The DMA as Your Competitor
By Denny Hatch
In March 1991, I received a mailing from the Direct Marketing Association (of which I was a member) with the following lead:
Dear DMA Member, how many magazines and newspapers cross your desk each week? If you are like many busy direct marketers, you probably still have the last three issues of DM News [also a DMA member], along with various other trade publications, piled in your in-box.
The offer was for a subscription to Direct Link that would do away the need to subscribe to any of 100 trade journals. Instead, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) would provide "a concise, personalized report on any topic of your choice"—100-word to 300-word summaries of articles of interest pirated from industry publications. If you wanted the full story, it would be furnished for extra money. One of the publications offered was WHO'S MAILING WHAT!, a newsletter my wife, Peggy, and I were publishing with Paul Goldberg as our business partner.
I never granted the DMA permission to steal my material. I say "steal," because the DMA never offered to pay any royalties. I raised hell, firing off angry letters to the other direct marketing media and the DMA directors threatening to sue the pants off them for copyright infringement. DMA (then) CEO Jonah Gitlitz dismissed me by saying I was damn lucky to be included. Eventually the DMA dropped it.
Fast forward to the 1990s when I was president of this publication. The DMA announced it would be launching a new direct marketing magazine and competing for advertisers with Target Marketing, Direct and DM News—all three of us being dues-paying members of the DMA. I went to see Bob Weintzen, then head of the association, and said to him, "If you start a new magazine in direct competition with Target Marketing, I will be very pissed off."