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Thread: Vendor Forums

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  1. #1
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    Default Vendor Forums

    Barry, perhaps this should be a PM, but I like things out in the open if possible.

    When I (and I know Ramona does the same...can't speak for anyone else) read the site, I generally go to 'new posts', and I don't pay much attention to what particular sub forum I'm reading or contributing to (I do try to keep anything going into the commercial forum relevent to commercial beekeeping/beeekeepers).

    It seems that the sponsered vendors are generally using their sub-forums to advertise...and when they are, even if I don't know what sub-forum I'm on, I know it is an advertisment....and it's clearly not a regular beesource discussion.

    Today (you know the thread), an open question was asked by one of the vendors in their own forum about why not use a particular treatment (the equipment to apply this treatment is what they 'vend').

    I answered as I would anywhere...concerns about safety (which are real), pointing to MSDS for the substance, pointing out well known negative effects of the treatment, concerns about customers being mislead about the legality.....

    Obviously, the vendor didn't want this on his subforum and deleted these posts which were made in good faith and designed to contribute to the discussion of the question posed.

    The problem is that these sponsored subforums appear to be on equal footing with the freely shared info from the rest of the BS community..but obviously they are different.

    I wouldn't for a second want to host a discussion of our book (on BS or on my own website) where I could simply delete criticism I didn't like...and certainly the discussions of our book here on BS haven't been without criticism. The people that would be problematic enough to have to moderate (from my perspective) have mostly already been banned by you on the site...it would be for real reasons.

    I don't know what to suggest, but for those that use the site like I do (with the 'new posts') I think the sponsored forums are problematic because they have a whole different set of standards from the rest of the site.

    Perhaps they should only be for advertising and not for discussion? Perhaps they should come up separately when viewing new posts? Perhaps they should have some kind of visible warning?

    In any case, thought I would mention it...I don't think advertisements should look like forum posts to the user.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Vendor Forums

    Dean, you raise some good points.

    The Vendor Forums are designed to give vendors who pay for an ad, a place to post sales, additions, promotions, new items for sale, etc., as others do in the For Sale Forum. I do not allow general discussion to take place in the Vendor forums for some of the reasons you mention. I have warned vendors that using their own forum can be a blessing and a curse, if not used correctly. If I was a vendor, I would never start a thread that invited discussion about my product because you will get both positive and negative replies. I would start a thread like "February Sale On Frames", make my post describing the sale details and then close the thread so no one can post a reply. It should really be used as a one way communication tool.

    Hadn't thought about how this works in conjunction with iSpy or new posts. I probably need to get more detailed with vendors on how these forums are to be used.
    Regards, Barry

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Vendor Forums

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply Barry, I appreciate it....and I agree with the above, except that I do think it is good to have both positive and negative comments on products...even for the vendor.
    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Vendor Forums

    As a consumer, one has a place to express their experience with a product or supplier in the Consumer Report Forum. I think it should be a vendors decision whether or not it's good to allow discussion about there product. One just has to be ready to deal with both sides of the coin if they open it up for replies.
    Regards, Barry

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Vendor Forums

    I agree Dean. While I admit at the time of my post I was aware of it. I didn't expect it to play out the way it did however. I won't directly comment about whether I feel you were treated fairly as I wasn't able to read your comments. Get over it Dean, the Pats lost get on with your life. I always enjoy a debate with you, you usually give better than you get at least in a fair fight.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Vendor Forums

    Dean, you sell a product, if you were using this forum as a vendor, how would you want to see the tools made available to you? What changes would you want to see made? What improvements can be made for the vendor? I'm all ears for making any changes that make it a win-win for vendor and consumer. Each have different objectives and it can be a hard line to find the perfect balance.
    Regards, Barry

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Vendor Forums

    Hi Barry and all...I wanted to give this the thoughtful response that it deserves.

    The issue I have is not of 'fairness'...I think we have discussed that issue recently. The issue is that these vendor forums have a vastly different purpose and vastly different criteria than the rest of the site. If this is not clearly visible to the user, I think it reduces the value of the site as a whole (just as a news story is reduced if it contains a paid advertisement that isn't clearly visible as such).

    As a 'vendor', I'm in a little bit of a different situation than most vendors (I think). Unlike most that are advertising, the book we wrote is not published by us, so there isn't the kind of direct cashflow from successful advertising campaign to my wallet that someone that sells a product directly has. We do sell our book on our website for the same cover price you will pay at a local bookstore (and we will sign it), but you have to pay shipping, and we have to buy the book at the same wholesale price as everyone else. I've seen Walmart online sell the book for litterally a few pennies more than we pay wholesale...I can't afford to compete with that, and I can't predict when the prices on Amazon, Walmart, Target, B&N, etc will go up or down.
    Right now, B&N has our book for under $8 new. I'd love for thousands to sell at that price, but I don't have a reasonable way to pay for advertising (here or elsewhere) that I can recoup from B&N selling some books. The resources for that budget lie with the publisher.
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/listin...-2687052267018
    ...I'm can't compete with that on any level, and I won't try.

    From an overall perspective, you want to make the advertisers message visible to the visitors of the site, but you don't want to confuse it with the non-commercial nature of most of the forums.

    In 'what's new' view, I would put the newest of the sponsored forums on the right of the screen (where the ads are on other screens) and label them as such. This keeps them visible (and of value to the advertiser) but not confused with the regular forums.

    There should be some description as to the guidlines of the vendor forums....I went to look and see what the guidelines were when my posts started getting deleted and couldn't find any.

    I agree that these should probably be 1 way communication from the advertiser. Once that is breached and an open question is asked, I think the same moderation criteria should apply as to the rest of BS...no special treatment.

    I remember one incident where my posts were deleted because it was said that it might 'embarass' the vendor (they were trying to drum up votes with a premium offer for a contest for which giving premium offers were prohibited...I pointed this out and was told that I should have PM'd the vendor so as not to embarrass them instead of posting on the thread that they started). This shouldn't happen...the same criteria should generally apply to everyone (specifically WRT special treatment for advertisers).

    All products and all services should be up for scrutiny in the main forums one way or another..sponsor or not. If the vendors choose to open up for questions in their own forum about the product they sell, someone besides them should be moderating the forum...or there should be a clear messsage at the top of every MESSAGE that this is a paid location on BS and is for marketing purposes (not informational) and that the discussion will be moderated towards that goal. If one wants to have a discussion about their product that meets the standards of BS, it should not happen on the vendor forum with the vendor as mod.

    deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Vendor Forums

    Dean,
    Your posts were deleted because you thought I should have done more to point out safety on my website. That was not a topic open to discussion. Then you go on to lie in post 21 in this thread that they were not even there at all.

    I'm sorry, but I'm through with this "discussion." Rant and post all you like, others can see though you.
    http://OxaVap.com
    Your source for the Varrox Vaporizer, "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

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