Commercial User Policy: My $0.02

Discussion in 'Suggestion Box' started by jobu3, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    Let me say this first: I am not a commercial user. I have no paid affiliation with any manufacturer. I am not reimbursed with discounts, gear, or money for anything I do or say. I'm not even in a band right now.

    I know that the people who are paying to advertise are a little peeved that people have stuff in their sigs and whatnot.

    My take on the whole situation is that the people with the big banners up at the top and along the sides are the ones who are really advertising their stuff most efficiently. That is the stuff that really jumps out at you from every page. You have to dig a little thoughout the core (the forums) of the site to get to the sigs and the avatars and such. I'm no marketing expert, but I don't think it would detract too much from what the banners are trying to accomplish. To me, it's like getting mad that there are businesses listed in the white pages while they are putting in extra money for the big color ad in the yellow pages or the cover.

    I do agree that members, paying or otherwise, shouldn't come right out and start a thread stating we just got this xyz bass or amp in and it's for sale for this much, etc. No blatant spam. Simple as that.

    With that said, I do think that if people who are paying for the big banners were more active in the TB community, they would also see more business in return. I got turned on to alot of gear on here by people who were closely involved with the everyday forumites on a daily basis. I think it takes it down a notch when we see that a luthier had a question on an amp, or an amp builder plays these particular basses. It makes it easier and more comfortable if they are more human and more approachable to the no-talent bar band hack like me. I will certainly check out the sites from the ads (and I do), but it's the people who are really out there pitching in with information and assistance on a consistent basis that are going to get the return customers instead of the occasional half-interested casual e-mail regardless of their signature or user title (from a TB standpoint that is).

    I do appreciate this site and all the hard work that goes into it very much. It is a remarkable source of kinship, information, and for the most part, fun. I will continue to support it. I think that restricting it as much as it seems to be now might have more of a negative effect than anything though overall. :bassist:
  2. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    The problem with simply saying "no blatent spam" is that there are a million degrees and varieties of the stuff. I believe the current policy is the best solution we've got at the moment to address the need for a clear, forum-wide, fair policy that can apply to every commercial poster equally. As Ken Smith said, if I can borrow his words, "TB is for conversation and trading ideas... Sellers need to watch, listen and speak when spoken to". I believe this is what the current policy is all about.

    You know, the issue of no commercial sigs isn't set in stone, and you have a very good point... If we brought them back it would not create a huge problem with paying advertisers (the issues I had with them centered more around dealers/manuf initiating discussion about their wares). However it's a little tough for me to sell someone advertising on TalkBass when I know that his competitors are seeding the forums with small adverts for free :(

    Ken Smith also suggested that we might have a new membership class for commercial users, with a monthly fee, that would enable them the use of commercial signatures in their posts. One concern I have with this is that, when I sell banner ads I sell a set amount of exposure for a set price. The advertiser knows how many impressions etc he's receiving for his $. If we charge for a signature advert ability, the user is going to feel like he/she needs to hurry up and post everywhere he can to get that sig ad out there to as many threads as possible...

    Just some thoughts...

  3. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    I do see where you are coming from, Paul. And I have mixed feelings on people starting threads on things they deal or build. I do think there is a right way and a wrong way to do it... Posting a for sale thread woud definitely be a no-no. But everyone here does indeed love a progress thread and having some kind of influence/input over a potentially new design. It's a double-edged sword too... The more pro's, luthiers, builders, engineers, etc. that are here, the more bassists of every skill level and genre will follow. This means more exposure to the site as well as any paid avertising visible to the site.

    This is the biggest concentration of bassists anywhere. Why not use it to some kind of advantage? I think that it would be more fruitful to encourage these people to post more and be of assistance rather than limiting who can post on what. As I said before, I think that would more than likely generate them more business than any ads they could put up.

    I still think it's like getting mad over the difference btw. the white pages and the yellow pages. Or getting mad because you can't schedule the week off to take your entire line to NAMM but somebody else can. Everyone has the same opportunity to post here and I think it should be certainly moderated to a degree. But someone who gets upset that someone is posting more than them can easily remedy this: Post more themselves... Just make it worth our while to read it. I think that I'm up to about four cents now... ;)
  4. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    When I say moderated to a degree, I do not mean to say TB should less moderated than it is now. I like the fact that there is little tolerance of BS and the stress of respect for everyone and how OT remains in OT.

    I mean it in the sense of what gear is talked about and by whom. Just so long as it remains professional and respectful. We don't need to see one manufacturer bashing another.
  5. That is true - but at the same time, those posters add tremendous value to the forum in other ways. It is a huge draw for me to ask questions, and have the likes of Ken Smith, Roger Sadowsky et al speaking from their own extensive experience... it's one of the reasons I hang out here and became a Supporting Member myself.

