1 min Read
April 11, 2012

Unsubscribe IRL

Big Duck

I have a favorite new app. It’s called PaperKarma, and it’s like a big fat unsubscribe button for paper junk mail.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Pick up your snail mail.
  2. Rifle through it looking for the good bits (you know: letters from home, unexpected checks, the Williams-Sonoma catalogue*).
  3. Realize sadly that there are no good bits–it’s all junk mail.
  4. Pull out your smartphone and open the PaperKarma app.
  5. Take a picture of each piece of junk.
  6. Sit back smugly and wait for their “semi-automated robot army” to identify the sender and unsubscribe you from their list.

Not only is it dead simple and super fun (somewhat confusingly, I now look forward to getting junk mail, just so I can unsubscribe from it), it also takes a teeny tiny step toward saving the planet, by (hopefully) reducing the amount of paper that goes straight into the recycling without ever being read.

But PaperKarma also gets me thinking. If services like this take off, and unsubscribing from direct mail becomes as easy as taking a photo, what does it mean for nonprofits’ direct mail programs? Is it all the more reason to start testing innovative new approaches to make sure your direct mail stands out? Will “unsubscription” rates become a regular part of direct mail testing? Or will it make no difference at all? Let me know what you think in the comments.

* Such beautiful, unnecessary kitchenwares! Such hideous linens! Such prices!