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View Poll Results: Poll: Would you pay extra for a "No Junk Mail" service?
Yes I would pay 9 18.75%
No I would not pay 34 70.83%
I have an even better idea 5 10.42%
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:00 AM   #21
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Paying an agency NOT to do something rubs me the wrong way, too. The ultimate "irk" is having to pay the phone company not to publish my phone number. Does that seem legit? I'd like to publish a directory of cheats and criminals--those who pay me $5 won't get their name in it.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:40 AM   #22
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I used to get mail at my vacation condo - all junk mail because all my real mail goes to my house. Then the postmaster put a postcard in my condo mailbox requesting the names of addressees for my address. I haven't filled out the card, and all junk mail stopped.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:02 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
The postal service probably makes lots of money from junk mail.

Imagine the environmental benefit of banning junk mail.
I would call that Job security for postal employee's...
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:54 PM   #24
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Somehow, it doesn't bother me. I just bring the mail in and stop by the trash can on the way to the desk.

About once in every five years or so it's not junk mail, it's useful information about a new product that I didn't know I wanted.

And that, of course, is what the advertiser is hoping for.
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:07 PM   #25
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Here in Germany, you can put a sticker on your mail box that says Keine Werbung (no advertisements) and the postman won't put junk mail in your box.

Wonder is a solution like that is possible there?
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:30 PM   #26
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From Time Magazine and other sources (google Junk Mail Statistics):
  • Americans receive 40 pounds of junk mail each year.
  • Each household averages 848 pieces of junk mail annually.
  • 30% of the world's mail includes junk.
  • 19 billion catalogs hit mailboxes every year.
  • 44% of junk mail ends up in landfills.
Other statistics:

  • Each year, 100 million trees are used to produce junk mail;
  • 250,000 homes could be heated with one day's supply of junk mail; and
  • Americans receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail every year.

  • The production and disposal of junk mail consumes more energy than 3 million cars
  • Nearly 250,000 homes could be heated with one day’s supply of junk mail
  • More than 28 billion gallons of water are wasted to produce and recycle junk each year
  • Americans will spend an average of eight months of their lives dealing with junk mail
  • Citizens and local governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to collect and dispose of all the bulk mail that doesn’t get recycled
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:37 PM   #27
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Al, did the article say how many people in the US were employed in the junk mail industry?
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:46 PM   #28
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You gotta be kidding!
Nope, I'm serious.

I'm not a fan of junk mail, just pointing out there may be unintended consequences of a ban.
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:59 PM   #29
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You have good points, REW, and I think we're stuck with junk mail.

OTOH, to some extent, those points could be used to defend, say, the drug trade. Bad for society, but creates jobs and contributes to the economy (BMW and bling purchases).
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:03 PM   #30
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Each household averages 848 pieces of junk mail annually.

That's hard to believe. That's less than 3 pieces of junk mail per day on which mail is received. That's a whole lot less than I have ever received. I would have guessed more like 4000 pieces of junk mail per year.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:04 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
You have good points, REW, and I think we're stuck with junk mail.

OTOH, to some extent, those points could be used to defend, say, the drug trade. Bad for society, but creates jobs and contributes to the economy (BMW and bling purchases).
Al, I understand the slippery slope I'm on. Once again, I'm not a fan of junk mail, just pointing to the law of unintended consequences.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:26 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
The postal service probably makes lots of money from junk mail.

Imagine the environmental benefit of banning junk mail.
Direct mail is a $120 billion dollar industry world wide. There are many players with a vested interest in its continuation. There are design agencies, printers, offset and inkjet printer makers, and not to mention the direct mailers themselves. The company I work for is rubbing its hands waiting for the printing tech switch from offset.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:18 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
You gotta be kidding! Nope, I'm serious.
I'm not a fan of junk mail, just pointing out there may be unintended consequences of a ban.
Reminder: I'm not proposing a junk mail ban, but the ability for individuals to opt out by paying a fee. Anyone who didn't opt out would continue to receive all mailings that are sent out.

