards more relevant customers.

The question remains, for millions of Americans who prefer to work online and don't want the paper, what is the best alternative for companies to let you know about their products and services?

Thursday
Jul072011

Need Help Getting Organized?



By Paula Becker
Some of our twitter followers have incredible tips on organization and clutter removal. While there are a bunch of things you can do to be more organized, we appreciate that these organizers have included Catalog Choice as a useful method. These professionals cover all aspects of organizing, often tweeting about productive grocery shopping tips, organizational resources, recycling topics, inspirational quotes, and our favorite, junk mail reduction.

Looking for a great professional organizer to help you through the maze? Here are a few:

The Flylady: Looking for step by step guides to get started decluttering or daily tips, look no further than the FlyLady. On Twitter @THEFLYLADY | On the web @FlyLady.net

Monica Ricci: An organizing expert that tweets and blogs about being more organized. She also posts great videos! On Twitter @MonicaRicci | On the web @Your Life. Organized

Geralin Thomas runs Metrozing:  Geralin was seen on the A&E Hoarders and helps give tips on de-cluttering. On Twitter @metrozing | On the web @Metropolitan Organizing

Jacquie Ross: A professional organizer, she even has a book and website focused on tackling clutter! On Twitter @JacquieRoss2 | On the web @Castawaytheclutter

Debbie JordanKravtiz: Her tweets are always an inspirational way to get you motivated and be more organized. On Twitter @OrganizerGal | On the web @Virtually Organized

Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton: Organizing Maniacs focus on productivity consultation and residential organizing. On Twitter @OrganizeManiacs | On the web @Organizing Maniacs

 

Note: There is no formal relationship between Catalog Choice and any of the organizers listed in this post.  We just like what they do.