What many consumers consider junk mail is actually the result of “opt-in” campaigns designed to collect data, such as signing up for a free raffle, entering to win a prize, downloading a free file, or even for taking a survey. It's called direct marketing because knowing consumer information is a powerful tool that allows attempts to match people and their buying preferences with offers that are likely to make them buy a product or service. For marketers this is a good thing because it actually will lessen the amount of mail going out to uninterested prospects.
When you purchase a product or service, subscribe to a magazine, or purchase a membership (for example from AARP), chances are that you are being sold to a data center, which in turn will sell the information.
Your name, address, and other contact information, as well as the type of product or service, is entered into a computer database. The business that collected the information will use it to solicit more business from you. They might also rent their list to other businesses so they can send you advertisements. Lists are valuable, and renting lists is big business.
In other words, as a business, you want this type of data information so you won’t waste money sending mail to people who are not interested.
If you want to be taken off as many national mailing lists as possible, your first step is to contact the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS). You must re-register after three years.
Register for the Mail Preference Service by Mail
Send a letter plus a $1 check or money order to:
Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
For a simple mail-in form, Click Here.
When you register your name and address are placed in a "do not mail" file which is updated monthly. DMA members are required to update their lists at least quarterly, and some do it monthly. Businesses who are not members of the DMA may also take advantage of this "do not mail" list, so registering with the DMA will reduce much of your junk mail.
You may also sign up online at the DMA's Website. Online registration is a quicker option than by postal mail.
The Direct Marketing Association also gives you the ability to register the names of deceased loved ones with their Deceased Do Not Contact list (DDNC).