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November 02, 2006

Junk Snailmail

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Wasn't the advent of email expected to reduce the quantity of junk snailmail we'd have to deal with? Anything but, reports the New York Times' Louise Story. Last year, more than 114 billion pieces of junk mail were sent, an increase of 15 percent over five years ago. For the first time ever, the volume of "bulk mail" exceeded the volume of first class mail.

The explanation: Marketers have found that many people, feeling beleaguered by electronics, actually like junk snailmail. "As the world becomes more digital, there is a need for tangible experiences," one ad exec told Louise Story. Interesting to learn too that, while only 2.15% of mailed ads result in any customer action, that's a good enough batting average to keep the business profitable.



posted by Michael at November 2, 2006


RE: The explanation: Marketers have found that many people, feeling beleaguered by electronics, actually like junk snailmail. "As the world becomes more digital, there is a need for tangible experiences,"

This is absolute, total nonsense. A lame rationalization by a desperate industry. People hate junkmail, whether it is tangible or email (like countless spam messages for Viagra or porn). The 2.15% response is probably much like the low response rate for junk email – good enough to keep the business profitable and bad enough to keep people exasperated.

And just as it is a pain to have to go through and delete junk email, it is a pain to collect and throw out tangible junk mail. Most of the time, I just sift through the junk mail to make sure that there is not something important mixed in with the trash. I don’t think I have ever responded to junkmail to purchase anything of more than nominal value, and the only junkmail that I ever keep are grocery store circulars and the occasional fast food restaurant coupon.

By the way, some junk mail has replaced the more expensive display ads that used to regularly appear in newspapers.

Here is the significance of the decline of first class mail: about the only first class mail that I receive consists of bills, holiday cards and business communication. Since the rise of email, I have neither sent nor received a personal letter. Not a single letter. All personal communication takes place either via telephone or email.

Posted by: Alec on November 2, 2006 12:49 PM

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