There are many ways to learn about the local and national businesses that serve the community – whether through mailed catalogs, e-mail, online ads, you name it. Just as consumers use a variety of ways to find information, businesses use different media to market themselves to potential customers. You may use some of those sources and not others, but you have the ability to easily customize how local businesses contact you – and it’s easier than you may think.
The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service lets you opt-out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail for five years. Register at http://www.dmachoice.org, or mail your request to: DMAchoice, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel NY10512. This will not stop mailings from companies that do not use this service, Bulk Mail or Current Resident Mail, but it will reduce your junk mailings by quite a bit.
If you do not wish to receive prescreened credit card offers, you can opt-out at http://www.optoutprescreen.com, or 1-800-OPT-OUT. You will have the choice of opting out for five years or permanently. To opt-out permanently, you must begin the process at the website, then return a signed Permanent Opt-out Election form, which you will be sent when you register.
Stop unwanted catalog deliveries by visiting http://www.catalogchoice.org.
Online marketers can track your Internet usage, gather data about you and tailor ads to you based on that information.
The Network Advertising Initiative has an online opt-out tool that lets you select member companies from which you wish to stop receiving ads. Visit http://www.networkadvertising.org. It won’t eliminate all of them, but you should see fewer ads.
The Google Ad Preferences site lets you opt-out of all ad categories, or you can add or remove selected categories at http://www.google.com/ads/preferences.
Yahoo has an Ad Interest Manager that lets you do pretty much the same thing. Visit the Privacy section at http://www.yahoo.com.
Phone books are a valuable resource for consumers looking for local business information. Research shows 7 out of 10 U.S. adults use Yellow Pages directories each year, but if you choose to get your local business information elsewhere, you’ll be glad to know there’s an easy way to adjust or stop your print deliveries. Visit the National Yellow Pages Consumer Choice and Opt-out Site at http://www.yellowpagesoptout.com to select which directories you wish to receive, as well as to learn more about the industry’s sustainable production efforts and how you can reuse and recycle your old directories.
The DMA also has an Email Preference Service (eMPS) that lets you opt-out of receiving unsolicited commercial email from DMA members for six years. Register at http://www.dmachoice.org.
Make sure your email spam filters are activated. Send the filtered emails to a specific folder so you can check to make sure that non-junk emails don’t get automatically deleted.
The National Do Not Call Registry lets you opt-out of receiving telemarketing calls at home or on your mobile phone. Once your number has been on the registry for 31 days, most telemarketing calls should stop. This will not stop calls from political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors and companies with which you have a business relationship or those that you’ve given express written agreement to receive their calls. Register at http://www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.
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