Plans for Whatsmailing.org on Hold

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An effort by direct marketing agency Devon Direct Euro RSCG, Berwyn, PA, to create and sponsor an industrywide Web site for verifying e-mail has been temporarily shelved.


Called www.whatsmailing.org, the site is meant to allay consumer fears over opening direct mail in the wake of the anthrax scare. As an online registry, the site would confirm the integrity of unsolicited mail received at home and office.


But the burgeoning number of anthrax cases nationwide has put plans on hold.


"We've all become aware of new developments at some of the nation's postal facilities," a note on whatsmailing.org said. "It is now apparent that verifying the source of a letter or package is not sufficient enough to aid the public in making its decision about the integrity of mail items.


"In light of the developing situation," the statement continued, "we are reassessing whether the What's Mailing registry, as originally conceived, retains its value to the public as a vehicle designed to increase confidence in unsolicited mail. As a result, we have suspended the registration process."


As envisioned, the registry would have listings from member companies of the Direct Marketing Association and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. About 4 million people work in the nation's direct mail industry, which last year generated $528.5 billion in sales.


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