New Use Tax Proposal Bad for Marketers, DMA Says in Protest
September 18, 2007

The Direct Marketing Association last week kept up its aggressive scrutiny of states-led use tax collection efforts by opposing the new “Alternative Sourcing Proposal” issued by the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board. Finding the proposal a “complex, tiered taxing protocol that would further complicate interstate commerce for businesses and customers,” the DMA protested the proposal in a letter to the board’s Executive Director Scott Peterson. The principal objective of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project “was to achieve simplicity, consistency, and greater uniformity in the administration of state sales and use tax laws,” said Steven K. Berry, DMA’s executive vice president for government affairs and

All You Need to Know About E-mail Authentication
September 1, 2007

A recent Direct Marketing Association (DMA) survey on multichannel marketing in the catalog industry shows that all catalogers use both their catalogs and Web sites to generate sales. Nearly nine out of 10 also use e-mails to reach customers. E-mail provides them with an easy method for order confirmation, shipping notices and customer service follow-up. But are you sure your e-mails are making it into customers’ inboxes? Is your brand protected from criminals who send fake e-mails in your name and use your company’s good reputation to defraud consumers? Strides Made, But Problems Persist While enormous strides have been made in recent years to combat the

Legal Concerns for Catalogers ’07: Lawyers Outline Key Use-tax, Gift Card Issues
April 3, 2007

During a session at the recent NEMOA conference in Cambridge, Mass., George Isaacson and Martin Eisenstein, both attorneys from the Lewiston, Maine-based law firm Brann & Isaacson LLP, pointed out that such recent changes as the shift of power in the House and Senate to Democratic control could revive the use-tax debate. They also touched on some key legal issues involving the rapidly growing gift card market. During his presentation, Isaacson said that there are several dynamics in play this year that make the federal use-tax issue less predictable than it’s been in the past. “Every year since Quill Corp. v. North Dakota,” he said

Editor’s Take: Lobbying
December 1, 2006

I recall watching a TV sketch more than 20 years ago in which Bette Midler depicted this mopey, depressed woman whose reaction to just about all situations in life was (in the character’s whiney, Noo Yawk accent), “Why bothuh?” Performed solo, the skit and her character were at the same time hilarious and chilling. When I think of lobbying for key catalog legislative issues — namely, postal reform and privacy — that character often creeps into my mind. Postal is perhaps the more pressing of the two concerns for catalogers. Since the first postal reform bill was introduced more than a decade ago, the Direct

Keep Uncle Sam at Bay
January 1, 2003

As a cataloger, you must comply with several regulations. Yet I often encounter catalogers who unknowingly do not comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other regulatory agencies’ rules. The following is an overview of the major regulations to follow when developing your merchandising, creative and operational guidelines. Remember, all of these rules apply to both your print and online catalog operations. FTC’s Mail Order Merchandise Rule This law covers the representation you make regarding merchandise and when customers will get the products. And it covers appropriate remedies when those expressed representations aren’t met. Substitutions. This is an area in which I

Postal Reform: A Call From the Trenches
November 1, 2002

“I pay $3 million a year to the U.S. Postal Service, and I wasn’t going to just say ‘OK’ to their continuous rate increases,” said Chris Bradley, president and CEO of Cuddledown catalog, during a jam-packed session on postal reform held at the New England Mail Order Association’s (NEMOA) conference in New Hampshire in September. Bradley and a group of other Maine-based mailers, including catalogers, printers and direct marketers, banded together earlier this year in an effort to educate their legislators on the impact that three postal increases in 18 months has wrought on their companies. Their efforts are instructive for other mailers

Continuity Marketing: Pleasures and Pitfalls
May 1, 2000

Several years ago I went to Peter, my doctor, for a routine checkup and saw some colorful boxes on the end of the counter. Patricia, the office manager and Peter’s wife, said they were dietary supplements for people over the age of 50. “Should I get them?” I asked. “I take them and I feel wonderful,” she said. “Do you and Peter get a piece of the action?” She said she did, which I had no problem with. So I ordered LifePak Prime for my wife Peggy and myself—60 little cellophane packages, each with four horse pills to be taken twice a day with