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New Commercial User (anti-spam) Policy DRAFT [input welcome]

Discussion in 'Suggestion Box' started by paul, Dec 8, 2004.


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  1. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    Texas
    Well since I'm soliciting suggestions regarding policy I'll throw this into my own suggestion box. Here goes:

    I have decided that a new commercial user policy, or 'anti-spam' policy is needed for the TalkBass forums. This new policy has been pursued for several reasons, including the facts that:

    - As our visibility has increased in the bass world, more commercial users (retailers, manufacturers, builders) are participating in the forums than ever before.

    - Our paying advertisers support TalkBass by purchasing ad spots to place their brand in front of the TalkBass crowd - Several advertisers have lately expressed frustration with some 'loopholes' that provide free advertising to commercial forum participants (seeding the forums with commercial links via user signatures, for example).

    - Several commercial users and moderators have become frustrated by the lack of a fair, detailed policy that applies equally to all commercial posters, whether they be small builders, small manufacturers, large manufacturers, or dealers.

    Constructing a new policy that would best serve TalkBass was no easy task. Our current forum rules have stood for some time, and I was afraid of taking away some of what genuinely adds to TalkBass - such as the ability to get info 'from the horse's mouth', from manufacturers, or to see the latest project in development by a resident luthier. However over the course of last summer it became apparent that if TalkBass is going to remain financially stable over the years to come, respected as an unbiased resource, and not totally turn away those many commercial users who are in fact an asset to this community, a new policy would have to be drafted.

    This policy is a DRAFT ONLY at this point, and is NOT POLICY YET. There are some areas that may need some work yet. The main points of this policy are fairly solidified, however if you have conerns, please feel free to voice them.

    Thanks!
     
  2. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    Texas
    <p><br> As a commercial user utilizing the free public forums of TalkBass, please make all efforts to follow these guidelines, in fairness to those who choose to pursue legitmate paid advertising, and who keep this site online with their support. <br> <br> <strong>Definitions:<br> </strong><br> <strong>Commercial User</strong>: Any registered TalkBass member who: <br> <br> A) Owns or operates a music-related business. <p>B) Is employed by a music-related business <br> <br> C) Produces and sells music related merchandise. HOWEVER: &nbsp;&nbsp;<br> You are NOT considered a commercial user if you are not described by points A and B above, and ALL of the following are true: &nbsp;&nbsp;<br> - You do not operate or advertise a commercial website &nbsp;&nbsp;<br> - You do not operate or advertise a physical storefront &nbsp;&nbsp;<br> - You do not individually produce or sell music-related products under a brand name or hold a business license <strong><br> <br> Commercial User Policy: </strong> <p>--Commercial users must fully disclose their affiliation in their USER TITLE. Please use a format similar to the following examples: <br> <br> Builder: XYZ Basses <br> Manufacturer: XYZ Amps <br> Retailer: XYZ Bass Supplies &amp; Accessories <br> <br> If you are a Supporting Member, Gold Supporting Member, or Moderator, you can input your own usertitle in the &quot;My TalkBass&quot; user control panel area. If you are a 'registered user', please contact the board admin to set this for you. <br> <strong><br> </strong>--Commercial users must refrain from including any text or links relating to their business in their profile signature. <br> <strong><br> Forum Participation Guildelines and Restrictions: </strong> <p>--Under no circumstances should a commercial user initiate discussion about their business, or about a product or service which they sell, distribute, or produce. Reason: doing so takes advantage of the public forums for commerical gain, and devalues paid advertising vehicles which help to keep TB online. <p>--Commercial users are welcome to contribute posts which pertain to their business, product, etc., but must limit such discussion to providing only that information which has been specifically requested, or to correct misinformation. <p>--Pricing information and other sales dialogue must be confined to private conversations with TB users (PM or email). <p>--Commercial users may not use the TalkBass Classifieds to post products or services <p>--Please be honest when representing yourself on TalkBass.com. Using two or more user accounts concurrently is prohibited. If you operate duplicate user accounts on TalkBass and post as a shill, or post in a manner that hides your commercial affiliation, the entire posting history of all your accounts will be wiped from TalkBass, and the action will be made public. TalkBass.com reserves the right to check/verify all incoming internet IP addresses for verification.<br> <br> <strong>Exceptions </strong><br> <br> Threads may be started in order to solicit user input and opinions regarding a product in development. Any abuse of this exception will not be tolerated. <br> <br> Users may include information and links which promote and sell sound recordings in their profile signature. <br> &nbsp; <br> Luthiers/builders may post “Works in Progress” threads in the Luthier's Corner Forum. These are threads which detail the creation of an instrument, and must be non-commercial in nature (no sales, pricing info, etc). <p><strong>A couple examples: </strong> <p>If you are a manufacturer and a user posts a question about your product, you may post a reply containing only such information as requested. However, if a user asks a general question such as &quot;what kind of bass has feature A and B&quot; or &quot;what's a good amp for...&quot;, please do not suggest your product in reply. <br> <br> Similarly, if you are a retailer and a user asks a question specifically about your retail business, you may reply with such information. But if a user asks &quot;where can I find an xyz bass?&quot;, please do not advertise your own business in response. <p>---<br> <br> <strong>SPONSORED FORUMS:</strong> <br> <br> If you are interested in purchasing your own sponsored forum on TalkBass, please contact <a href="mailto:advertising@talkbass.com">advertising@talkbass.com </a>. Sponsored forums are sub-forums within broader forums (such as “Basses” or Amps”), are listed at the top of their parent forums, contain your business name in their title heading, and offer you free reign to communicate with TalkBass users through unlimited &amp; unmoderated discussion threads. <strong><br> <br> Press Releases: </strong><br> <br> Please submit all PR to <a href="mailto:admin@talkbass.com">admin@talkbass.com </a>for publication on TalkBass.com
     
