Company Representatives - Posts by Company Representatives

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#1
I received an email today and decided it would be good to try to clarify some aspects of the TOS here with respect to representatives of companies posting in threads.

The main thing is if you want to 'plug' your product, do so in a way in which you help in replying with information in a post within a thread. NOTE: Your company web site URL belongs in your profile, not in posts, as does your email address / contact information.

Over the years, many people from companies wanting to increase their exposure have registered and posted in threads (or started a thread) only to say something like "If you use our product your problem will be solved" (and usually they try to put a link to their company web site within the post). They add no information to help the poster or the discussion in general. I can understand this, but the problem is the forum focus is to answer peoples questions. The forum is not intended to be a place where companies can come and freely advocate their product. However, the Elsmar Cove forum IS a place where people who use a product or service can ask about, or comment on (positive or negative), a product or service.

NOTE: If someone asks a question about a product or service and you are a company representative and can help out, such as with how something functions or how to do something with your product or service, by all means jump in and help out. That is considered helpful information.

Now, I know this may seem a bit 'weird' and restrictive, but to us the important part is that helpful information be 'contributed' in posts in threads.

> I read your terms and conditions and they are very clear that if I register
> and make any reference to our product I must state clearly that I am
> associated with the offering while of course supporting your content
> directives.

Correct.

> I understand also I can elaborate on our offerings in your profile area.

Correct.

Exceptions:

There are a number of LONG TIME 'regulars' here that get some leeway in what they post, and some are given free space in the forum sidebar with a link to their web site. These are people who have been visiting for a long time and have helped out a lot. Randy is an example of someone who hasn't 'pushed' his employer very much at all. Randy works for BSi and I owe him a couple. Sidney works for DNV. Not only does Sidney help out by helping others in posts in threads, DNV is a financial supporter. Dave Scott, Atul, Howard and DB have been around for quite a while and have helped thousands of people.

My point is, now and again it may look as if someone, or some company, is getting 'special' privileges. It may be the case, but it's based upon a long term relationship with the site.
 
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harry

Super Moderator
#2
Re: Posts by Company Representatives

The whole point of advertising is to let people know that you are 'Professionals' and you have a service or product to offer.

Yet, we find people sneaking around trying to recommend their products in a hush-hush manner or trying to piggy ride whenever a post that is relevant to their offerings appear.

I think they are doing more damage to their own image by such un-Professional actions.
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#3
Re: Posts by Company Representatives

Well said, Marc.

I find it helpful when someone can answer a question and include a recommendation for how and why some product would be beneficial. No problem with that at all. I, like many others, frown upon starting a post with "hey, I can sell you this." I usually put that product down about forty notches in my "likely to look into" category. Tell me why your product can help in the context of a thread, while answering the poster's question and I will be much more likely to remember you and your product. But, above all else, remember that this is a forum designed to help the poster, not an advertising venue.

Marc, I've said it many times before, and it bears repeating. You've done a great job through the years, and we all (or most of us, lol!) appreciate it!:agree1:
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#4
Re: Posts by Company Representatives

The whole point of advertising is to let people know that you are 'Professionals' and you have a service or product to offer.

Yet, we find people sneaking around trying to recommend their products in a hush-hush manner or trying to piggy ride whenever a post that is relevant to their offerings appear.

I think they are doing more damage to their own image by such un-Professional actions.
I'm trying to figure out the "sneaking around" and "piggy back" thing harry. Personally I have made no bones about who I work for. When someone asks specifically "where can I" or "who can provide" what should we "professionals" say "golly gosh darn I wish I could help, but I can't think of anyone"?

Could you be a bit more specific?
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#5
What should professionals say?

When someone asks specifically "where can I" or "who can provide" what should we "professionals" say "golly gosh darn I wish I could help, but I can't think of anyone"?
You can answer however you want in light of your participation over the years, and in your case if you want to point to a BSi course or something, you can. The key is participation.

This discussion is really 'aimed' at people who do not participate in discussions who 'sneak' in a 'plug' (without content, per se) for their company and/or product(s) when they can. Or, more commonly, people who find the forum, see a couple threads they can put a 'plug' in, register, put in their 'plug' and move on.

