I recently provided a nice honest response to a request for travel ideas to Brazil. At the end of my honest and true response I did plug my website. Your forum rules do state that Website links are not allowed unless responses are true and honest contributions which it was. I did read a similar posting form another user who did the same.
What's the catch? I read that you told the other fellow he had to "build trust". Can you give an example of any other users who are in my same shoes and were successfully able to contribute to the forum as well as promote their site?
You're simply not allowed to promote anything you have a personal benefit from in the open forums. Period. The rule "NO website postings for promotional purposes are permitted. If the postings are genuine responses to questions, we will permit them." doesn't mean that promotion is okay as long as your reply is helpful; it means that all URLs are disallowed, except for those of a non-promotional nature that are actually relevant as an answer to a question.
We have a wiki guide about the only two ways in which you are allowed to promote your own website: by a link in your profile (enabled once your contributions have passed a certain threshold of usefulness (your member title will change to "Full Member" at this point), and by contributing at least 15% of the content on any wiki guide article (which will make the same link show under the contributors section on that guide page)).
The "build trust" rule is for URLs that are in the grey zone; we don't know if the user has a personal benefit from them. With such URLs we err on the side of caution and delete everything which seems remotely dodgy, until we learn to trust that a user isn't present on these forums for the purposes of promoting their website. But even our most trusted users wouldn't be allowed to blatantly promote their own website.
And yes, these rules are very harsh. But the number of people in the travel industry which try to promote their businesses here is vast beyond belief, and if we'd be less strict, they'd quickly overtake the legitimate advice genuine travellers give each other, thus making the forum less useful for everyone.
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Nov-2012, at 09:37 by Sander ]