If you utilize e-mail marketing to prospective customers, make sure you don’t become an offensive spammer. There are a few simple rules to follow that can make a difference between happy customers and angry spam recipients. These rules are outlined in the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) CAN SPAM Act, which went into effect January 1, 2004. The CAN SPAM Act applies to commercial and pornographic electronic messaging and carries penalties for non-compliance of up to $11,000. Learn more about the CAN SPAM Act at www.ftc.gov/spam, including how to turn in offenders.
If you’re a long-time Getting Informed reader, you will remember multiple previous references to the importance of web statistics, or stats, in understanding the effectiveness of your web site. In the past, most web site owners were just happy to see that cheesy hit counter increasing…you know, the one that looked like a digital readout. Today, it seems that the statistics being provided are bigger and better—and quite overwhelming for most site owners. And just to confuse things, the term analytics comes along to see if you’re paying attention. Analytics are statistics in a way that speaks to the average person rather than to the classic statistician. In short, analytics are where the rubber meets the road. But for the purposes of this discussion, information about site viewing data will be called statistics.
I don’t often use my column to vent, but between experiencing some really bad customer service and listening to a vintage Clark Howard radio episode over the last several weeks, I feel compelled to put an issue on the table—customer no-service. I’ll admit, I’m warped about this topic because I worked in telephone user support for Digital Equipment Corporation for about three years, so giving bad customer service was just not an option. In fact, the extremely high standard of customer service may well be one of the reasons Digital couldn’t hold on in the contemporary marketplace. Now isn’t that a commentary on the sad state of affairs?
Several months ago, I wrote an article with information from the FTC about SPAM regulations. Since then, I’ve found their web site to be a treasure trove of information about Internet fraud. As problematic as SPAM and Internet cons are, it’s comforting to know that the Consumer Sentinel, a consumer fraud database, tracks the cons and the con artists. According to the FTC, here’s what online consumers are complaining about most: Internet Auctions The Bait: Shop in a “virtual marketplace” that offers a huge selection of products at great deals. The Catch: After sending their money, consumers say they’ve received...