Everyone gets junk mail. Be it in their inbox, or their snail mail box, no matter what you do, some of it always gets through. Now, a new app called Mailstop will help you reduce the pile of junk mail in your mailbox.
Someone is going to go postal on the Geico gecko. Every week it seems another unsolicited solicitation from the insurance company best known for its Aussie-accented pitch-lizard appears in my mailbox… But now, instead of hauling a pile of paper directly from the mailbox to the recycling bin, I pull out my iPhone and fire up a new app called MailStop. I snap a photo of the Geico envelope, tap the screen and beam it to Catalog Choice, a Berkeley, Calif. startup that then notifies the advertising-crazed insurer to take me off its mailing list. Within a few minutes I’ve performed a digital jujitsu on the junk mail in my mailbox. In other words, all the mail in my mailbox.
Catalog Choice has processed 22.5 million stop requests in the past five years. A mere fraction of the 85 billion pieces of junk mail that wound up in American mailboxes in 2011 alone.
That pace could quicken though, as junk mail blocking apps from Catalog Choice and competitors like PaperKarma begin to find homes on smartphones across the land.
“We have hit a point in your mailbox where the signal-to-noise ratio is out of whack,” says Chuck Teller, a former PeopleSoft executive who founded Catalog Choice in 2007. “It’s like watching an hour of TV, and there’s 58 minutes of commercials and 2 minutes of programming.”
While opting out of junk mail has been available to consumers, there has been no central one-stop do not mail registry like the Do Not Call service which people can use to stop telephone solicitations. “There’s anti-innovation in this space,” says Teller.
Catalog Choice has created a searchable online database of 10,000 brands, which includes direct links to opt out of junk mail.
As of mid-April MailStop has been downloaded more than 10,000 times since its launch in January, and Catalog Choice has processed about 105,750 stop requests.
MailStop is available now in the App Store (Free – App Link)
PaperKarma is available now in the App Store (Free – App Link)