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Old Apr 25, 11, 11:59 am   #1
 
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Referral links in signatures - clarification needed

Recently I noticed quite a few signatures with referral offers for BankDirect, credit cards etc that offer mileage for referring other members. In most if not all cases there are dedicated threads (or in some cases conga threads) that already exist for that purpose.
What is FT policy on this? Can I put "please PM me for bank A, cc B and program C referral" in my signature and if so do I have to disclose my benefits as a referring party?
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Old Apr 25, 11, 6:29 pm   #2
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I've noticed the same & will be checking FT TOS & TB guidelines to determine how this works - or not.

While discussion is ongoing re: whether there should be a commercial thread, it occurred to me this morning that maybe congos should go in a separate category. Note I'm not familiar with them either & I'm not saying they should, but gives me more homework as a TB member re: signatures & congos.

Back to signature line. I have to say on a personal level - I truly don't read anyone's signature line, so I don't know who's saying what. Heck, mine is just my first name, so folk don't think I'm a guy.

Cheers.
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Old Apr 25, 11, 8:16 pm   #3
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Surely this is an issue of Moderation - they are responsible for enforcing signatures, in the same way as they enforce for content.
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Old Apr 26, 11, 11:06 pm   #4
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I believe commercial content is allowed in signatures. I don't know how that translates with regard to referral links, though.

There is a Moderator Signature Committee that reviews signatures for questions of appropriateness. A good starting point may be contacting the Community Director, SanDiego1K, for further guidance on how to submit signatures for review.

If it's a contentious issue, TalkBoard can look at revisiting the policy, but as far as enforcement, that is indeed a moderator/Community Director thing.
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Old May 1, 11, 10:47 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
While discussion is ongoing re: whether there should be a commercial thread, it occurred to me this morning that maybe congos should go in a separate category.
(Bolding mine)

Exactly!

Just to be clear, ever since 2009, I've communicated with quite a few mods in at least 5 different fora w/r/t referral links in sig, either via RBPs or PMs. None of them ever did congas on FT. The general view of referral links are just commercial links is not just a downplay of the issue of conga on FT but also a failure to comprehend the practice of conga. let alone the current SPAM Forum Guidelines clearly spell things out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markie View Post
Surely this is an issue of Moderation - they are responsible for enforcing signatures, in the same way as they enforce for content.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackal View Post
I believe commercial content is allowed in signatures. I don't know how that translates with regard to referral links, though.

There is a Moderator Signature Committee that reviews signatures for questions of appropriateness. A good starting point may be contacting the Community Director, SanDiego1K, for further guidance on how to submit signatures for review.

If it's a contentious issue, TalkBoard can look at revisiting the policy, but as far as enforcement, that is indeed a moderator/Community Director thing.
I have to disagree.

In my eyes, referral links in signature is a misinterpreted TOS issue which lead to inconsistency in moderation. When TOS is failed to provide a clear guideline, TalkBoard should step up to the plate and straight things out.

Even since the new signature policy went into effect to allow commercial links in 2009, I've raised my concerns in the now archived forum. My opinions haven't changed, if not getting stronger. I am going to repost what I had posted on July 2009 and November 2010. One thing I may add is that I think referral links in signature is the worst case of cross-posting to benefit whoever implant such links in signature.

This is what I said in July 2009: "Referral Links Included?"

I want to make sure whether referral links would be part of the updated signature policy.

I had some discussion with some mods both publicly and privately. My understanding is that referral links are not allowed in signatures on FT. The inconsistency in mods when reinforcing signature links is indeed problematic that my most recent RBP on a signature referral link was not and hasn't been acted upon.

Besides, per FT rules, all referral bonuses belong to SPAM Forum. I don't think referral links should travel with any FTer's signature.

Quote:
S.P.A.M.
Sites with Points and Alternative Miles, including referral bonuses, congas and any other loyalty currencies.
If FT does have a clearly stated policy to forbid referral links in signatures, I am sure it'll stop those who make it a habit to plug in personal referral links in their signature links. It'll also make it easier for our mod team to do their job.

(I'll repost my post from November 2010 in next post)
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Old May 1, 11, 11:03 am   #6
 
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When Forum Guidelines Are Not Being Respected...

More from me about why I think referral links should be a special kind of commercial links and placed in a different category in TOS. On November 2010, I said the following:

There is still inconsistency in MODs reinforcing referrals in signatures and posts (i.e. some allow and some don't). Correct me if I am wrong, the wording of current signature policy doesn't cover referrals, as far as I can tell.

