The More Things Change...

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Funny how issues that direct marketers grapple with today mirror those from five, 10, even 20 years ago. Instead of trying to summarize the last 1,000 years -- or even the last 100 years -- in DM, let's go to the back issues of DM News for some headlines from yesteryear.

"New Rate Case Hinted for '95" (Dec. 26, 1994): "The U.S. Postal Service could be forced to seek its second rate increase in less than a year if the incoming Republican-controlled Congress orders the prepayment of postal-worker healthcare costs." Nothing new there. We can expect a 2001 rate case to be filed with the Postal Rate Commission just after the first of the year, and Periodical and Standard-A mail rates may see an average increase of more than 10 percent (Nov. 22, 1999).

"PCH Rewords Its Sweepstakes Copy in Settling a Dispute With Texas" (Nov. 15, 1989): "Publishers Clearing House has begun reworking its sweepstakes mailings to instruct consumers who don't buy magazines where they can write to continue receiving the solicitations." President Clinton and Congress have set new sweepstakes marketing standards with the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act, which goes into effect in April (Dec. 20, 1999).

"Fireworks May Erupt at DMMA Meet" (Oct. 15, 1979): "There is a wide diversity of opinion, but there is an unanimity on the fact that standards should be spelled out and that, if anything is to be done about this, the List Council meeting will furnish the time and the place to launch a movement." Well, Congress and our next president will set the standards now. Presidential hopeful Steve Forbes lobbed the first shot with his Orwellian attack on marketers and personal information (Dec. 20, 1999).

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