A Very Direct Show

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Walking around last week's DM Days New York conference, it felt like I had entered a time warp. The exhibit floor was filled with printers, list firms and marketing services providers. New York Gov. George Pataki even proclaimed it "Direct Marketing Week" for the first time. Interesting that New York lawmakers are considering a bill to create a "Do Not Offer Statewide Registry" establishing a registry for residents who don't want unsolicited direct mail for the sale or offer of goods or services.

Also at the show, Postmaster General John Potter talked about how great the mail system is, and the Direct Marketing Association rolled out an initiative with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service warning consumers about fraudulent sweepstakes. Not that I'm against any type of awareness campaign, but here's the obvious question: Is mail sweepstakes fraud on the upswing? No, said chief postal inspector Lee Heath. Instead, I suggest that they might want to focus on the Internet and e-mail. You don't have to look any further than your inbox to realize that phishing fraud is a problem that's only getting worse.

This was DMA president/CEO John Greco's first DM Days show. I have a feeling we'll see a greater focus on Internet marketing next year. He also said organizers will tweak the annual show and we should expect more details about the DMA's rebranding campaign to freshen the industry's image with Joe Consumer.

Neeleman and Gutenberg

At least one reader wasn't happy with the DMA's choice for Marketer of the Year. Though I questioned why JetBlue Airways chairman/CEO David Neeleman was picked in last week's editorial, I said he knew something about customer service. "How quickly we forget that JetBlue violated its own privacy policy in 2002 when it 'gave' 5 million of its customers' itineraries, names, addresses and phone numbers to a Defense contractor," wrote Sue Tomasso of Partners for Response. Needless to say, Neeleman didn't mention this in his acceptance speech last week.

My effort to get Johann Gutenberg inducted into the DMA's Hall of Fame failed. After last year's decision to induct Benjamin Franklin, I thought Gutenberg would be a shoo-in. All three of this year's inductees - Marty Edelston, Tim Litle and Ted Spiegel - are very deserving of the honor, though fans of the late Ed Burnett will be saddened to hear that Ed didn't make it again.

Tad Clarke is editor in chief of DM News. His editorial appears Mondays on www.dmnews.com and in our e-mail newsletter. You can subscribe to our e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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