Industry Eye Letter: How DMA Can Contain Catalog Backlash
RE: “DMA Drops MPS Fee” that ran in February's IndustryEye, the Direct Marketing Association took the right step by eliminating the $1 sign-up fee, but its Mail Preference Service (MPS) still requires a credit card number to ensure authenticity. There are more than 4 million names on the MPS suppression file, but DMA hasn’t done much to promote MPS to consumers and its membership base. More importantly, the DMA hasn’t made it easy for consumers to have their names added to the do-not-mail list.
Catalog Choice’s goal — to stop unwanted mail to help clean our environment — is a worthy one. But its founding organizations — the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Ecology Center — should work with DMA and its MPS so there’s one suppression service regulated by the DMA.
The DMA needs to take a stronger position to make service bureaus and their members use the MPS suppression file. For consumers who don't want mail, Catalog Choice should direct those individuals to the MPS to have their names suppressed from other lists.
Many names Catalog Choice sends to catalog companies come from outside rented lists. For example, out of approximately 1,600 names sent to one firm, fewer than 100 matched on the housefile. Therefore, the cataloger has to maintain its own mail suppression file to run against every merge in addition to using the DMA's MPS file. It would make more sense for Catalog Choice to maintain a master file, similar to the DMA's MPS suppression file.
Or, better yet, Catalog Choice and the DMA should work together. The DMA has the clout and leverage to cause service bureaus and mailers to comply.
Stephen R. Lett
President, Lett Direct
Bethany Beach, Del.