Posted by: Burth Helm on September 27, 2008
Last December I wrote about Catalog Choice, an environmentalist-backed website that helps people stop receiving unwanted catalogs. The upstart site created an uproar among direct mailers last winter after it sent them requests from 300,000 people in just a couple of months of existence. Many major catalogers refused to remove the names the site submitted. The Direct Marketing Assoc. (DMA) sent an email to its members telling them to “JUST SAY NO,” to Catalog Choice’s requests.
Now Catalog Choice appears to be gaining traction. Williams Sonoma, L.L. Bean, Crate & Barrell, and 207 other companies have agreed to honor the site’s removal requests since December. Catalog Choice now has over 1 million users.
The site just signed up too many people to ignore, says Hamilton Davison, of the American Catalog Mailers Assoc., which voted unanimously to endorse the site last week. “We wanted to be assured that they would respect consumers’ privacy,” says Pat Conolly, Chief Marketing officer of Williams Sonoma, adding that after nine months of evaluation, he’s now confident the site will. The DMA, which offers its own suppression service, still won’t endorse Catalog Choice, but now recommends merchants decide on their own whether to participate. Other catalogers, like fruit merchant Harry & David, still won’t say whether or not they honor Catalog Choice’s requests.