A service that allows organisations, including charities, to find out whether consumers prefer to receive email rather than post has been launched with the backing of the Direct Marketing Association.
Consumers who would rather receive electronic communications can register with the Green Preference Service for free. They will be given an account that they can log into to see messages sent to them on the service.
Charities that want access to this list of consumers have to buy a licence from the Green Preference Service. This costs £750 a year plus a 5p charge for every message that is sent to each person through the service, meaning a message sent to 100 people would cost £5.
Paul Anderson, chief executive of the Green Preference Service, said there would be a reduced rate for charities, but declined to give specific details.
Charities would be able to cross-reference people with the Green Preference Service’s list to identify those they should contact by email.
Anderson said it should result in better-targeted mail. "If a prospect’s telling you they don’t want direct mail, it’s best for the charity to respect the consumer’s wishes," he said.
Chris Combemale, executive director of DMA, said it welcomed the initiative.
"This new service is designed to give consumers more choice in how companies communicate to them while at the same it helps companies reduce costs and lower carbon dioxide emissions," he said. "This appears to be a win-win scenario for both business and consumers."