The DMA announced updates to its online DMAChoice service, including the elimination of a $1 verification fee, last week.
All changes take effect immediately. Other changes allow consumers to go online and opt out of mailing lists by brand. They will also be able to select the catalogs they want to receive.
“We think it’s a phenomenal new capability,” said Ramesh Ratan, EVP and COO at the DMA.
Ratan said that the changes were made based on feedback from consumers who expressed the desire to manage the catalogs they receive, adding that marketers don’t want to send materials that are not relevant to the consumer.
Those using DMAChoice will still be asked for a credit card number in order to validate their identity and mailing address, but they will no longer be charged $1 for this service. The DMA has said it will not keep or use personal, identifiable information collected from the DMAChoice service for marketing purposes.
Historically, the $1 charge was put in place to help defray the cost of the online service. “We’re a nonprofit,” Ratan pointed out.
However, as time has gone on, the cost of the service has become marginal, he added. “The economics got to the point that it didn’t warrant it anymore.”
Ratan said that the credit card validation process is still the best method to validate a person’s identity and address securely but, moving forward, the DMA is looking into alternative ways to verify identities and addresses without a credit card.
DMAChoice is part of a broader initiative by the DMA and other organizations to address consumer concerns about direct mail.
In November, the National Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation and the Ecology Center launched Catalog Choice, a nonprofit that lets consumers specify which catalogs they wish not to receive. The company saw an initial 20,000 people sign up and does not charge a fee to register.
Catalog Choice does not require a credit card, but instead consumers must provide their customer number for each individual catalog. Catalog companies are contacted individually on behalf of consumers that are registered with the site.