Opting Out

One mailbox stuffed with junk mail

We all recall a donation to a good cause, only to have other good causes solicit you from that moment forward. That is because your information (name, address) is traded, sold, leased to other marketing companies who will then use this to solicit you in turn.

Many might feel somewhat offended or even indignant for not having been asked to participate in something in the first place, thereby placing the burden on them to have to OPT-OUT. The inverse would be a considered an OPT-IN system, where you would have to give your express permission to be contacted, before anyone can do so.

As we shall see, opting-out works great in a country like the United States where Freedom of Speech needs to be carefully weighed against the Right to Privacy.


Currently the only way to prevent a piece of mail being mailed to an addressee is for the addressee to opt-out from receiving it in the first place.

Our campaign to have addressees inform their USPS carrier they do no longer wish to receive marking mail categorically merely pushes mail pieces back 'into the channel' so to speak, as it does not prevent it from being mailed out to start with.

The way it currently works is that the USPS merely acts as a impartial carrier: a customer pays the USPS to mail something, and the USPS delivers it. But in our view, the USPS is not an innocent bystander in this transaction as the USPS is in fact aggressively offering extremely low postal rates, significantly lower than First Class mail, and thus thereby contributing to total mail volumes itself.

As we lay out in Our Vision we implore the USPS to create a Do-not-Mail registry which would provide an economical (and hopefully moral) incentive where everyone involved benefits, from mailer, to carrier, to USPS and addressee.

The Opting Out landscape

Opting out from senders is currently the only way to be removed from mailing list, but it has become tedious, time consuming and costly. There are a lot of frustrated people out there to the point where one person even created a blog to document his journey of opting out of all junkmail he received!

Additionally, there are a lot of blogs, websites and other pages (here, here, here) informing you how you can opt-out. Below we present a list with links with the biggest offenders, and how to opt-out of the most common types of advertising mail


The USPS provides some guidelines and options are regarding refusing unwanted mail.

Of note is that while the USPS mentions that mail 'may be refused when it's offered for delivery", it quickly moves to discuss the mechanics of what to do if you'd like to refuse after it's been delivered. In the Domestic Mail Manual section 508.1 it lays out these both options though.

USPS on opting out

It's is exactly the 'When it's being offered for delivery' part that our sticker aims at, precisely by informing the USPS carrier you do not wish to receive any such mail.

National do not mail list



The Data & Marketing Association (formerly, Direct Marketing Association), also known as the DMA is a trade organization for marketers. Although headquartered in the United States, its members include companies from 48 other countries, including half of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as many nonprofit organizations. The DMA seeks to advance all forms of direct marketing.

The DMA's members agreed to abide by peoples preference when it comes to receiving marketing mail. There is a $2.00 fee payable (for a 10 year period) when registering to opt-out (!!!).


Credit card offers:

Who doesn't love getting yet another credit card offer? - said no one ever.

Yet, some people probably do, because the offers keep pouring in. The industry offers a way to opt-out however.



Catalogs, catalogs, catalogs...... many many many catalogs!

Lands’ End, L.L. Bean, Oriental Trading Company, Woman Within, Williams-Sonoma, Orvis Company, CDW Corporation, Pottery Barn, Eddie Bauer and many many more. Some we like, some we don't but all of them are mailed to us frequently. Most notable missing from this list are Victoria's secret and Ikea, as they have opted to go a digital route only (here and here).

There is a way to unsubscribe from all catalogs. It's free to do, but they also offer an unlisting service for $20 which will make sure that your name and address, and up to three others, are taken off future marketing lists (Wow). This will ensure that 'your information isn’t sold to other marketing companies'. (Wow)



Valpak is a direct marketing company owned by Platinum Equity. Valpak provides print, mobile and online advertising solutions and coupons. Annually, Valpak distributes some 20 billion coupons in more than 500 million envelopes.


RedPlum was the consumer-facing brand of Valassis. According to the company, RedPlum's newspaper inserts and direct mailings reach more than 100 million consumers a week.

In 2018, RetailMeNot became a partner in Valassis' FSI holdings, renaming RedPlum to RetailMeNot Everyday.


Yellow pages

Ahhh... the Yellow Pages... so 1980's! We did love them with that distinct flimsy yellow paper.


Marketing companies

There are a ton of marketing companies who provide marketing services. The bigger ones allow you to opt out



PaperKarma is an app-based tool to help with unsubscribing you from unwanted mail, by simply taking a picture of it. They will then work to get you off that sender's mail list. The app was free for a while but nowadays costs $3.99/month

Paperkarma: https://www.paperkarma.com/


Our vision

Please read our Our Vision statement where we implore the USPS to create a Do-not-Mail registry which would provide an economical (and hopefully moral) incentive where everyone involved benefits, from mailer, to carrier, to USPS and addressee.