What Will a Do Not Mail Registry Mean for Magazine Publishers?
Last week, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed a resolution calling on California to create a Do Not Mail Registry, the first of its kind to be passed in the nation. Similar to the National Do Not Call Registry, which allows U.S. citizens to opt out of receiving unsolicited telemarketing phone calls, a Do Not Mail Registry would give citizens the choice to stop receiving unwanted junk mail.
The San Francisco resolution, as well as the possibility of additional Do Not Mail resolutions being passed, has raised concerns for magazine publishers that rely on direct mailings to solicit new subscribers. Postal expert Eddie Mayhew, who retired from the postal service after 37 years and is a frequent speaker at publishing-industry and other events, spoke with Publishing Executive Inbox about the possibility of a national Do Not Mail Registry, the ramifications for magazine publishers, and how they can get involved in the issue.
INBOX: How will a Do Not Mail Registry affect magazine publishers, and to what extent? Will it affect their ability to communicate with their customers?
EDDIE MAYHEW: The effect of "Do Not Mail" on magazine publishers will not be as bad as to standard-mail mailers. As long as [publishers mail] to subscribers or requesters, they would be exempt. However, solicitations for subscriptions and mailing of sample copies could be severely impacted if they are included in the final determination under whatever laws might be passed.
INBOX: In light of San Francisco passing the first "Do Not Mail" resolution, do you think a Do Not Mail Registry will eventually be adopted nationwide, much like the National Do Not Call Registry? And if so, how quickly?
MAYHEW: I hope that the San Francisco initiative eventually gets overturned. In any case, I don't believe it will release a firestorm of initiatives. Those that fight this legislation, however, must increase their efforts to educate consumers of the impact above and beyond the mail pieces that are being affected. So many jobs are related to the mailing business that if there is a groundswell of initiatives being passed, the already horrendous unemployment level could dramatically be increased by the loss of work by printers, manufacturers and even through advertisers.