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Hallmark helps out with holiday card etiquette

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Hallmark Business Expressions calls it "the most blunderful time of the year." Rather than spreading cheer and good will, Hallmark said, some companies can strain rather than strengthen business relationships with customers, prospects, employees and partners if they fail to follow proper card-sending etiquette. That's why the b-to-b division of the greeting card leader has developed 12 tips for mailing business holiday cards. Among them, Hallmark recommends that holiday greeting cards should be more formal than cards for family and friends, and messages should be brief and secular unless you are certain of the recipient's religious faith. In addition, Hallmark advises one of the best ways to get attention is to be the early bird. Mailing cards just before Thanksgiving will ensure your wishes are delivered before the recipients take time off. Other etiquette guidelines include signing each card personally and hand-addressing envelopes rather than using preprinted labels. Finally, e-mail is a no-no, so Hallmark recommends opting out of e-mail. An electronic greeting is a poor substitute for a real greeting card, it says, since sending holiday greetings is all about taking time to remember those who have helped grow your business. Read all 12 tips at www.businessgreetings.com/hbe/tips.do . -Carol Krol

Josh Quittner, editor of Time Inc.'s Business 2.0, is turning tradition on its head. Quittner, former editor of Time.com, is asking all 15 of his writers and editors to create their own blogs, which Time Inc. will try to monetize. Attempting to make money on blogging is certainly not novel. But what is unusual is the fact that Business 2.0 bloggers will be paid based on the amount of traffic their individual blogs generate. For every 100,000 page views, writers will garner a "few hundred dollars," according to Quittner. "Readers expect us to eat our own dog food," he said. "This magazine is all about technology and entrepreneurism, and [readers] expect us to pull the trigger first and ask questions later." He added that the blogs will "reflect well on the [Business 2.0] brand and create better contact with customers and, if successful, generate more revenue ....The most exciting stuff in the business world today is happening in media, and we should be living that as well as writing about it." Bloggers are already posting a few items a day. All of the blogs are being streamed onto an über blog called Beta (http://business2.blogs.com). Total investment for the project: less than $10,000. Quittner said the price was right. "If it works, it could be a model for all magazines, and, in a meaningful way, newspapers. I can definitely see a day when all journalists are given nothing more than a place to work, a platform and a percentage of traffic," he said. "And if it doesn't work, we learned a lot about new media." -Matthew Schwartz

In a bid to back up his claim of making "The World's Toughest ATVs," Polaris Industries CEO Tom Tiller last month challenged the CEOs of rival ATV manufacturers to a head-to-head riding competition. The contest, called the Duel, was created by Polaris ad agency McKinney, Durham, N.C. Tiller issued the challenge in a TV spot that ran on VERSUS (previously Outdoor Life Network), as well as a personal letter to competitors including Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, BRP and Arctic Cat. The contest was also promoted through online and guerrilla marketing. However, none of Polaris' competitors accepted the challenge, so Polaris claimed victory. Polaris continues to generate interest in the event through an online community at www.polarisduel.com, where readers can blog, view Tiller's victory speech and challenge friends to a riding duel. -Kate Maddox

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