First things first. I believe forum TOS shouldn't contradict with each other. Since conga and referrals are supposed to appear in SPAM Forum, this forum sticky specifies how to do conga in SPAM Forum:

Quote:
Referral bonuses and conga lines

If you wish to start a new "conga" referral thread you MUST identify it as a "conga" and you MUST post a unique referral link. Please, when posting to a conga thread, use the person who posted his/her link last. Pure referrals ("You and I will each earn $xx if I refer you to this offer") are not allowed.
There are quite a few conga threads in SPAM Forum and some are more active than others. Here are 3 conga examples:

1. Big Crumbs Conga:
[Conga] up to 36% on Ebay Seller Fees/bigcrumbs

2. Mr. Rebates Conga:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/s-p-m...-up-bonus.html

3. Cashbaq Conga:
Cashbaq conga

Occasionally, there are few FTers who'd cut in line and post their referral links without following the above guideline. SPAM MOD and forum frequent have no problem working together to get things back to order and remove such posts/links. (Thanks to SPAM MODs! )

What you may not be aware is there are some FTers who either have referral links for said websites in their signatures, or post their referral links in posts (with their signature) outside SPAM Forum. This type of posting behavior, without discussing the inconsistency of moderation in taking out (or not) this type of posts, essentially is breaking the existing congalines in SPAM Forum.

What bothers me most is the disrespect of TOS. I am not happy with condoning such behavior outside SPAM Forum either. Such referral links are for one's personal gain and nothing greater.

If such inconsistency and confusion lies in forum guidelines, please have those guidelines updated. If the wording, or lack of, in current signature policy is causing confusion about personal referral links, please consider to spell them out, so FTers and MODs know better what to post or edit. FWIW, I did RBP those "problem" posts/signatures to different forum MODs but some remain untouched. You can check out my RBP log to verify.

The bottom line is I don't think mixed signals are doing any good for FTers or MODs.

Last edited by lin821; Sep 20, 11 at 11:52 am. Reason: fix conga thread links
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Old May 11, 11, 10:00 am   #7
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Can TalkBoard ask for clarification on this policy and such and perhaps work to develop a specific policy?

Something else that ties into this are those who post deals in other forums, when there are on-going congas in S.P.A.M. for those same sites, and who post a "PM me for my referral link," or some such. Why should they benefit from multiple referrals when those in S.P.A.M. only benefit from 1 referral?

I've cut lin821's post below, but I really agree with it. I'd like to see TalkBoard work to develop a comprehensive policy on referral links and referral sites that applies to all of FT, not just S.P.A.M. and that, if possible, includes an outline of specific measures that may be taken if posters fail to follow those guidelines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
What you may not be aware is there are some FTers who either have referral links for said websites in their signatures, or post their referral links in posts (with their signature) outside SPAM Forum. This type of posting behavior, without discussing the inconsistency of moderation in taking out (or not) this type of posts, essentially is breaking the existing congalines in SPAM Forum.

What bothers me most is the disrespect of TOS. I am not happy with condoning such behavior outside SPAM Forum either. Such referral links are for one's personal gain and nothing greater.

If such inconsistency and confusion lies in forum guidelines, please have those guidelines updated. If the wording, or lack of, in current signature policy is causing confusion about personal referral links, please consider to spell them out, so FTers and MODs know better what to post or edit. FWIW, I did RBP those "problem" posts/signatures to different forum MODs but some remain untouched. You can check out my RBP log to verify.

The bottom line is I don't think mixed signals are doing any good for FTers or MODs.
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Old Sep 13, 11, 1:38 pm   #8
 
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I know this is not a hot topic and I've been talking to deaf ears.

However, this new post is just another perfect example that a better refined or defined policy on referrals & PMs-for-referral is needed and necessary on FT:

Quote:
Originally Posted by michael_v View Post
And I apologize in advance for not knowing where to post and where not to post inviting people to PM me for my referral link. I see invitations for referrals via PM all the time on the hotel deals thread. It is very confusing that some parts of this forum allow referrals, and some don't. Again, I am sorry for not knowing all of this.
(underline mine)

Arbitrary and/or open-to-interpretation TOS or policy only make MODs' job harder, and workload unnecessarily heavier.
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Old Sep 15, 11, 6:41 am   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
I know this is not a hot topic and I've been talking to deaf ears.