    If they have paid up as a special "Commercial Member", then they have contributed in monetary terms to the running of the forum, and in return for exposure to their product, they give generously of their time and expertise.

    Another alternative might be to allow commercial users to have a link to their website in their sig, but the link must be through a TalkBass counter script which will count the number of clickthroughs, and to ask for a small contribution for every 1,000 clicks or something.
  6. Andy Brown

    Andy Brown Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Rhode Island
    Founder: Wing Bass
    It looks to me like the issue here zeros in on the unsolicited posting by a dealer, mfr, or rep regarding their own personal gear that in turn can be taken as spam (re: Adrian Garcia's post about his Nordy's).

    Why not create a "Dealer's Corner" under Bass Guitar Forums where the SUPPORTING Talkbass members that happen to be commercial folks can hock their wares and create threads about their own stuff?

    The guys paying for banners would have the same abilities as those that don't pay for banners, plus they'd still have their ads.

    I actually wouldn't mind seeing dealers post about good deals on overstock, announcements of new models, experiences with equipment, etc...

    Personally, I never even look at or pay attention to the banner ads. I guess it's due to 12 years looking at web sites and finding them annoying.

    I think if you take the ability to post new threads about gear away from guys like Adrian Garcia, Brian Barrett, or any of the commercial users, who contribute highly to the quality of this community, then it diminishes the experience.

    Of course, this is just my .02.
  7. I think this is what Paul is afraid of - it takes away from his ability to sell banner ads. I think the Commercial Member class is probably the best solution to this - those users are then effectively paying for the right to advertise themselves. Gold Commercial Members paying more could then have additional rights.
  8. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    EXACTLY! There are some guys on here who are very helpful and friendly who happen to work in shops or as manufacturers... Gard, Ampeg insider, Bob Lee, Mark Wright, Jorg Schroeder, Dave B. from Aguilar, Daniel Elliot, and all the luthiers all come immediately to mind.

    As long as they are not overbearing and interjecting where they are not necessarily warranted I don't see an issue. I didn't think that Adrian's personal Nordie thread was too big a deal either... I rather enjoyed it! And what about guys like Nino? He provides what seems to be an excellent non-mainstream alternative that is very affordable. In the end, I think the bassists are the ones who really profit the most from these services that you just can't get anywhere else be it obtaining information, inspiration, or gear.

    I read once that if you provide quality service (this means a good product at a reasonable price with good customer service/relations) you don't need to worry about the other guy. Let him worry about you. Why can't this be true to form on here? :eyebrow: ;)

  9. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    It's Saturday night and I'm about to pick up the bass, I'll look over these suggtions more carefully when I have time but I want to make sure we're all clear about a couple things - first that the policy allows ANYONE to create a thread to solicit user input regarding a product in development: " Threads may be started in order to solicit user input and opinions regarding a product in development."

    Second, 'works in progress' threads are allowed...

    Also, that any commercial user is free to talk about his or her wares as they please, as long as such input has been requested (basically, no unsolicited production of information benefitial to your business is the rule)

    Just wanted to clear that up :) For your reference:
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Paul, this thread has just been closed..

    People here have some other viewpoints and some the same..

    Maybe you can merge the two as ONE thread here in BG where it is mostly affected as a Sticky of course, closely monitor it and let everyone have their say.. This will help big time in people understanding the new policies as well as 'licking their wounds' !!
  11. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    ...regarding the input and the progress threads. ;)

    But I still don't see the harm in allowing websites in sigs as long as the people are open about who they are and what they deal in... Just because a user has his band's website in the sig doen't mean we will go out and buy the CD or go to a show. If they are a cool member and seem to know their stuff, I'll probably follow their link at some point... 99% of the time, I don't bother. I think the same probably rings true with a lot our commercial members. Just because it's in the sig, doesn't mean the average user is going to go to their site because of said placement... Again, I think the people who are friendly and have something substantial and worthwhile to offer are going to get the serious business from TB'ers anyways. :cool:

    I say let the sigs be sigs and enforce it more on the end of who starts the threads and for what purpose. :ninja: ;)
  12. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    well paul, i read this thread and the closed one

    i think keeping the "work in progress" threads is a good idea. these are a blast and i'd hate to see them go.

