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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013

Junk mail being sent to you with the help of data miners



By Clark Howard


They don't call it junk mail for nothing.

The amount of bulk mail you see in your mailbox will climb by a great deal if the United States Postal Service (USPS) has its way. Facing a massive debt, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe is actually making appeals to bulk mail customers and asking them to look at increasing the amount of mailings they do.

Adding to the onslaught is the use of data mining to make junk mail more profitable for direct marketers. They're using technology that's similar to what online marketers use to snoop on you as you surf. Then they send targeted ads your way based on the dossier they build on you.

Only now it's targeted junk mail in your real mailbox!

It's shocking how little there is of first class mail anymore these days. It's estimated that 55% of all mail is now direct marketing junk mail. Receipt and payment of bills is becoming almost entirely electronic. There are still some holdouts out there, but they're few and far between.

I just helped my 13-year-old teenager open her first checking account. The checks came in the mail and I was flabbergasted when I showed her and she looked at me like, "What are these, Dad?" In her 13 years, she's never seen a paper check. They haven't been a part of her life at all.

My take is the USPS needs to look at everything from how it handles mail to how often it delivers that mail to every other facet of their business. Everything involved needs to be put on the table as they look to tame their budget. The Congress should butt out.

Besides, is there anything your U.S. Congressman or woman has done lately that is actually a good thing for the country? Why are they messing with the USPS?