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  Net Worth

Posted 3/08/2005
By Colby Horton

Shop Site of the Month

Convoy Auto Repair - San Diego
www.convoyauto.com

shop site

This site has an interactive design and navigation scheme that makes finding information easy. Customers can make an appointment online, view an automotive reference library and submit technical questions to the Convoy Auto Repair staff. A customer can also access a personal car care page that is complete with his or her vehicle's service history, read recalls and service bulletins for that car and receive service reminders. Online testimonials add to the shop's credibility.


Web Wise

New FTC Rules Can Affect Your Shop's E-marketing Efforts

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM) was passed in 2003, attempting to combat the influx of unwanted e-mail in the nation's e-mail in-boxes. The act regulates all "commercial electronic mail messages," whether unsolicited or not, and whether sent alone or in bulk. The CAN-SPAM Act does not only apply to large corporations. If your shop distributes an e-mail newsletter, or notifies customers about shop specials or service reminders, you must comply with the act as well.

When the act was initially implemented, it was primarily established to regulate "commercial" e-mail - that is, e-mail with the primary purpose of advertising or promoting a commercial product or service. The FTC has been specific on the requirements of commercial e-mails. Messages sent under this category must contain an opt-out mechanism that recipients can use to refuse future solicitations. The message must also contain a prominent disclosure that the message is an advertisement. The sender's valid physical postal address must be included in the e-mail. If your shop sends any kind of commercial e-mail, such as promotions, you must have these three components accompanying your message, even if the customer has opted to receive the messages from your shop.

Where the CAN-SPAM Act gets confusing is when messages are considered "transactional or relationship" messages. In other words, these messages are not commercial in nature, but are sent to inform. Service reminders and electronic newsletters sent to your customers are considered "transactional or relationship" messages. Until now, these types of messages were exempt from CAN-SPAM rules. But effective March 28, these messages must also comply with certain jurisdictions.

According to the new rules, all subject lines must be clear and not misleading. The e-mail must still contain some type of opt-out request. You must also note your shop's physical address somewhere within the e-mail (no post office boxes). Follow these simple rules, and you'll never worry about being in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Net Numbers

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) predicts that half of the nation's taxpayers will file their tax returns electronically this year.

Source: Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

ASA Web Ways

Need Quick Answers?

Keeping up with the demands of electronic communication efforts, ASA has implemented instant messaging technology throughout its Web site (www.asashop.org) to better serve its members' needs. Members can now initiate instant messaging technology and chat with a representative from ASA's membership department Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Central time, with no software needed. Look for the "Instant Chat" buttons throughout the site, including the Members Only area, and be connected immediately.

Hot Sites

E-Filing Your Taxes
Efile.com: www.efile.com
Express Tax Refund: www.expresstaxrefund.com
Internal Revenue Service: www.irs.gov
Online Taxes: www.onlinetaxes.com
Tax Brain: www.taxbrain.com

Colby Horton Net Worth is written by Colby Horton, ASA's electronic communications manager. He can be reached at (800) 272-7467, ext. 234, or by e-mail at colbyh@asashop.org.


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