    i also think the idea of letting manufacturers, retailers, or affiliates post a link to their sites in their sig by becomning gold members or creating a new catagory for "commercial member" ($70???) is a great idea. kinda the best of both worlds. I hear what you're saying about some guys feeling liek they woudl have to post like crazy to get thier link out there, but i dont see that happening for long. to get someone interested in clicking their link that wouldnt have looked for it woudl require a post by them that would probably violate the cu policy - "hey i make the best bass in the world! everything else is crap! click my link in my sig and get entered for a free trip to vegas!!!" :D

    i think you're doing the right thing here and the "commercial member" sig thing would probably solve a lot of problems/disputes. $10 is cheap for a year's worth of additional advertising. (heck, $20 - $60 a year to use this site as a supporting or gold member is cheap!!) I'm all for capitalism, and i don't see this as opposing it. It's YOUR site, you get to call the shots, and paying advertisers should get upset if others are getting it for free.

    the idea of a "dealers corner" to advertise overstock, new products, etc. might be worth looking at in the future. It would seem that they would have to pay per post or per thread rather than just use a "commercial member" status to do so. Under the current cu policy it seems that they could start threads asking for opinions on new ideas or designs in the regular forums without violating the rules.

    i for one am happy that so many companies and employees use these forums. it gives access to a lot of info and some of them (like bob lee from qsc for example), have been extremley helpful. To me, It's the ones who jump in a humble and helpful manner, (sadowsky, dave b., jorg, whappo grande, nino, and a whole bunch of others come to mind), that have become the favorites around here, and benifit the most by having the link in the sig. Those that just come on and shamelessly self promote and don't offer much in the way of help probably dont get 1/4 of the "clicks" that the real contributors do. hopefully tweaks and compromises will enable us to have contiued access to them while keeping things fair for all of them as well.

    thanks for a great site

  13. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    Paul has provided a great service through this forum, and he has the right to do whatever he sees necessary to ensure its survival. I understand the reasoning behind the NCUP and I agree in principal with most of it. But, I'm afraid the implementation of the policy is likely going to have the effect of making this forum a less friendly and less useful resource. There is a lot of value to everyone, I feel, in seeing what builders like Carey, JP, Nino etc. are doing. I came to TalkBass as a result of a JP "in progress" thread. TB has been a very valuable resource to me in terms of getting feedback on instruments in progress, as a way of developing my craft and taking the "pulse" of a wide selection of players. Total sales generated by these threads to date = 0. As a small luthier, I would probably take advantage of a "Commercial User" fee category or "Dealer's Corner" forum as have been dicussed, providing the cost was resonable. As it stands now though, I will probably take my on-line participation elsewhere, rather than try and sort out what is and is not acceptable to post, and not really being able to let people know who I am and what I do.

    My $0.02. And again, I respect and support Paul's reasons for doing this; it's just that for me at least, the net effect is to make TB a less welcoming and less helpful place.
  14. Stu L.

    Stu L. Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    Sorry to bring up an old thread. But I have to agree with Tim. As a retail store owner, who like Tim has never sold anything business-wise on TB, I feel limited with what I can and can't do.

    My favorite part of these forums is the classifieds. But now that under my username it says I own a shop, I doubt I can post there anymore. It doesn't matter that in a few years on TB I have never sold store stock, just my personal equipment. A few days ago I responded to a thread where someone was looking for an Ampeg cab. I've had one for about 5 years. I've owned my store for 7 months. The thread is now gone, and I feel that someone might have thought I was hocking store stock.

    There has to be limits, I agree. However, I've never listed my webpage on here. When threads have come up on where to go in Texas for gear, I don't hop in. What can be done for those of us that DO follow the rules?
  15. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Stu, was this in the Wanted forum? If it was, it wasn't deleted by a mod...
  16. Stu L.

    Stu L. Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    Yes, and it is entirely possible that the poster took it down. I don't know. Ken, I don't want you to think that my other post here was against you, or any other mod. You guys are doing great work. But with this new policy I think people that don't know me will be afraid to do business with me, thinking I'm just out to hock gear. Sorry for any confusion.
  17. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    Stu, I didn't take it that way. Can you PM me and tell me more about the thread? Now I'm curious and want to check it out.
  18. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Okay, so since the NCUP has been introduced i've noticed that a lot of the regular "commercial users" who used to post very frequently at TB (mainly in the BG forums) have not been posting as frequently. Has anyone noticed this?

    Is this a direct result of the NCUP? I dont seem to recall many of the posts before the NCUP came into effect being ones which would not be possible under the NCUP. That is, it didnt appear to me that many posting habits needed to change - just signatures etc.

    Have we lost an experienced chunk of our userbass because of the NCUP, or is this just post-namm holiday season?
  19. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    Given some of the responses via email, PM etc. from commercial users I believe the wording of the policy is scaring off a lot of people - many have the idea that they cannot post about their products AT ALL. I'm changing the wording of the policy now to hopefully make things more clear.
  20. jobu3

    jobu3 Artist formerly known as Big Joe Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    Mountain Top, PA
    I think the clarification is certainly better. I didn't get scared when I read it. :shudders: :cool: