I’ve been learning how to stop receiving junk mail, and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned.
Reducing Junk Mail
There are several services that will help you reduce your junk mail:
- GreenDimes offers a free basic service, but I decided to do their $20 one-time fee because it offered a few extra things I wanted. GreenDimes walks you through some easy steps that will reduce unsolicited mail, and also lets you decline catalogs. Each time you receive an unwanted catalog, you go to GreenDimes and type the name of the catalog in. GreenDimes takes care of removing you from that catalog’s mailing list. I’ve been quite happy with this service, especially since it’s a one-time fee.
- ProQuo is a free junk-mail reduction service. In the future, they intend to make money when consumers opt-in to request offers; ProQuo will make money from those advertisers. I tried this service today. It lets you stop many services with just a couple mouse clicks per service, but for about 50% of the marketers (maybe 10-15 of them) you have to print and send a letter or leave to an external website to complete a form. It’s still better than nothing though, because even if you’re lazy you can opt out of a lot of junk mail with just your mouse for free. Overall, the service is free, easy, and helps you opt out of a wide variety of lists.
- Catalog Choice is a site solely for opting out of catalogs. It doesn’t tackle things like credit card offers, PennySaver, or list brokers, but the site is clean with a really nice user interface. One of the founders, Daniel Katz, has been interviewed by Bill Moyers, so I trust that they’re a legit organization, even though their WHOIS information is private and there’s very little information about the group on their site. It sounds like three different environmental groups formed Catalog Choice as a non-profit. One piece of advice for Catalog Choice: please give a little more information about yourselves (e.g. history, founders, press) so that people can easily see that you’re legitimate.
- 41pounds.org charges $41 for five years of service. The name comes from the fact that they claim to block 41 pounds of junk mail per year for you. I haven’t tried this service.
Contacting services directly
- You can visit the webpage of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) to opt-out online so that you don’t receive mail from companies that use DMA lists. The pretty url http://www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailinglist takes you to the url https://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/proto1.php where you want to select option #3 (“Remove your name from DMA Member Prospect Lists”). You will have to provide a valid credit card number, but your credit card will not be charged.
- You can opt out of ADVO online.
- While you’re at it, why not place yourself on the “Do not call” list at www.donotcall.gov to prevent most telemarketers from calling you? All you need to give is your phone number and an email address, and you will be permanently opted out. Read more about the do-not-call list if you’re interested.
All these actions won’t eliminate junk mail completely, but it will prevent a lot of the junk from showing up in your mailbox. These aren’t affiliate links, just stuff that I think people will find handy. Good luck!