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Thread: Forum advertisement rules

  1. #1
    Moderator
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    mdradvies's Avatar
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    Post Forum advertisement rules

    I want some opinions on a discussion I had with several other self-employed forum members and moderators concerning forum advertisement and product placement. Since this forum is all about clarity of Forum-related stuff I thought I'd get this out in the open for all to vent opinions. Here's the deal:

    We, as self-employed consultants are in a difficult spot. I want to put my field of expertise, Revit Magician for hire, in my signature. Currently Forum Rules prohibit any and all advertisement. Although the Rules are kind of ambiguous on this point:

    Advertising, spamming and trolling is not allowed. Solicitations of products, services, contests, funds or donations (other than by RFO itself) is prohibited. This includes using the forum, private messaging, email, visitor messages, or any other means. Explicit advertising and soliciting in signatures is also prohibited.

    VS

    If you own or are employed by a Revit consulting firm, it is encouraged that you include that information, and it is required if you provide referrals or post comments on your own or competing services.

    Which is it? Can we, or can we not advertise on our own behalf? And if so, to what extend? Keep it to the signature or can it go any further?

    I personally see this forum as a means to "show off" my skills. And since there's also a growing dutch community here, I trust that by doing this I can establish myself as a experienced user who can probably help with more complex problems and questions. But the forum rules currently prohibit me from telling people that I in fact am for hire.

    I know that there are some people who already have this in their signature but since we in Holland have the saying: "noblesse obliges" I thought that as a Moderator I should probably open up a forum discussion on this one.

    So people, fire at will...

  2. #2
    Forum Addict gdoherty0102's Avatar
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    I feel that the advertising applies to things that are not applicable to this forum. So posing a link on here about your garage sale this weekend as a main thread is probably not what we want to start seeing a lot of. However, kiwi posting new release of elements or similar is right in line with advertisement we want.

    This is not to say that in a thread that is just a general discussion about holidays, vacations, or just random things about our lives bringing up that we are having a garage sale or are doing a fundraiser for a charity this weekend and posting the information about those is probably ok, just not posting them as a main thread of discussion.

  3. #3
    Administrator Munkholm's Avatar
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    My personal opinion goes something like this:


    Resellers / Consultants:
    Should definitely be allowed to have a link in their signature! Iīd even encourage those to let everyone know which company they work for, or own. Itīs no secret that some of the best answers around here come from consultants, who are giving away free services, "just" to promote themselves. (To an extent, Iīm one of them). As long as they (we) donīt start answering only half the question asked, and then following up with "If you want the other half, we only charge $xxxx at Yyyy Services Inc."


    Software / Add-In developers:
    Should be allowed to point out when thereīs a new version, new features, or if they just need feedback on something, as long as itīs relevant to Revit! I would even be fine with them jumping in on a thread, and pointing to their software, if itīs relevant to the question, or maybe, as in some cases, a problem that really canīt be solved without that specific add-in.


    Sellers of Viagra:
    And everything else, not related to Revit, will be banned imediately, and the posts deleted.


    In short, if itīs related to Revit or brings value to the members of the forum, then Iīm fine with it. I see that the forum rules are indeed ambiguous, but will, as always, encourage everyone to share their thoughts and opinions, before we even think about changes.

  4. #4
    Forum Co-Founder Alfredo Medina's Avatar
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    There are a couple of things that Martijn could have done since day one but has not done yet: to include email and website address in his signature, and a brief line that describes his services below. That is fine with the rules of the forum. Why? Because by doing that you are not explicitly selling your services in your post, but just contributing with help about Revit, and at the same time providing your contact information. Then if somebody becomes interested in your services for something you wrote, that person can approach you privately for business.

    Example of things that I have edited as a moderator:
    • Explicit commercial offers with pricing information and/or links inside the post that take directly to a page with commercial information.
    • Posts that do not contribute to the discussion in progress but are clearly interested only in taking people to see a certain product.
    • Posts that start a new thread, just to talk about a new product, with pricing information and links. In this case I might leave the general information, removing the links and pricing.
    • Obviously, posts from discrete spammers that do not have a clue about Revit but come here looking for any post about furniture or casework, and then "contribute" to the thread with some nonsense about those topics, just to lead people to a furniture store.

