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.