As far as the possible effects on the direct mail industry, from my POV any decrease in the amount of indiscriminately broadcast commercial mail would be not an "unintended consequence" but the hoped-for outcome. Not that I want people to be thrown out of work, but I would hope that such a high percentage of households opted out that it would no longer be economically viable to continue the terrific waste involved in selling by this method, and many of the people now engaged in the industry would find a more constructive use for their talents. When a mailing goes straight from the post office to the mailbox to the (I hope) recycle bin—or worse yet to the landfill, without ever having been opened and read, that is a total waste of all the effort, energy and raw materials that went into it. The sooner I can escape from my forced participation in that folly, the better pleased I'll be.
Even when it's information I am interested in, I'd rather get it by email. It's less hassle for me that way, plus it's less wasteful of time, energy and raw materials.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:23 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
OTOH, to some extent, those points could be used to defend, say, the drug trade. Bad for society, but creates jobs and contributes to the economy (BMW and bling purchases).
That's actually the argument used to defend the war on drugs. sure our prisons are overcrowded, we have the highest prisoner population per capita, and everyone tossed in jail is one less taxpayer, but think of all the officers and tacticians needed for drug raids and all the prisonguards and businesses that use prison slave labor.

The Roles Royce and fur coat business was also great during prohibition, but you don't see that happening now that there's no black market for alcohol.
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:07 PM   #35
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Regarding T-Al's stats on junk mail--I wonder how it would compare to commercials on broadcast TV?

Bottom line: Junk mail is an environmentally friendly way to reach customers compared to television advertising.
Derivation:
Back of the envelope: There are 2200 US TV stations. Let's say 20% are PBS, so we have 1760 commercial stations. An analog VHF station can have a max effective radiated power of either 110 kW (channels 2-6) or 350kw (channels 7-13). My observation is that the lower channels are more frequently used, so lets say the weighted avg VHF ERP is 190kW. UHF stations have a max ERP of 5500kW. (power info)

If we say 60% of the stations are VHF, 40% are UHF, then we have an average ERP for US analog TV stations of 2310kW each. If we assume the broadcast equipment/antenna is 90% efficient (?), the average station is using 2540kW to broadcast. Times 1760 commercial stations= 4470400 kW total power all the time = 3.9 x 10^10 kWh/year.

Commercials typically take up 18 minutes of each hour of programming. We'll round this down to 15 minutes per hour. So, the broadcasting of TV commercials consumes 9.7 x 10^9 kWh per year in the US.

The average US home uses 8900 kWh of electricity per year.

So, the electricity used to broadcast TV commercials (one year) in the US could power over 108,000 homes (one year). Note that this does not include the much larger amount of power consumed by the televisions that are receiving the commercials (at least junk mail doesn't cost you anything to receive!). The above figure also does not include infomercials, product placements in shows, advertisements via sports sponsorship, etc. And, we haven't even considered the environmental/ energy costs of the studio and production time for these TV ads. If we carefully tallied everything, I'll bet we could power a million homes with the juice used by TV advertising.

Junk mail is produced with renewable resources and is nearly 100% recyclable. There's no way to "recycle" that coal we burned to broadcast the commercial about the amazing wonder mop. If advertisers find it is less efficient to reach people by mail, (through some kind of well-intentioned opt-out system) we'll be driving them to use TV more--and driving our species headlong into the nightmare that is global warming climate change. Do we really want to be a part of that! I, for one, do NOT! Junk mail--support it for a greener tomorrow!
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Old 01-29-2009, 10:25 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by kyounge1956 View Post
Reminder: I'm not proposing a junk mail ban, but the ability for individuals to opt out by paying a fee. Anyone who didn't opt out would continue to receive all mailings that are sent out.

As far as the possible effects on the direct mail industry, from my POV any decrease in the amount of indiscriminately broadcast commercial mail would be not an "unintended consequence" but the hoped-for outcome. Not that I want people to be thrown out of work, but I would hope that such a high percentage of households opted out that it would no longer be economically viable to continue the terrific waste involved in selling by this method, and many of the people now engaged in the industry would find a more constructive use for their talents. When a mailing goes straight from the post office to the mailbox to the (I hope) recycle bin—or worse yet to the landfill, without ever having been opened and read, that is a total waste of all the effort, energy and raw materials that went into it. The sooner I can escape from my forced participation in that folly, the better pleased I'll be.
Even when it's information I am interested in, I'd rather get it by email. It's less hassle for me that way, plus it's less wasteful of time, energy and raw materials.
Your aim is a laudable one. It really is. I'm just stating the size of the problem you're up against. In one sense, taking on a $120 billion dollar industry is an attractive proposition. At least you're not painting your business into a niche right from the start.
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:53 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Regarding T-Al's stats on junk mail--I wonder how it would compare to commercials on broadcast TV?

