February 24, 2021

Bucks Blog: Updater.com Aims to Simplify Moving and Stop Junk Mail

About 18 months ago, David Greenberg was a corporate lawyer in the midst of relocating and notifying contacts of his new address. “I was moving and creating a list of all the places I needed to reach out to,” he recalled. “I realized it was going to take me a couple of hours. I figured there must be a good Internet site to help, but I didn’t find it.”

So, he decided to create the site himself. Updater.com had its debut in July and expects to move out of its beta-testing stage shortly.

Originally aimed at helping people who are moving update their mailing contacts, the site has evolved into a service to manage use of your snail mail address. It also hopes to stem the relentless tide of catalogs and junk mail filling your home mailbox. “I’m building the site I was looking for a year and a half ago,” Mr. Greenberg says.

Various Web sites — Catalog Choice, for instance — already offer to help reduce junk mail. Mr. Greenberg says his site aims to be a comprehensive mail-management service, making it easier to update your address when moving, as well as to limit junk mail. “We’ll notify any mailer you tell us to, to not send you mail in the future,” he says.

Updater offers two fee-based services to consumers. The first, called Address Change, costs $1.99. With this option, Updater files a change of address form on your behalf with the Postal Service and sends updates to contacts that send you mail. (The company confirms your identity by matching your address to the address of record for your credit card.)

You can select the contacts to be notified by choosing from a menu option or add information yourself if the organization isn’t listed. Updater uses various methods to notify contacts of your new address, including e-mail, fax and even snail mail requests. “We reach out for you and update your records,” he says.

Updater’s list includes newspapers, magazines, catalogs, colleges and professional organizations; one big limitation is that it doesn’t yet include companies that send bills or financial statements, like credit card companies. Those types of businesses have unique security requirements, Mr. Greenberg explained, so it is taking longer to include them in Updater’s network. “In the very near future, however, we will process such requests,” he said in a follow-up e-mail.

The second service, Address Privacy, costs $14.99 for three years. (It also includes the Address Change service). This option aims to help keep you off of major direct mail marketing lists and can create a sort of spam filter for your paper mail.

How does Updater do this? Typically when you move, you file a permanent change-of-address form with the Postal Service. That step activates a forwarding service that redirects your mail to your new address for up to 12 months; it’s up to you to contact your correspondents and update your information with them.

Meanwhile, your new address is made available to marketers, a step aimed at preventing incorrectly addressed mail. But the result is that marketers can continue mailing pitches and promotions to your new address. “It’s the root cause of junk mail,” says Mr. Greenberg.

With Address Privacy, however,  you can in effect authorize Updater to instead file two consecutive, temporary change of address forms, good for six months each, on your behalf with the Postal Service. This activates the forwarding function, but the new address isn’t placed on the National Change of Address list available to marketers. Updater says its practices fully complies with Postal Service protocols.

Marketers can still obtain your address in other ways, however. So if there’s a specific company or catalog you want to stop, you can log on to Updater and fill out a “do not mail” request, and Updater will notify the mailer. Some data brokers require your signature to stop mail; in that case, Updater mails you the correct form along with a prestamped, preaddressed envelope so you can complete the request yourself.

Have you tried to stop junk mail? What steps have you taken, and were they effective?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=6eb4923b890a26bd4db9ac5756abaaa5

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