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By Mike Barnett

RISMEDIA, Feb. 20, 2008-Today, with e-mail becoming a primary form of communication, we have learned that you must respond quickly to an inquiry because that is what is expected from the sender of the e-mail. In fact, some studies indicate that a response for requested materials (maybe information on a listing) is expected within 17-20 minutes.

The Internet has created a “now” mentality where everyone wants almost instant results. Because many don’t check e-mail frequently enough to keep up with demands of the Internet-empowered consumer, and because most real estate professionals are on the go, the use of auto-responders has become the choice of many to “reply quickly” to inquiries. While auto-responders are an excellent tool, they are not appropriate in some instances. One of the main problems with the use of auto-responders is that they are sent as a reply to each and every message that arrives in your Inbox (that is their basic function).

While we still want to have the appearance of a fast response, we might not want an auto-response for each and every piece of inbound e-mail.

For instance, let’s say you are a member of an online community. When you receive an e-mail from the community, an auto-responder will be returned to the community.

How is this bad? Well, most communities will delete members who use an auto-responder as they clog the system with irrelevant postings, so you can’t even be a member in those communities. What most communities do, in fact, is not accept postings in e-mail format, forcing the user to go to the Web to contribute to the community. If you do use one of the few communities that allows e-mail contributions and auto-responders, you are forcing the community editors to have to create rules to block your auto-responders (which is not easy to do for each and every member). This is the main reason why most large communities don’t even allow e-mail to be sent from members with auto-responders.

So, how do we subscribe to different communities and still use auto-responders? We can do this with three steps:

1. Create an alias address.

2. Create a new mailbox.

3. Create a rule. Here is an example.

Let’s say you are a member of RealTalk (or just signing up for the community). If so, I would suggest you create an e-mail alias for the community like community@YourDomain.com or in this instance, realtalk@YourDomain.com. Then, I suggest you create a mailbox for your community. Maybe in this instance we can call it RealTalk.

Lastly, you then create a rule to send e-mail that is addressed to this community (RealTalk@YourDomain.com) to the RealTalk mailbox.

The difference being that the mailbox “RealTalk” will not have an auto-responder, so you can be in good graces with the different communities and their managers.

You say that your e-mail host doesn’t allow for aliases or mailboxes or rules? If not, then I suggest visiting http://e-mailProducts.InternetCrusade.com and checking out our e-mailPlus product. Or, you can call us at (866) 377-0627. e-mailPlus is the real deal with unlimited aliases, unlimited mailboxes, unlimited rules (in fact, unlimited most everything).

I am sure some of you must have questions about the use of auto-responders. If so, don’t hesitate to send questions to visit the e-mail Heaven public community on www.RealTown.com to review other questions and answers. Mike Barnett is CTO and vice president of technology for InternetCrusade.

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