I don't think this is a serious every day problem, and I doubt harry has any specific current person or persons in mind (I'm sure he'll answer for himself soon). It does come up now and again. The intent here is only to try to clarify the terms in the TOS and the policy here.
 

harry

Super Moderator
#6
Re: Posts by Company Representatives

I'm trying to figure out the "sneaking around" and "piggy back" thing harry. Personally I have made no bones about who I work for. When someone asks specifically "where can I" or "who can provide" what should we "professionals" say "golly gosh darn I wish I could help, but I can't think of anyone"?

Could you be a bit more specific?
Randy, I am referring to people who refuse to observe our simple requirements laid out in the terms of service. All we ask for is for them to have their website address in their personal profile page and when they need to, they can invite others to visit their website for further information. The other requirement is for them to state their connection to the website/company they recommended.

While we don't really have that many cases as Marc pointed out, there are a number of recent examples that I can think of and I am giving only an example of each.

1. Discussion on 5s and color coding: "You know, XYZ company has this nice preprinted stickers that I find useful. Have a look at (website address of XYZ - active link provided)". Every time when there is a discussion on 5s, he'll try to steer the subject to his company's product. This person registers with the intention to promote his product only. He lurks around and appears whenever a subject relevant to his product is discussed. Are we against such people? The answer is NO! We only ask that they do it professionally and according to our guidelines/TOS.

2. A new post on a particular subject appears and one particular registered user jumps in and post: refer to xyz website (active link posted) for this or that (where the website actually is his own - consultancy business). Despite reminders from Marc and/or moderators, he refused to stop doing it even after having being reminded that it is against our terms of service. All we asked is for them to have their website address in their profile page and when the need arises, they can invite people to visit their site. Isn't this a more professional way of doing things instead of 'covertly' posting active links to their own websites and hope for whatever they hoped for?
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#7
Re: Posts by Company Representatives

OK Harry, thanks.

I'm very careful about what and how much I post here about my employer and its services because I don't want to abuse my welcome. Other than a reference to my employer as my favorite website in my profile the general user wouldn't even know who I work for. My profile email is to my personal earthlink account and I have stated that my opinions are mine alone in my profile as well.

OK...back to work.
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
Re: Posts by Company Representatives

I would assume a lot depends upon the content of the link. I end up putting a lot of links to the Hanford government website, as these are copies of papers I've done for the government and there is no copyright restriction on them. So, if someone asks for how to make a c-chart, I send them to that paper.

Now, if the content of the link was a "teaser" that only gave a generic light weight description and then said - well if you want the rest of the information, you must buy product X - then I'd say that is not in keeping with the TOS.

Things might start getting interesting for me - my employer Fluor is hooking up with a minority owned small business (Indian Eyes) and I will likely start doing some tasks through them. This would actually allow pursuing some smaller tasks that Fluor as a big corporation isn't limber enough to do. That may also lead to some marketing efforts, but I'll work to keep things within reason here at the Cove.

If I end up being marketed through Indian Eyes, I'll update my profile.
 

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
Re: Posts by Company Representatives

Randy, I am referring to people who refuse to observe our simple requirements laid out in the terms of service. All we ask for is for them to have their website address in their personal profile page and when they need to, they can invite others to visit their website for further information. The other requirement is for them to state their connection to the website/company they recommended.
Harry,

I believe that the Moderators and Marc do a very good job keeping an eye on things here. It's not a big problem compared to some other forums. Spam is dealt with swiftly and folks trying to peddle their wares receive notices.

Thank you for keeping the Cove Forums clean.

Stijloor.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#10
Plexus

Please read the ToS here, Nathan. The Elsmar Cove Forum TOS (Terms of Service)

The long time rule here has been, and is, that only people with several hundred or more posts can 'self promote' here, and even then it's typically by request. Anyone can recommend a product or service they use, but self promotion is not allowed. In addition, we're pretty strict about those who come in and "try to help" people with their product by posting in that we ask that the person clearly identify their affiliation in the post.

So everyone understands, Plexus essentially has a monopoly (Plexus is the AIQG sanctioned training provider) in automotive and aerospace LA training if I understand how things are running now. Since technically they are a "sole source" I am leaving the link in the post.

Nathan should have put his company's web site URL in his profile and referenced that. Nathan actually should have filled out his profile much more completely so that his affiliation is clear for everyone to see since Nathan is a sales person for Plexus.

Nathan registered last June (2010) and has 7 posts as of my writing this.

For those of you who want information on Plexus training, please visit their web site for information. I prefer it not be discussed here for personal reasons that go way back.
 
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