Bottom line: Junk mail is an environmentally friendly way to reach customers compared to television advertising. (snip)

Junk mail is produced with renewable resources and is nearly 100% recyclable. There's no way to "recycle" that coal we burned to broadcast the commercial about the amazing wonder mop. If advertisers find it is less efficient to reach people by mail, (through some kind of well-intentioned opt-out system) we'll be driving them to use TV more--and driving our species headlong into the nightmare that is global warming climate change. Do we really want to be a part of that! I, for one, do NOT! Junk mail--support it for a greener tomorrow!
There's no way either to recycle the energy used in the manufacture of the paper, ink etc used, nor the actual printing, folding and stuffing into envelopes, nor the fuel used to ship it all over the country, nor the portion of their total fuel used by postal delivery trucks to bring it from the post office to individual mailboxes, nor the energy used to pick it up and truck it to the recycling plant, break it down and remanufacture it....Maybe it's six of one and half a dozen of the other.

I'm already "opting out" of broadcast TV commercials to the greatest extent I can—I won't be switching over to digital TV next month. I confess I didn't think of the potential environmental impact of doing so. There's just not enough on TV that I'm interested in watching to make me willing to go to even the minimal exertion involved in upgrading. And if enough people "opted out" of watching commercial television, broadcast TV advertising would also eventually fail to produce enough return profit to be economically worthwhile to sellers, and they'd think of some other way to promote their products & businesses. Ideally, I'd like to see advertising go only to people who have asked for information about the product or store.
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:58 AM   #38
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OTOH, to some extent, those points could be used to defend, say, the drug trade. Bad for society, but creates jobs and contributes to the economy (BMW and bling purchases).
Weird: look at this recent story:

The United Nations' crime and drug watchdog has indications that money made in illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis, its head was quoted as saying on Sunday.
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:00 AM   #39
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Although it goes against my curmudgeonly nature, I don't mind junk mail. I see it as my patriotic duty to accept it without complaint.

As previously mentioned, junk mail subsidizes the cost we pay for postage, plus it keeps people employed and paying SS. I don't want to pay the USPS to stop my junk mail and be responsible for the layoffs of those who manufacture paper and ink, design and print ads, and presort everything before handing it over to be mailed. And think about those people who manufacture the printing presses and delivery trucks, not to mention all the workers who deliver all that stuff.

We are trying to create jobs, not eliminate them. Right?
How's that sarcasm thing working for you?
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:07 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Regarding T-Al's stats on junk mail--I wonder how it would compare to commercials on broadcast TV?

Bottom line: Junk mail is an environmentally friendly way to reach customers compared to television advertising.
Derivation:
Back of the envelope: There are 2200 US TV stations. Let's say 20% are PBS, so we have 1760 commercial stations. An analog VHF station can have a max effective radiated power of either 110 kW (channels 2-6) or 350kw (channels 7-13). My observation is that the lower channels are more frequently used, so lets say the weighted avg VHF ERP is 190kW. UHF stations have a max ERP of 5500kW. (power info)

If we say 60% of the stations are VHF, 40% are UHF, then we have an average ERP for US analog TV stations of 2310kW each. If we assume the broadcast equipment/antenna is 90% efficient (?), the average station is using 2540kW to broadcast. Times 1760 commercial stations= 4470400 kW total power all the time = 3.9 x 10^10 kWh/year.

Commercials typically take up 18 minutes of each hour of programming. We'll round this down to 15 minutes per hour. So, the broadcasting of TV commercials consumes 9.7 x 10^9 kWh per year in the US.

The average US home uses 8900 kWh of electricity per year.

So, the electricity used to broadcast TV commercials (one year) in the US could power over 108,000 homes (one year). Note that this does not include the much larger amount of power consumed by the televisions that are receiving the commercials (at least junk mail doesn't cost you anything to receive!). The above figure also does not include infomercials, product placements in shows, advertisements via sports sponsorship, etc. And, we haven't even considered the environmental/ energy costs of the studio and production time for these TV ads. If we carefully tallied everything, I'll bet we could power a million homes with the juice used by TV advertising.

Junk mail is produced with renewable resources and is nearly 100% recyclable. There's no way to "recycle" that coal we burned to broadcast the commercial about the amazing wonder mop. If advertisers find it is less efficient to reach people by mail, (through some kind of well-intentioned opt-out system) we'll be driving them to use TV more--and driving our species headlong into the nightmare that is global warming climate change. Do we really want to be a part of that! I, for one, do NOT! Junk mail--support it for a greener tomorrow!
Good analysis.

I support junk mail, see my original posting in this thread. I enhance the value of junk mail by re-packaging in originator's included postage paid envelope, and sending it back to originator, thereby supporting my local post office. Continued job security for my favorite mail carrier.
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