  3. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Seems fair to me!

    Paul - what are your thoughts on a related, but not directly on point issue, namely signatures which link to "for sale" adds on the classifieds or things like "free ipods" etc. They certainly wouldn't fall within the ambit of this policy, but could also be seen as spam.

    IIRC the DB users get particuarly nasty about such things, but it seems to be tolerated on the BG side of the forum.
     
  4. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Another question (and yes, I can see the irony in this) - perhaps it would be worthwhile having a "manufacturers representatives" forum in the "Ask a Pro" section, where users can post questions directly to participating manufacters representatives / luthiers about their products.

    Not questions about pricing etc, but sometimes questions about "preferred pickup combinations" or "wood selections" etc which would otherwise be asked by email could be useful reading for other users interested in such products. If its in a separate forum it is unlikely to appear like Spam and may involve greater manufacturer participation in TB!
     
  5. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Additional clarity concerning For Sale posts seems to be the question of the moment, too.

    I've taken my swing here but obviously it's your call from start to finish, Paul.
     
  6. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    Texas
    I'm thinking that signatures which link to 'for sale' ads on TalkBass would be fine, with regards to the goal of this policy - If a user is posting classifieds, he's not commercial and is not a threat to our paying advertisers. I would say off-site 'spam links' are generally frowned upon by the TB community and therefore shouldn't be allowed. But that would be a new rule, outside a 'commercial user policy'.
     
  7. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    Texas
    I would argue that according to this policy a manufacturer could use any public forum to relay this info - as long as a reg user requests specific information, that info can be provided by a commercial user.
     
  8. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Oh no doubt....I was thinking more along the lines of a separate forum to encourage participation by manufacturers (as I think they are less likely to search through posts relating specifically to their products). Sort of like the Manring / Lawson forum at the moment. Anyway its off-topic so I wont continue, but food for thought!
     
  9. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    Texas
    Sam - if you could, please clarify what you mean by 'flipping a lot of gear'. :) I'll add a line to the the com. user policy stating that no commercial user is to use the free classifieds. If a small-time builder or other small operation falls within the definition of a commercial user, that user should not utilize the classifieds. But if they do not fall within the definition - if they just personally buy and sell a lot of gear - that seems ok to me..... ?

