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Acronyms -- they're everywhere. Here's a jaundiced look at some of the new coinages you may have come across lately -- or might just come across very soon -- along with our take on whether you should really care.

CPO: Large companies are increasingly thinking it necessary to appoint a "corporate privacy officer," or CPO. CPOs are half watchdog, half ombudsman; they guard against privacy blunders that could trigger lawsuits. Marriott has a CPO. So does American Express. Most small companies don't and probably won't, but someone high up -- probably the CEO -- should be on top of privacy issues. Check out the new Association of Corporate Privacy Officers (through www.pandab.org) for workshops and ideas.

Should you care? About privacy? Yup. About hiring a CPO? Not unless you're Marriott.

HTML E-mail: Your Web site is created in HTML, or hypertext markup language. Now your E-mail newsletter can be in HTML format, too. A well-designed HTML newsletter will generate traffic to your Web site and is pretty cheap to create, and the results are easy to track. The downside: some people hate HTML E-mail because their computers read it very slowly. But services like MessageReach.com can send your mail simultaneously in plain text, HTML E-mail, and an America Online variant of HTML in an attempt to make everyone happy.

Should you care? Probably, since E-mail seems to be the only form of online marketing that really works.

XBRL: When you renewed your line of credit, did you pay someone to transcribe financial data onto the bank's forms and hover over a copier so you would have dupes? XBRL -- which stands for extensible business reporting language -- is an electronic method for transferring financial information from your computer to anyone who needs numbers from you. It promises to save time and money -- and cut mistakes.

Should you care? XBRL is good to know about. But if it works as well as its proponents say, you ultimately won't even need to know it's there.

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