Beyond email – and around spam filters … Valentine’s Day for the love-lost … SMEs’ net advantage … New BlackBerry

Beyond email: a new way to get your message out

British company elertz ( has come up with a way of enabling organisations to get their message out without using emails, which are increasingly blocked by spam filters, reports IT Wire

Users download a new toolbar for their web browser, and sign up to receive information from organisations using the elertz system. Then, whenever new information is available from that organization, a red star flashes in the user’s toolbar. The user clicks on star to view their bookmarks and the elertz bookmark that has an outstanding notification will have a red star. The user then clicks on this bookmark to view the announcement.

The service is free to distributors and recipients. Elertz generates its revenue from third-party advertisers, whose ads appear within the toolbar of the browser. Contextual ads are trigged when users access certain high-profile websites, such as British Airways, or whenever they enter a search term into certain popular search engines such as msn, yahoo, Google and Ask.

Users can also opt to receive, for a fee, an SMS alert when new information arrives and they are offline. Information providers receive a share of the SMS fee.

Users are charged £10, $US20 or €15, depending on territory, for a batch of 100 SMS credits. In addition, a partner website can offer up to 10 SMS text messages free for each new user that installs the toolbar


For romantics without lovers on Valentine’s Day

Chocolate manufacturer Altoids has opened three temporary retail outlets in the leadup to Valentine’s Day: offering love-lost consumers a refuge from Valentine’s Day hype, reports

Altoids Curious and Original Chocolate Shoppes have touched down in Chicago, Miami and New York, and will feature various activities, from Therapeutic Crafts for the Broken-Hearted, with free ‘Love Stinks’ needlepoint kits, to Love Lost Readings. The main feature, however, is letting customers sample new Altoids Dark Chocolate Dipped Mints, accompanied by free lattes.

The concept is hat-trick of marketing trends: pop-up retail, combined with sympvertising and topped off with tryvertising.


SMEs’ net advantage in the US

Fast-growing private companies use social networking and blogs much more than Fortune 500 companies, according to new research, reports

The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research surveyed companies from the 2006 Inc. 500 list, to gauge the level of familiarity and usage of six forms of social media – blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking and wikis. Out of 121 respondents, generally managers and other senior-level executives, 42% claimed to be “very familiar” with social networking, followed by 38% with message boards and 31% with blogging.

Across the board, respondents were familiar with all types of social media, including 16% being very familiar with wikis, which are typically a lesser-known type of social media on average.


IT News: New model BlackBerry on its way

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd will unveil a new version of its top-end e-mail phone for business users, replacing the signature side navigation wheel with a front trackball that first appeared last year on the consumer-oriented BlackBerry Pearl, reports The San Francisco Examiner.

The BlackBerry 8800 will be offered in the United States by AT&T Inc’s Cingular Wireless, from February 21, priced at $US300 with a two-year contract commitment.


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