The SoftAd Group, creators of ChannelNet(tm), announces the 3.0 release of Ford Motor Company's DealerConnection(tm).

First developed by SoftAd in 1995, the latest release of DealerConnection gives Ford's dealers more flexibility in building and maintaining their own Web site, while still allowing Ford Motor Company to retain control over its brand. Over 5,000 Ford, Lincoln Mercury, and Volvo dealerships have been successfully launched on this microsite platform.

DealerConnection, built exclusively using Microsoft technology, connects consumers to dealer sites using a Universal Locator available from www.ford.com or www.dealerconnection.com. A sophisticated back-end publishing system with built-in work-flow processes, approvals and templates allows dealers to customize and maintain their own sites, simultaneously giving Ford the ability to manage the customer's branded experience with its products.

"We designed our solution to allow Ford to leverage corporate components and information so that their dealers receive nearly all the functionality available on ford.com for their own sites. Ford retains direction over its branding, and dealers get a professional, functionality-rich Web site with the ability to utilize Web-based tools to modify and update their content without having to write any HTML," said Paula George Tompkins, CEO and Founder of the SoftAd Group.

DealerConnection solved Ford's dilemma of how best to get its dealership partners online without compromising its own brand. DealerConnection allowed Ford and its dealers to implement a successful 2:1 marketing strategy and protect its brand image at the same time.

DealerConnection 3.0 provides Ford's dealers with new functionality -- the ability to upload and maintain inventory online and the ability to manage leads that were generated online. Enhanced flexibility provides dealers with extensive opportunity for graphical customization. The use of "skins" (themes that are separate from functionality and dictate the look and feel of the site) and quadrants (customizable areas on the page to highlight dealer-specific events and promotions) give each DealerConnection site a different appearance.

In addition, the 3.0 version of DealerConnection seamlessly integrates Ford's BuyerConnection(tm) (vehicle configuration) and Owner Services (Ford's online loyalty area) into dealer sites, completely synchronizing Ford's corporate site and the dealers' sites. The new format allows dealers to interact with consumers throughout the entire vehicle buying and ownership experience.

"DealerConnection is the perfect execution of a clicks and bricks-strategy," noted Tompkins. "Consumers are seamlessly connected from the brand site, to the dealer sites, to the physical stores -- online page views are turned into leads, and the brand image and the consumer experience is consistent and preserved throughout the process. DealerConnection enables channel cooperation and eliminates channel conflict."

The SoftAd Group offers its microsite strategy through its ChannelNet product, an e-commerce software system designed to help corporations sell intelligently online, connect their channel partners online and build loyalty. ChannelNet delivers this vision and functionality as a modular solution that enables corporations to rapidly build, implement, and grow their e-commerce presence.

About The SoftAd Group

Founded in 1985, The SoftAd Group is a leading international e-commerce solutions company headquartered in Mill Valley, Calif. with regional offices in Detroit, Chicago and London (UK). The SoftAd Group pioneered the use of the personal computer as a powerful means of promoting and selling a company's products and services. SoftAd creates e-commerce software that enables an enterprise's interactive shopping and loyalty-building programs. SoftAd's premier product, ChannelNet(tm) is targeted for Global 2000 companies that wish to enable considered purchase shopping and eliminate channel conflict in both the consumer and commercial marketplace. SoftAd has created more than 800 sales and marketing solutions for more than 200 clients, in 24 industries and 13 languages. The company's Web site is www.softad.com.