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December 17, 2012

Americans Overwhelmingly Support 'Do Not Mail' Registry

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Most Americans have heard of the ‘Do Not Call’ list. But the newest U.S. initiative to restrict marketing efforts is something called “Do Not Mail” – in response to the large number of ads delivered through U.S. Mail.

They reportedly annoy recipients and may even violate their privacy. In response, a new survey by the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, finds that 81 percent of respondents support the creation of a Do Not Mail list similar to the popular Do Not Call registry.

The Americans supporting the list cross ideology, age and income groups. Women support Do Not Mail more than men.

Image via Shutterstock

“Our survey is in line with consumer polls conducted over the last four decades that reflect a frustration with advertising mail,” Chris Hoofnagle, a Berkeley law school lecturer and director of information privacy programs at the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (BCLT), said in a statement about the survey.

The BCLT reports that more than half of all U.S. mail delivered to households or businesses is advertising.

"Americans may view advertising mail as a privacy issue because of database activities underlying the targeting of mail. They also may dislike the sense of intrusion created when advertising material flows into the home," Jennifer M. Urban, assistant clinical professor of law, said in the statement about the survey.

Also, the United States Postal Service (USPS (News - Alert)) has encouraged direct marketers to use the mail due to the organization’s financial losses.  The Postal Service lost tens of billions of dollars over the last few years.

The Direct Marketing Association has a self-opt-out system, but it only blocks some one percent of advertising mail.

"The Postal Service has created many innovations to help advertisers increase mail volume, but it’s done little to assist Americans manage unwanted advertising mail,” Urban added.

In the study, the BCLT said Americans view advertising mail as a “privacy” issue, because of the “extensive collection and use of personal information targeting and sending it entails, and a reaction to a sense of intrusion created by receiving unwanted mail pieces.”

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC (News - Alert)) announced its 100th Do Not Call enforcement action since the Do Not Call Registry was set up in 2003, according to JD Supra. The defendant company made robocalls to numbers listed on the Do Not Call registry. As of September, there were increasingly more complaints from consumers after finding they were receiving live calls and automated telemarketing calls (“robocalls”) even though they are listed on the federal Do Not Call registry, TMCnet reported.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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