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Shrinking audience for Swedish direct marketing

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11:46 CET+01:00
Direct phone calls and advertising through Swedish letterboxes are more popular than ever as sales techniques. But according to the direct marketing (DM) industry organisation Swedma, the number of Swedes to target is shrinking rapidly.

Almost a million people have now added their telephone number to a 'block list' which prevents sales people from ringing them at home.

"The number of blocked telephone numbers has almost doubled in the last year. Now we have about 960,000 numbers on the telephone block list," said Hans Wahrolén, a lawyer at Swedma.

"There has also been a rise in the number of people who want to avoid postal advertising, and we have 72,000 addresses blocked."

The telephone block list was started six years ago and is administered by an industry association called Nix. Companies who sell goods or services by telephone are required to check each number against the Nix register before making a call.

Despite this requirement, the number of companies being reported for ignoring the block list is increasing.

"We've dealt with around 300 cases in the last year, which is a rise of about 50 compared to the previous year," said Hans Wahrolén.

Wahrolén is also the secretary of the DM Committee, an ethical body overseeing direct marketing in Sweden. However, the organisation has no power to punish companies which ignore the industry guidelines.

"Although we can only make criticisms, that goes a long way. All serious companies try to follow the rules so they don't end up on the blacklist. It's a big job and now and then even the most serious companies make mistakes," said Hans Wahrolén.

During the past 12 months, Swedish direct marketing companies have carried out almost 70 million checks against the Nix register to ensure that their telephone targets are not on the block list.

But what about that more modern irritation, spam? It has been illegal to send out mass advertising by email for several years in Sweden but the country's inboxes are bombarded daily with ads for medicine, libido-enhancers, pornography and countless other goods and services.

"It's a worldwide scourge, but practically all of this spam mail comes from countries outside the EU and there's nothing we can do about it. Since the law came into force we haven't had a single case relating to spam," said Wahrolén.

Direct phone calls and advertising through Swedish letterboxes are more popular than ever as sales techniques. But according to the direct marketing (DM) industry organisation Swedma, the number of Swedes to target is shrinking rapidly.

Almost a million people have now added their telephone number to a 'block list' which prevents sales people from ringing them at home.

"The number of blocked telephone numbers has almost doubled in the last year. Now we have about 960,000 numbers on the telephone block list," said Hans Wahrolén, a lawyer at Swedma.

"There has also been a rise in the number of people who want to avoid postal advertising, and we have 72,000 addresses blocked."

The telephone block list was started six years ago and is administered by an industry association called Nix. Companies who sell goods or services by telephone are required to check each number against the Nix register before making a call.

Despite this requirement, the number of companies being reported for ignoring the block list is increasing.

"We've dealt with around 300 cases in the last year, which is a rise of about 50 compared to the previous year," said Hans Wahrolén.

Wahrolén is also the secretary of the DM Committee, an ethical body overseeing direct marketing in Sweden. However, the organisation has no power to punish companies which ignore the industry guidelines.

"Although we can only make criticisms, that goes a long way. All serious companies try to follow the rules so they don't end up on the blacklist. It's a big job and now and then even the most serious companies make mistakes," said Hans Wahrolén.

During the past 12 months, Swedish direct marketing companies have carried out almost 70 million checks against the Nix register to ensure that their telephone targets are not on the block list.

But what about that more modern irritation, spam? It has been illegal to send out mass advertising by email for several years in Sweden but the country's inboxes are bombarded daily with ads for medicine, libido-enhancers, pornography and countless other goods and services.

"It's a worldwide scourge, but practically all of this spam mail comes from countries outside the EU and there's nothing we can do about it. Since the law came into force we haven't had a single case relating to spam," said Wahrolén.

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TT/The Local

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