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clarifying the self-promotion clause in the TOS?

clarifying the self-promotion clause in the TOS?

Old Mar 23, 13, 5:19 am
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clarifying the self-promotion clause in the TOS?

I must confess that I've never actually read the FT TOS, but since I've been around since the dark ages, I have a pretty good idea about their contents.

I'm starting this thread because it's recently occurred to me that 90% of the posts on FT focus on plugging (or "unplugging") specific companies in the travel industry.

My points:
1) People seem to love it when employees of the companies they care about join in discussions
2) It's seemingly okay for me to plug a company that I don't have ties to, but for the owners to do so themselves is taboo
-this is a grey area because you have no way of knowing whether or not I have a financial interest in the said company
3) FT has tacitly established that it's fine with contributing members plugging their own ventures
-e.g. KVS, Autoslash, awardfinder, betterbidding
-...as long as they do so in a civil manner
-I'm totally cool with this because I feel that since user based content is the core of FT, permitting the most loyal users to reap a fruit or two is only fair

While I really don't mind the status quo, since there's always a chance that the random lurker who lives in fear of us has created the next Google of the travel space, I would like to give these guys a chance. By stifling people in this category, we are doing a disservice to the community.

My suggestion:
1) redefine the clause in the TOS regarding self promotion to permit a bit more leeway
2) meaningful (subject to the mods' judgement) post count threshold
3) whenever self promoting threads pop up, unless they are simply awesome, kill them immediately, and send the OP a standard PM stating demands that we require if they would like to continue to play ball
-full disclosure
-what they are offering, and why we should care
-pledge to promise fantastic service
-guarantee to actively participate in the community (or else we kill all of their posts)

The reason I'm posting this today is because --this morning-- we bounced a guy who shamelessly plugged his tour company. While his tactics alone warranted the ban (which I supported, and will continue to support... never try to fool us!), I must admit that one of his three "build up" posts demonstrated that he really does have a pretty good feel wrt China logistics.

In closing, by no means, do I want to see FT morph into a free advertising platform for morons. But, I think it would be a good thing if we were to develop a system that permitted the good apples to shine in the absence of fear. (Between the mods and group opinion, screening out the morons is not an especially hard task.)
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Old Mar 23, 13, 7:18 am
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You might want to touch base w/ the Community Director. She's got a team working on updating the TOS.

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Old Mar 23, 13, 11:38 am
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As any regular in this forum knows, I have long had concerns with creeping commercialism around the current TOS.

I brought this issue up (again) in the private TalkBoard forum last week:

Originally Posted by kokonutz View Post
One of my favorite things about going off and on the TalkBoard over time is that I get to see what people say about me behind closed doors.

Well, caca boy is back and at the suggestion of Tom911, I (still) propose that we address the fact that the Commercial Posting TOS does not address the creeping commercialism brought on by bloggers and seminar sponsors.

Here is that TOS:

a. Commercial posts. Posts containing promotional messages for commercial products or services - including but not limited to Internet sites, business advertisements and solicitations to donate miles or points – are prohibited and will be removed. FlyerTalk is not a marketplace and nothing is to be offered for sale or conditioned on an exchange of money or barter. Nothing in this rule is intended to prohibit exchange of travel coupons as allowed by the rules of Coupon Connection. If you spot a commercial post, please report it.

This rule is imprecise.

But I absolutely disagree that it does not require correction. As written the rule is enforced only sporadically. The general practice seems to be: If you offer a commercial service and we know or like you then you are ok posting promotional messages for your commercial service. If we don't know or like you personally, you will get dinged for posts containing promotional messages. That's sloppy and ridiculous.

I see three options:

1) Leave the TOS as it is and clarify that commercial means all commercial ventures.

2) Create a much-talked-about commercial forum where the commercial ventures of FlyerTalkers, from seminars and blogs to travel arrangements to stamp sellers to dry cleaners can hawk their commercial ventures exempt from the commercial post TOS.

3) Amend the TOS to prohibit posts promoting all commercial ventures except:
a) points and miles seminars and blogs
b) points and miles commercial ventures owned and operated by FlyerTalkers
c) some exception I haven't thought of.

I look forward to some constructive discussion!
As SkiAdcock says, I was informed that the CD and some mods are 'working on' this matter.

As I said in the private forum: "If it is stuck somewhere tell me which direction to aim the windmill lance and I'll get it unstuck!"

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Old Mar 27, 13, 3:37 am
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Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
You might want to touch base w/ the Community Director. She's got a team working on updating the TOS.

What are the "problems" with the current TOS that are to be "solved"?
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Old Mar 27, 13, 4:38 am
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Originally Posted by SkiAdcock View Post
... the Community Director. She's got a team working on updating the TOS.
I surely hope they will take a much closer look at referral links in signatures this time:


Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
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. <snip>

As a humble FTer, I don't think 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.
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Old Mar 27, 13, 5:30 am
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Originally Posted by lin821 View Post
I surely hope they will take a much closer look at referral links in signatures this time:

I agree!
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Old Mar 27, 13, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by kipper View Post
I agree!
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