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If you have a directory site that accepts paid listings, how do you handle this? Reject off-topic listings and refund? Show clear conditions beforehand, reject the listings, and keep the money (as a Yahoo-style review fee)? Or only ask for payment after the ad has been accepted (which will vastly increase the amount of spam and proportion that pay, I expect)?
If someone wants to pay me for a listing that's in category that exists in my directory, then I'll let them (unless they violate my site's rules).
If someone wants to have a new category created for them, then I check to see if that new category is really new and not contained in an existing category. If the category is really new and fits the theme of my directory, then I'll be happy to add it for them.
If someone pays in advance for a listing and I don't want to give them one, then I promptly refund their money.
It's important to have clearly stated business policies on your site and to adhere to them. A refund policy should be included in that list.
If the category is really new and fits the theme of my directory, then I'll be happy to add it for them.
Where my site is slightly different is that the links are related to the subject of each page -- so they're either in a category, or not acceptable at all.
So the grey area is when the submitter thinks it is in the catgory, but I do not. This is most likely to happen when their site covers a wide subject area that makes a passing mention of the subject of the page, rather than being focussed on it.
Looking around, I see that "no refund" is quite a common policy and seems to be accepted (if it's a small amount). Some sites do offer refunds for the first few times (per customer), refunds with a fee deducted etc but these start to get time consuming to administer, hard to scale.
The disadvantage with a no refund policy would be chargebacks (more expensive than a refund), even when showing the amount as a clear "no refund one-off review fee" . I'll try it and see how it goes.
But I think you'll get more people not renewing than first time refunds. Sometimes you have to realise people are idiots, they will make illogical decisions and even make embarrasing errors with their cash, they expect everyone to produce amazing super duper results for pennies, and it don't work like that. I even had one guy say my site was 'crap', and I gave him something for free - hows that for gratitude lol. He probably expects every business to be just like Google or something. See - idiots...