By the Direct Marketing Association
A top DMA policy priority is keeping the mail channel open for marketers. This focus comes at a time when advertising mail finds itself under threat. An increasing number of states are proposing the creation of state Do Not Mail registries, similar to the national do not call registry, or are considering other limitations on advertising mail. In 2007, 15 states proposed Do Not Mail legislation, a significant increase in the number of bills seen in previous years; three in 2005 and four in 2006. The 2008 legislative year began with nine bills carrying over in seven states, but has already grown from there. These bills are a cause for concern to the mailing community not only because of the increase in numbers, but the standards and requirements proposed vary greatly from state to state. 
Why Do Not Mail Bills Are Bad Public Policy 
To many consumers and policymakers, Do Not Mail bills may sound like an idea whose time has come. However, learning even a little about advertising mail and direct marketing quickly reveals the many problems that Do Not Mail registries would create.
• Advertising mail is a large and diverse economic engine creating $686 billion of economic activity annually that would be adversely affected by even just one bill becoming law. Businesses both large and small rely on advertising mail to provide consumers with information, announcements and savings opportunities. Additionally, millions of jobs are dependent on advertising mail and direct marketing – from copywriters in ad agencies to rural letter carriers in remote corners of a sparsely populated state.
• Advertising mail provides consumers with a convenient marketplace and an easy connection to local goods and services. As well, it provides significant necessary revenues that help fund the services offered by local post offices.
• Advertising mail provides consumers with a convenient marketplace and an easy connection to local goods and services. As well, it provides significant necessary revenues that help fund the services offered by local post offices.
• Advertising mail often can level the playing field between large and small business. It offers a cost-effective entry into new markets for small businesses looking to introduce themselves to local customers. These businesses would be seriously disadvantaged without access to advertising mail to reach potential customers. Further, advertising mail offers larger businesses, who often bring jobs to small towns and rural areas, a way to reach broader audiences. 
• Legislation is not needed to provide consumers with options for removing their names from marketing lists. Consumers have a variety of choices ranging from contacting an individual company, to registering their name with DMA’s Mail Preference Service. 
• Keeping a strong and vital postal system is a great advantage to consumers by maintaining competition in the package delivery market. On-line commerce is reliant on package delivery and a competitive postal system helps keep shipping rates affordable.
What Is Driving Do Not Mail Legislation 
The mailing community recognizes that consumers want choice in how they manage their mail, are more environmentally conscious and want to secure their personal information. On all three fronts, marketers and the mailing community are taking steps to educate consumers on available tools and steps businesses are taking to address these concerns. Importantly, this effort also involves correcting the misimpressions and misstatements that surround mailing issues. 

Why DMA Members and the Mailing Community Should Care 
The U.S. Postal Service® has been among the most trusted of Federal services for years. Yet, many people see advertising mail as intrusive, while at the same time opening and using advertising mail at very high rates. Roughly one-third of the Postal Service’s annual revenue depends on advertising mail. Do Not Mail bills threaten the viability of the postal system through a loss of revenue and volume from advertising mail, potentially leading to reduced services, convenience, options or choices to the American consumer and harming US businesses. 
What is DMA Doing to Address Do Not Mail Legislation 
DMA, along with a number of other mailing community associations and companies, formed Mail Moves America in 2006 as a broad based coalition to achieve two purposes: defend against Do Not Mail legislation; and develop a more positive message and image for advertising mail. The coalition includes in its membership, associations and companies in the paper, printing, mailing, marketing, publishing and advertising industries as well as users of mail advertising. 
To learn how you can join the Mail Moves America coalition, please visit www.mailmovesamerica.org.
Click here for information on the Do Not Mail bills in the 2008 legislative session.
—Source: Direct Marketing Assocation (http://www.the-dma.org/mailmovesamerica/).