We at MNN are huge fans of reducing junk mail
-- and one of the best tools for stopping the constant flow of unwanted paper waste is Catalog Choice
, a nonprofit website that lets you opt out of catalogs and mailers. But as diligent as you may have been about taking advantage of Catalog Choice's free service, carefully opting out from all those companies sending you brochures, your mailbox may still be getting a trickle of unwanted mail -- thanks to third party companies that don't send you mail directly.
These third party companies basically collect people's information from a whole variety of sources to sell targeted lists to companies seeking to tap into a specific demographic. Get on these lists and you open your mailbox up to all sorts of junk mail from companies you may never even have heard of.
Now, Catalog Choice has launched a new service to get your contact information off the companies from those third party companies. Dubbed the Unlisting Service
, this new program is described by Catalog Choice
as a "valet" service that works "to suppress your name and personal information from companies who don’t mail to you directly."
The good news: Sign up for the Unlisting Service, and you can sit back and relax while Catalog Choice does its junk mail busting work! The bad news, at least for cheapskates: The Unlisting Service costs $20 a year. Similar services like 41 Pounds
have been charging de-junk-mailing fees for years, but the $20 fee is a first for Catalog Choice, which until now has been an entirely free service.
Rest assured that Catalog Choice's opt-out service, which lets you decline mail from specific companies, remains free. With just the free service, you'll likely keep getting the occasional piece of junk mail from random companies that have bought lists from third party companies -- and at that point, you can use Catalog Choice opt to stop getting mail from those random companies via the free service. But to stop the unsolicited junk mail before it even starts, sign up for the Unlisting Service.