Local News

Postal service relaxes rules for 'junk mail'

Posted January 19, 2011 3:40 p.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2011 7:07 p.m. EST

— For most people, a trip to the mailbox means sorting out the important mail from the flyers, coupons and circulars that marketers send to get their message out. Junk mail, direct mail, call it what you will – most people don't look forward to receiving it.

A new U.S. Postal Service rule could mean more junk in the mailbox.

Flyers addressed to "Postal Customer" or "Current Occupant" are an example of simplified addressing, which allows delivery to every home, business or P.O. box on a postal route. It used to be available only on rural routes, but new rules now allow it on city routes.

John Nicholson, of Raleigh, said he has enlisted on direct mail opt-out lists, but still gets mail from marketers.

"I'm not sure why I get it," he said. "I think it's a bad idea. I've enlisted on a lot of do-not-mail lists, which I thought would take care of this."

But Adam Tartaglia of LimeLight Marketing, the Triangle's self-proclaimed "direct mail experts," said opting out only goes so far.

Tartaglia manages direct-mail campaigns for businesses. He said opting out deletes names and addresses from a targeted database, but simplified addressing goes to everybody.

Postal customers have to contact marketers directly to not receive simplified addressing mail, but Tartaglia said the mail is not junk.

"I hate to use that term. I believe direct mail brings products and services that people need," he said.

The relaxed rules apply only to larger pieces of bulk mail. Letter-sized items will still need a specific address. Tartaglia said he believes mail that goes to everybody is not as effective for marketers as targeted direct-mail campaigns.

But for Nicholson, both types of mail are unwanted.

"I get enough as it is, bills and so forth, but junk mail? I don't need it," he said.