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A friendly place to share small business ideas and knowledge, ask questions, find help and encourage others that are involved in the small business industry. Topics include small business marketing, generating revenue and small business computing.

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Old 8th October 2006, 02:19 PM   #11

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Thanks for sharing your perspective. I don't know about your examples of self promotion that get by. For example, I doubt Superior Shine's post about wanting to get feedback on his direct mailing piece was intended to promote his 'local' car detailing service to us. To be clear, with versas' situation it wasn't a grey line but instead pure self promotion and then after he was explained the rules by myself he turned around and blatantly posted another 'pure' self promotion thread about his ad space he was offering to others. It was nothing along the grey lines you describe that we make judgement calls on ever day. Based on the self promotion that is removed, I will tell you we get it right more times than not - and what we do remove is usually very clear to be nothing more than self promotion. Additionally, realize everything removed is reviewed by more than one moderator behind the scenes in case there are varying opinions. We do have a system in place. Posts removed are not just deleted as most members may perceive as they no longer see them. Instead, it is reviewed and we monitor for patterns that will allow us to address spam issues better in the future so moderators spend their time helping members as much as possible, instead of dealing with self promotion/spam.

Frederick, or others, if you have any specific suggestions on how we can improve please let us know. I do agree 100% that the business owner is often the best expert with the subject matter of their business. I'd love to be able to provide more sharing of knowledge without creating the messy board of spam that we all don't want. Right now, you can provide the expertise you have about your business to help others based on their questions. You just can't blatantly/directly self promote your services/products within a post. The promotion your business does receive in this scenario, as Robert has mentioned, is the exposure based on your involvment. That's the 'best' solution we have come up with so far, but perhaps there is a better one out there.

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Old 11th October 2006, 08:53 AM   #12

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The internet is beginning to get flooded with forums...I believe a moderator walks a fine line nowadays...you need people to come and post on your forum, and if you become too strict people will leave and find another forum where it's not so strict...

I don't know if that's a good thing, but it is a fact of the internet, as more and more forums pop up, and the competition to find people to post getsfierce.

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Old 11th October 2006, 11:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by J.Albright View Post
I don't know if that's a good thing, but it is a fact of the internet, as more and more forums pop up, and the competition to find people to post getsfierce.
I actually think that is a good thing because it provides a wide variety of forums with various styles for people to choose from.

We understand that we can't be all things to all people so we set a course that is comfortable for the type of forum member we want to attract.

For those that aren't comfortable here, a large pool of available forums means they are likely to find some place they feel at home.

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Old 12th October 2006, 09:47 PM   #14
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I agree - I think it people to focus more on what they truly are interested in (or maybe where they truly like to post) rather than just leaving random posts every where.


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Old 16th October 2006, 01:36 PM   #15
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While I don't visit the forums much anymore, I have seen the benefits of posting thoughtful answers and explanations with never a mention of my business. People may find what I have said to be of value or is perceived as a certain level of expertise or sage advice and they look at my sig and click on the links.

Find those Threads Where Your Experience Will Count
If you want to use the forums as part of your overall business strategy. I find it best to post to those threads that you have particular experience and a depth of knowledge in and that relates to your business. If I were an accountant (which I am not) and I posted answers to financial questions in the threads and people felt that what said was of value then people would click on my sig links.

If It Looks like A Canned Meat, it's Probably SPAM
No matter what forums you use people can smell spammy, self promoting posts a mile away and perceive them as such. Since the SBIF doesn't view spam and overt self promotion to be of value to anyone but the one posting, it it should be yanked.

versas, I don't think you need to choose whether or not to tell your reader about another printer. What would have been the solution to self-promoting or promoting another would have been to tell the OP what qualities and attributes they should look for in a quality printer. If they felt that you helped them, they would certainly click on your sig link (provided that it is good and descriptive).

Help is a Powerful Marketing Tool
Providing help is a very powerful way of developing a reputation as an expert. This is why professionals write articles, do radio shows and provide how-tos on websites. I often find that if you help someone with a specific problem that relates to your industry and you do it with absolutely no strings attached and no expectation of remuneration or reciprocation, people will remember. They will hold a positive feeling toward you and that feeling can often extend beyond that one experience on a forum as those who read your help to others will share in that positive feeling.

BTW: If I have a prospect who wants something I don't specialize in or don't choose to offer or they are too price sensitive, I would gladly offer the names and even contact info for competitors that I respect but who do might be a better fit.

SBIF is One of the Best Because of the Rules
I think that the SBIF moderators are some of the fairest and most thoughtful of any forum I have every been on and, despite even having my sig yanked by Robert twice when I first started out, I appreciate the rules and the ethic of consistency.

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Old 17th October 2006, 07:30 AM   #16
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Many people fail to adda signature to their posts. You od it once, it is in your control panel, and every time you post your message is displayed.

Anyone who provides a service and does not use their signatures is missing out on free advertising.

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Old 18th October 2006, 03:34 AM   #17

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pls NOT, this is a business forum after all hehe

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Old 18th October 2006, 10:16 AM   #18

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Its good to hear comments from those who are satisfied with our approach and the consistency we try to provide for all. Those that have conflict with not being able to self promote, the comments are appreciated as well.

I've been thinking about the following comment -

this is a business forum after all
I think this is partly where conflict arises. In general I can understand why people who are not familiar with our forum would assume they can freely promote their business here how ever they want. That's not what this forum is intended for though. Instead it is intended "to share small business ideas & knowledge, ask questions & find help and encourage others".

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Old 18th October 2006, 11:53 AM   #19
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Something along the lines of this thread happened to me yesterday. In response to a question I had planned to link to an article I wrote that I thought would be helpful to the OP. I added the link and submitted my reply and then realized that I had forgotten it was against the rules here.

It was no big deal though. I edited my post to remove the paragraph with the link and added another with what I hope was some useful advice.

Sure it would have been nice to be able to add the link, but I can see why not allowing links back to member sites is in the rules. I moderate a webmaster forum which does allow links and it takes time to sort out which ones are legit and which ones are simply for self promotional reasons.

In all honesty the best way to market yourself in a forum such as this is just as OWG mentioned. Add a link in your signature (many forums won't even allow links in signatures so we should be happy we can here) and become a valued member of the community. If you provide useful advice people will visit your site through your forum signature.

There are times I would like the priviledge of being able to add a link back to my site, but I have no problem with not being allowed to do so. The current rules are fine in my opinion. While many wish to use forums to promote themselves and while many forums allow this, the real idea behind a forum is to provide a community of people who can respond to questions and help each other out.

With or without links you can still market your business by being helpful and displaying your experience and knowledge about yout industry, but the main idea of a forum is still to provide a community that serves to help others and provide a valuable resource.

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Old 18th October 2006, 10:26 PM   #20
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I think this is a great forum that also looks nice. I don't see any thing wrong with the amount of ads. They fit in nicely with the site. I also love the smileys I have not seen another forum with such a variety.

Just a kid at heart...


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