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Posting product recommendations
Do people resent having products mentioned

 3:16 am on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Someone said this in one of the forums:

I know people don't like to post product names in the forum

I have been wondering about this. Sometimes I find a really good free or cheap product that I want to tell people about, but I am afraid that people would resent having "advertisements" (these are, of course, products that I have no personal interest in). What do people think. Do you want to hear about "excellent free PHP editor" that few people know about, or do you want to avoid going down that road?





 3:40 am on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Tom - I have had this conversation via sticky with some key leaders of this site. While I will happily let those individuals speak for themselves, my impression is that it becomes impossibly difficult to weed out the true "you need to try this" posts from the "I need to make this plug to boost my pagerank, but I'll make it look like a legitimate posting" posts.

So rather than trying to decide which is which, the moderators often prefer to accept none. An imperfect solution, but is there a better one?


 3:45 am on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think that one possible solution is to just post the url in your profile or ask people to just email or sticky you for the url. If someone begins to abuse even this system, I think it will become pretty obvious.


 3:45 am on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mardi Gras: That's completely reasonable and the reason why I have refrained in the past. I'll just keep refraining in the future.




 3:51 am on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, there's almost a tradition of bragging about new hardware in FOO... but software tends to be a little touchier, because of the increasing likelihood of self-promotion... either by a programmer promoting their own product, or a retailer/affiliate promoting their own storefront.

I personally would say a software mention is OK, if:

1. You're not directly affiliated with the product.

2. It's a freeware or shareware title... except for the occassional threads discussing the finer points of one of the "big name" software packages. (I don't think anyone here could get "busted" for self-promtion discussing PhotoShop or FrontPage.)

2. You mention the software title, but don't leave a link (especially to commercial titles)... people can search for the title, and that way you avoid "endorsing" a specific retailer or website.

3. You actually give enough information in the post to make it useful... nothing gets "snipped" quicker than a one line post with nothing but a URL...

Just my two cents. ;)


 9:43 am on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

What Mardi_Gras quoted is exactly the way it is:

it becomes impossibly difficult to weed out the true "you need to try this" posts from the "I need to make this plug to boost my pagerank, but I'll make it look like a legitimate posting" posts.

Those posts do take some checking out, particularly checking to see if the person has a connection with the product - and that can be very time-consuming. Especially if there are several like it in a thread. I personally check them out whether or not a URL is posted, because name-dropping is a technique used for branding purposes, to get people familiar with the name.

ergophobe, it's not always so much the initial recommendation that's the problem, and I'm sure yours would be just fine, but that downstream in a particular thread someone else, or others, will come along and post for reasons of promotion or solicitation; it's been known to happen. Then the whole thread goes sour, which is a shame.

I can't remember it happening with hardware or certain types of software, but there are other types of things that can be persistent trouble spots - for example, certain types of software or scripts, hosting, domain registration, online tools. And certain of the forums are more prone than others.

So rather than trying to decide which is which, the moderators often prefer to accept none.

That's about the bottom line, though it can't hurt to send a stickymail asking what they think about a particular one.

(edited by: Marcia at 9:59 am (utc) on May 21, 2002)


 9:56 am on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well...one time someone mentioned certain CRM software. I knew the guy wasn't doing it deliberately but our company sells a certain make of CRM, and basically this guy recommended our competition. However, I wasn't going to get into an argument over such a thing, and I wasn't going to write our product name, so I kindly asked the guy and the moderator to remove it. In the end, the moderator refused to remove the post, but the owner did it himself. Very good of him!


 6:04 pm on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yeah, my intentions would be good, but I can see where it would get out of hand. I think there are a lot of people on here who would be helped if they found out about a certain free revision control system or certain free editors, but I can see the problem.



 9:19 pm on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's not just spam. Here's the MO we see time and time again:

-member a: check out this cool software http..
-member b: that software is so bad, it smells like week old fish.
-member c: Yes, it really does suck more than a hoover.
-member d: HEY, that;s MY software buddy....

And here we go with the author back tracking a referral and having to defend his product. We've see that one atleast 50 times.

The problem with it are both from a stand point of spam, (where A and D actually a tag team?), and the unseen legal problem of the occasional slander or libel (most c&d's relate to software or commercial services).

Where to draw the line? It's a question we wrestle with constantly. We like to take a hands off approach to moderating where possible. What we run into is the same trouble search engines have: what is spam and how do you identify it? Everytime we come up with a set definition, someone figures out a way around it in short order.

We aren't perfect, and will make mistakes from time to time identifying it, and dealing with it.

With specific regard to software, 100% freeware clean (no spyware/leechware..etc) products are generally not a problem.

Mostly! thanks for recognizing the situation. That education factor does more than anything we could ever do from a policy standpoint.


 9:32 pm on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here's where it runs into a problem for me. I'm a software junkie. I LOVE freeware, from those nifty little graphics utilities like Eyedropper and Irfanview, to a free (until the next release) HTML editor that does everything but wash your back for you, including being able to edit scripts, pull font tags - sheesh, it's got a thesaurus. It's got a million plugins, you name it, it does it. It's the greatest thing since chocolate candy. Then there are the incredible Open Source goodies around.

If those were posted sure enough someone will post a script from their site that's SELLING stuff. Next thing we know someone will post a "FREE" product that isn't - free download to try maybe, but then how much, when it's really shareware.

It only takes a few to spoil it for everyone, and actually rob them of what could be so valuable for all of us to share. THAT is why I hate spammers.


 10:45 pm on May 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

My own vision was (and upon reflection I realize how incredibly naive this was), a "thread" that would be only one post - this is great and free. Check it out. Of course, I know from other forums that "what editor do you use" thread bring out legions of people who feel the need to chime in that vim/emacs/xgPadPro is the only editor anyone who calls herself a programmer would ever consider using.

Well, I'm glad I asked in the Community Center before getting screamed (typed??) at in some other forum.

Cheers all

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