However, this new post is just another perfect example that a better refined or defined policy on referrals & PMs-for-referral is needed and necessary on FT:



(underline mine)

Arbitrary and/or open-to-interpretation TOS or policy only make MODs' job harder, and workload unnecessarily heavier.
I agree. I'd prefer to see a well-defined policy on referrals, such as "All referrals must be done in the form of a conga, in S.P.A.M. No referral links will be allowed in signatures, and no 'PM me for a referral' posts will be tolerated," or some such.
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Old Oct 27, 11, 2:59 pm   #10
 
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Unhappy I know I am beating the dead horse but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
What you may not be aware is there are some FTers who either have referral links for said websites in their signatures, or post their referral links in posts (with their signature) outside SPAM Forum. This type of posting behavior, without discussing the inconsistency of moderation in taking out (or not) this type of posts, essentially is breaking the existing congalines in SPAM Forum.

What bothers me most is the disrespect of TOS. I am not happy with condoning such behavior outside SPAM Forum either. Such referral links are for one's personal gain and nothing greater.
The most recent example today of such TOS violation:

Discover Card $500 if spend 3K/month for 5 months
Quote:
P.S.: If you haven't signed up for bigcrumbs yet, I'd appreciate the referral: http://www.bigcrumbs.com/crumbs/landing.do?r=XXXXXXXX
Alternatively, there is a conga in the S.P.A.M. forum.
The poster knows about the existing conga in SPAM but chose to post his referral link in MilesBuzz! Forum anyway (yes, I RBPed).

1. If the problem arises from some ill-defined policy, please fix it.

2. If it's due to poorly publicized TOS/policies, please do something about it. And do it fast.

3. If it's disrespect of TOS from the members, please enforce disciplinary action consistenly.

What's good for a policy or TOS when members choose to ignore or not comply?
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Old Oct 30, 11, 8:50 pm   #11
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3 days after you say you RBP'd it, it's still there - implying that it must be within the TOS to have that sort of thing there.

I'm personally against all commercial type links in in signatures, but FT's rules have changed over the years in that regard (for the worse, IMHO) - so, given that, I really doubt much will change in that regard (even from a TB perspective) and this will be one of the things detracts from the user experience of this website.
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Old Nov 3, 11, 11:16 am   #12
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I don't have a problem in principle with referrals, but the rules should not encourage posts whose primary purpose is to generate referrals to the poster. A link pointing to a conga is great, because a potential referral to an FT member is not wasted.

I am not sure where "PM me for a referral" fits here. I can see cases in which a valued contributor has truly earned some referrals by identifying a lucrative offer for members. There is also value in informing members that referrals are a cost-free way to benefit their fellow members. Yet the conga approach accomplishes most of this, with bragging rights to the originator of the conga.

If there is to be a strict rule against begging for referrals, the moderators need to be willing to enforce it strictly. Mods being human, and therefore sometimes lazy (at least taking myself as an example), this is a potential problem.

There is also the question of whether or not this should be TalkBoard's call. I believe that the TalkBoard should express an opinion on the issue while deferring to the Community Director to coordinate with the moderators and make a final decision.

As for me, I lean toward agreeing with kipper.
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Old Nov 3, 11, 10:01 pm   #13
 
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All I Ask is Clarity and Consistency...

Thanks for TBers chiming in. It's nice to know some ears are listening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhatnasx View Post
3 days after you say you RBP'd it, it's still there - implying that it must be within the TOS to have that sort of thing there.
No, even the same MODs don't reinforce the rule consistently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nsx View Post
I don't have a problem in principle with referrals, but the rules should not encourage posts whose primary purpose is to generate referrals to the poster. ....

I am not sure where "PM me for a referral" fits here. <snip>

There is also the question of whether or not this should be TalkBoard's call.
I say there are enough grey areas in TOS w/r/t referral links and commercial signatures that a more refined work needs to be done. How referrals are carried out and/or soliciting outside SPAM Forum on FT is really . Even if it would take the Community Director's ruling, spell it out. Please, just work your magic wand.

It's not saying we don't get to see problematic referrals within SPAM Forum but now SPAM MOD is consistently reinforcing the forum terms and rules. For that, I thank you, SPAM MOD!

As a humble FTer, I don't think to expect consistency in defining, refining & reinforcing TOS w/r/t this matter is too much to ask, even when this part of TOS only concerns a very small FT population.

Last edited by lin821; Dec 12, 13 at 1:43 pm. Reason: adding quote, fixing typos & grammatical error
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