Letter: DMA Missed Golden Opportunity With DNC List

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The Direct Marketing Association should be awarded the dubious honor of becoming the "Charlie Brown" of trade associations. It had a chance to be the hero but, instead, has become the goat. I'm referring to its confusing and seemingly ever-changing position on the do-not-call list.

For it or against it? A protector of the public good (can 50 million households be ignored?) or of the minority of telemarketers who have ruined the business through their own greed and lack of adopting DM principles?

My local daily paper, The Hartford Courant, has taken the lead in what amounts to a national campaign of DM and now DMA-bashing. First, it embarrasses them by announcing that key DMA execs have added their own names to the DNC. Then it claims that the reason the DMA is fighting a national DNC registry regulated and overseen by a federal agency is because it conflicts with its own DNC registry, which has the potential to bring in $5 per registrant. The Courant does some quick math and comes up with a figure of $250 million at stake. Whether true or not, it's in print and the damage is real.

The DMA must do some serious soul-searching and decide that it is time to stop protecting and excusing the mass marketers of spam and junk calls masquerading as direct marketers (mass marketers do not target, direct marketers do) and develop a coherent and clear message. It must become an association of conviction and not just of self-interest.

Douglas Sacks, Senior vice president, Infocore Inc., Wethersfield, CT



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