    That being said, I think the question now is if we should allow some degree of commercial exposure to those consultants such as Martijn who have demonstrated an exceptional level of service to the forum. Perhaps some kind of license to advertise in the Career Corner subforum, maybe? What do you guys think?

  5. #5
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    @Klaus: What applies for "all of the above"?
    Seriously: I think this sums it up quite nicely.

    Too bad about the ban on half-baked answers though. That would really be a treat, lol

    @Alfredo: That sort of depends on how you view the Forum Rules. They explicitely state that ANY advertisement or sollicitation is prohibited, even in your signature. FWIW, I let some people read the Rules before starting this thread, just to get their opinion and most of them thought it wasn't allowed. So at least it's kind of ambiguous.

    About the commercial exposure:
    I understand the sensitive nature. What makes one "qualified" for this? Off course, it's easy for me to talk this talk since I'm top poster and only surpassed in REP-points by the Forum Bot (Klaus, you're slacking dude...). But that is hardly a measure for things. What do you need? At least 200 points? 300?
    What do we allow? Continious posting and bumping of existing services? Or same as the vendors: when you add a service to your curriculum?
    Do we start up a show-and-tell thread where each consultant can add a post (like the "welcome to the forum" thread) or can every consultant create his own thread?

    Lot of difficult questions here.
    Last edited by mdradvies; August 30th, 2011 at 01:25 PM.

  6. #6
    Forum Co-Founder Alfredo Medina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdradvies View Post
    @Alfredo: That sort of depends on how you view the Forum Rules. They explicitely state that ANY advertisement or sollicitation is prohibited, even in your signature. FWIW, I let some people read the Rules before starting this thread, just to get their opinion and most of them thought it wasn't allowed. So at least it's kind of ambiguous....
    No, you are interpreting that part too extremely. The rules of the forum say that you can have 4 lines of text in your signature, no images, and no explicit advertising or soliciting. So, if in those four lines you put your name, your email, your website address, and what you do, that is not explicit advertising or soliciting, it's just your contact information. You could have done that since the day you signed up for the forum.

  7. #7
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    Well then, nice to have that settled... Changing it right away.
    Still leaves the remark opened on any form of solliciting in threads. How do we deal with that?

    For instance:

    Q: Is it possible to set up a Building Code check in Revit?

    A-1: Yes, I do this, email, phone number, costs, and so on.
    NOT ALLOWED

    A-2: Yes, here's the first (and easy) part. Pay up if you want more
    NOT ALLOWED

    A-2: Yes, but this is kind of hard to explain on a forum. You might want to seek out some help on this.
    IS THIS ALLOWED?
    And if so, can we contact the person asking the question outside of the forum or by pm?

    Besides that, there's still the question about allowing advertising in the Career Corner by members here.

  8. #8
    Forum Co-Founder Alfredo Medina's Avatar
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    The rules of the forum specify that members should not spam other members by private email. But spamming is considered unsolicited commercial information. Therefore, if somebody in the forum is specifically asking for a service, and then you contact that person by PM letting him know that you might have the service that he is looking for, that is fine, in my opinion. Spamming would be if you contact somebody who has not expressed interest in the services that you offer.

    About advertising in the Career Corner, well, there is the idea, but you know, this is a democracy, and everything is approved by election. Let's see what the others say about it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Alex Page's Avatar
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    I must say, I havent read the forum rules to that detail and just assumed (rightly or wrongly) that one wouldnt want to blatently advertise their products in fear of being outcasted.
    I was a little worried about my post in a "Piping" thread where I mentioned we were selling a product that could help the thread authors problems - I wasnt sure whether this was allowed or not:

    http://www.revitforum.org/showthread...ghlight=piping

    This could be a good example of the "inbetween" nature of advertising/helpful comments - I believe both links I gave (including the one to our product video) are useful to the thread.
    Comments anyone?
    If I shouldnt have posted the link to our video, please let me know and Ill edit my post

  10. #10
    Administrator Munkholm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Page View Post
    Comments anyone?
    Is it advertisement? Yes.
    Is it relevant and helpful in that particular thread? Yes.
    Should it be allowed? Yes.
    Is it a great example of why itīs difficult to create a set of clear rules? Yes, indeed.

    Just my personal opinion of course

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