    EDIT: Ok I'll follow up on my own words... I failed to realize the real issue here I think - how to tell if a registered account is being used by a commercial entity to sell stuff and not disclosing such information... Ok, I would support and agree with your post Sam - it must be left up to you and Chris to make a determination if the user is using the classifieds in a legit manner, based on posting history (similar to NMB's "NIB" posting habit)
     
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY


    *applause*

    :hyper:
     
  11. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Ya know....Jorg Schroeder has sent an excellent example in this regard. His product is on fire right now, and there is nothing in his signature to advertise, and I myself have not seen him make a post encouraging someone to buy his product.

    This polilcy sounds good to me. I oftened wondered how some company who pays to advertise here like G&L feels when they look around the boards and see users with advertising of themselves within their signature, at no charge.

    -Mike
     
  12. Marlat

    Marlat

    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    One thing that would be good to "exempt" from the requirement is when Dealers / Builders want to do things like post NAMM pictures or other trade show pictures that are hosted on their sites.

    Obviously pics solely avertising their own products should be frowned upon, however its often the dealers / builders who have great pics of the whole show hosted from their sites and it would be a shame to lose out on this sort of thing.

    Perhaps we could use the TB news forum (ie front page) to collect and post updates / information from our "regular" participants in the forums. For example (and i don't mean to imply anything by this) - if Carey Nordstrand or Roger S has a new pickup or whatever coming out, if they email myself or anyone else with posting privileges in the news forum, then perhaps it could be posted there. Assuming there is someone to filter the true "news" items from advertising of existing products, it may be a way to keep TB'ers updated of the updates to websites and products of the regular partipants in the site who otherwise would post links to their sites.
     
  13. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    i always figured it was "paid for" with information and participation in discussion forums. i can see not having a banner ad, but i dont know if i would consider listing a website in the sig to be spam.

    if G&L wanted to be involved in the board (if they are not already), then could have thier website in thier sig 2 (regardless of advertising they paid for)
     
  14. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    Texas

    Mark,

    Regarding PR: Absolutely - any TB'er or industry rep is welcome to send press releases regarding new products - however I like to have them sent to my email (admin@talkbass.com as mentioned in the policy) so that images, word docs, etc can be attached directly.
     
  15. Personally I would prefer not to see sponsored sub-forums, but rather allow manufacturers to address specific questions as stated in a couple examples. I feel that the forums are one of the few places I can still go without being bombarded with advertisement. I know it would be easy enough to just ignore the subforum, but there might be useful information in there. Then I have to decide, is this an honest answer, or is this guy just a mouthpiece for the marketing dept who will say anything to help sell the product?

    Is this suforum already available and nobody has jumped on yet? Is it necessary to bring in more $$$ to keep up with operating costs?
     
  16. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    My $0.02: Nix. 'Cuz ability to continue to purchase food is directly tied to ability to "assist people with purchasing."

    Around certain parts of the Northeast U.S. this is referred to as "Daddy's Math."
     
  17. I don't follow. Could you connect me some dots?
     
  18. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Daddy's Junky Music is a 20-store chain around here. "Daddy's Math" is what disgruntled former employees dubbed their commission structure. According to the aforementioned DFE's it is approximated as, "Two steps forward, three steps back" or more musically as, "That's one for you nineteen for me."
     
  19. KPJ

    KPJ

    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
     
  20. paul

    paul Staff Member Founder Administrator

    Jul 20, 2000
    Texas
    The sponsored subforum has not been introduced yet. If public opinion is against such a measure than I have no problem derailing it. However I thought it might be appreciated by some members to have for instance a dedicated XYZ brand bass forum, where the company reps would be free to post new product info, questions could be posed, etc etc.

    I have no idea if it's something that would even catch on - I would propose leaving the info in the policy for now, and perhaps run a couple sponsored forums as a trial to see how they're received.
     



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