Monday, August 11, 2008

Do Not Mail Registry - an Idea Whose Time Has Come

The other day I signed an online petition to Congress lobbying for a National Do-Not-Mail Registry. Much like the national Do Not Call Registry, the creation of this new registry would allow Americans to opt-out of getting the copious amounts of junk mail we all deal with these days.

Here is why I think that a Do-Not-Mail Registry is a good idea:

Environmental Reasons - over the past week I have received not one but two new, competing yellow pages books. I don't use the yellow pages, I prefer this lesser known invention called "the Internet", so the books went directly into the recycling bins. Daily we are inundated with credit card offers, coupon books and catalogues all of which end up the same way. Think of all the trees that are cut down, the energy that is wasted in printing, shipping and recycling of these products that no one really wants. CO2 emissions galore.

Business Reasons - think of all the wasted money that businesses spend trying to reach an audience like my wife and I, who are completely non-receptive to their message. If there was a simple way for them to screen against a list of folks who would just chuck away their message, they could save a great deal of money. It's not how many messages you send out - it's how many people actually hear you.

Privacy Reasons - I really dislike the idea of people trading my personal information back and forth without my having the right to say "no". 'Nuff said.

Laziness - OK, so call me lazy, but I really don't like dealing with all this sorting and recycling. Every day when I come home there is a pile of junk mail to sort through and toss. These days at least 95% of mail that we get falls under the category of junk mail. By sending me all this crap against my wishes, the senders are making me do a chore that I really dislike. I have better things to do with my time.

When I think about it, other than my magazines and Netflix movies that come through the mail there is really very little mail that I get these days that does not fall under the category of junk. Yes, there is the occasional online purchase delivery, the occasional financial statement or notice from the government that I get (jury summons, voter information), but pretty much everything else is junk. Pretty much everything that I care to receive I get through e-mail. If you think about it, the USPS these days is largely an organization devoted to the dissemination of real world physical... SPAM... it's time to stop this unceasing flow of unwanted crap.

Sign the petition and join the call.


Patrick said...

I agree with you on all points. I hate sorting through the junk I receive every day. There are ways to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive, such as opting out of pre-screened credit offers and firm offers for insurance (both of which are based on soft credit pulls).

The number is 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). Calling this number will send your information to the main credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, Innovis, TransUnion) and remove you from their pre-screening list. You will need to provide your Social Security Number. You can also opt out at the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website -

This won't stop all junk mail though, such as coupon books, fliers, catalogs, etc. But it's a start.

Shadox said...

Yup, I have already opted out of credit card offers - I will point out that opting out of credit card offers does not stop a whole bunch of credit card companies from sending you credit card offers any way... as example, airline credit cards, store credit cards, university credit cards... you name it. The number of offers is reduced by about 50% but offers still keep coming.

frugal zeitgeist said...

You can also opt out from mailing lists (or opt in, though why anyone would do that is beyond me) through the Direct Mail Marketing Association. I've done it with great success: my junk mail went down by about 90%. You need to be careful, though: One catalog order after that and you're right back on mailing lists.

Here's the URL: