Free Alternative to Outlook Targets Small-Business Owners
BY Leslie Taylor
A weekly look at the latest products and services designed to help you run a better business.
BlueTie, a provider of e-mail and calendaring services that could function as an alternative to Microsoft Outlook, announced Monday that it has begun offering its online service for free.
Unlike other free Web-based mail services like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Hotmail or Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Gmail, BlueTie will not generate revenue through advertising -- no banner or other kinds of ads will appear on the service's site. Instead, BlueTie will share in the revenue of its partners, companies like Orbitz and Constant Contact, who will offer users optional small-business services such as the ability to book travel, send and receive faxes, and purchase office supplies from within the application.
BlueTie offers spam- and virus-protected e-mail accounts that can be personalized to your domain name. The free service supports 20 users per account and offers 5 GB of e-mail and file storage per user. A professional version, which costs $4.99 per month, allows 10 GB of storage per user and unlimited users per domain name.
Government Contracts Made Easy?
Small businesses must navigate a daunting maze of government agencies to make sure they are in compliance with all the federal regulations regarding taxes, immigration, workplace safety, environmental requirements and other issues. A new government website seeks to ease burden and encourage greater compliance.
Business.gov, which is managed by the Small Business Administration in partnership with 21 government agencies, now compiles all necessary compliance information -- including forms and contracts -- in one place.
Launched in 2004 as a source of general information for small-business owners, Business.gov relaunched this month as a comprehensive repository for specific information about how to comply with government regulations.
Small businesses spend 45% more per employee than larger companies to comply with regulations, according to the SBA.
In the future, state and municipal government compliance information will be added to the site.
Make Your Online Ads Sing
Having trouble setting up your pay-per-click advertising campaign? The newly-launched PPC (pay-per-click) Advertising Hotline offers free advice and tips on how to optimize your Google or Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) pay-per-click ads.
Each week, people who call the hotline will hear a new three-to-five minute recorded message from Roger Hall, a freelance online copywriter and the hotline's director. The messages will cover topics such as how to write an ad that generates a high-volume response and how to stretch your advertising budget. The hotline is free -- only regular calling rates apply.