Cataloger Says DMA Has Known It Won't Sign Privacy Promise

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The Direct Marketing Association is expected to release a statement late today detailing which companies no longer qualify for membership in the organization -- presumably for their noncompliance with the Privacy Promise.

A spokesman for one of the companies has issued a statement saying the DMA has known for months that it had no intention of signing onto the Privacy Promise, which went into effect July 1.

"We simply didn't want to sign the Privacy Promise," said Bill Anderson of Sportsman's Market, Batavia, OH. "We are a privately run corporation. It's our business."

Hal Shevers, founder/chairman of Sportsman's Market, concurred.

"We have the highest standards in the industry, and our company's reputation speaks for itself," he said.

Pat Faley, vice president of ethics and consumer affairs at the DMA, said the organization "would release a statement regarding its members and the Privacy Promise at the end of the business day [today]." Faley wouldn't characterize the nature of the announcement, only that the DMA was still determining the status of some of its members. "We'll be making information available at the end of the day, at 5 p.m."

Anderson -- who declined to specify the size of his company, its sales or number of employees -- suggested that larger issues are at stake for the DMA regarding the Privacy Promise and what it represents. And he hinted that the DMA was more concerned about protecting the "Equifaxes of the world" against possible regulation, but he didn't think it was a fair issue for catalogers to allow themselves to get swept up in.

Sportsman's Market does not have an official privacy policy posted on its Web site, but Anderson said the company honor customers' requests to have their names removed from third-party mailing lists. He also said customers are allowed to see and verify that personal information in company records is accurate.
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