Oooo, Canada! I confess myself a Canadophile, especially after flying Air Canada recently, and Canada is on the forefront of the unsolicited commercial email (UCE) or "spam" issue as Janet Osborne <[email protected]> pointed out in email. The Canadian Direct Marketing Association (CDMA) now requires its members to do opt-in solicitations: you have to explicitly sign up for a solicitation ahead of time; as opposed to opt-out, where you must specifically ask that you be removed after receiving a solicitation. The CDMA represents about 80 percent of Canadian marketers.
Meanwhile, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the United States counterpart, merely urges its members to follow good business practices and allow easy opt-out mechanisms from UCE – but not to avoid it altogether.
Membership in the CDMA or DMA acts as a seal of credibility for direct marketers. In the case of the CDMA, you might choose to only do business with companies that do direct mail and are members. If you’re an American, consider sending email to the DMA to let them know that you think they should follow the CDMA lead – before legislation forces them to.
And, shades of Heloise, here’s a simple consumer tip while we have these Web sites handy. If you’ve ever wanted to get yourself off the majority of unsolicited phone call and snail mail lists, check the Web pages below for more information about the DMA’s Telephone Preference Service and Mail Preference Service, and the CDMA’s "Do Not Mail / Do Not Call Service." They really work. (Once again, the Canadians are ahead: you can submit both telephone and snail mail bans online, where the DMA requires it through regular mail.) [GF]