Unallowed "promo" vs. link within the context of a response

Travel Forums System Talk Unallowed "promo" vs. link within the context of a response

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1. Posted by anamarija (Budding Member 43 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I'm a bit confused with this posting rule, but since I'm new here, maybe I just need a clarification.

I've posted a reply to one of the qustions, and since the person inquired about a country, I also posted a link to the said country's national tourist board's website, more precisely to a webpage where one can freely download tourist brochures to get more detailed information. The link was within the context of the question and my reply, but the post was later edited by a moderator and the link deleted, with a note "Sorry, no promos please".

In the Forum Rules it says: "...NO website postings for promotional purposes are permitted. If the postings are genuine responses to questions, we will permit them. Any website postings that look like they are only there to promote a website rather than help other members will be removed...." , and I completely agree with that.

But, by posting that link, I was not "promoting a website" , I was just giving that person a more detailed information resource than I could include in my post.

I'm not pointing fingers at anyone, I'm just genuinely confused by this. What's then an "allowed link" and what's not?

2. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4138 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I often mark posts as spam when there is a link to a commercial organisation, but not always. For instance, some people ask for advice on banks or airlines, and they receive responses with links to a bunch of banks or whatever. I'm certainly not going to mark these as spam as the reponse is obviously general (and helpful) in nature. The person posting the links is obviously not promoting something they have a commercial interest in (unless they happen to be Richard Branson, but last time I checked he's not a member of TP!).

Posting a link to a tourist board's website is certainly not a posting for "promotional purposes".

I suggest that moderators and gurus follow the link to see what it actually is before marking as spam and then use good judgment.

3. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3549 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Its a judgement call basically - lm not saying our judgement is always good judgement(l say we lm refering to we as the moderator aka janitors) - l tend to base my editing based on a members status aka budding versus budding full versus respected etc etc. BUT should a member have a problem with what a moderator has edited or deleted then let us know - we're not monsters - well usually not!!!

4. Posted by anamarija (Budding Member 43 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

O-kay. A bit less confused, here :)

Thanks for the replies, James & Purdy. It does seem like a quick removal of a link before checking what it was. No problem, really, I just wanted to know if the mistake was on my side.

Oh, and..."janitors"? "Monsters"? Tsk, tsk... As a moderator of a couple of groups and an owner of one, I can safely say that mods are extremely nice people. Right?

5. Posted by Hien (Travel Guru 3906 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Purdy

BUT should a member have a problem with what a moderator has edited or deleted then let us know - we're not monsters - well usually not!!!

Just want to make it clear that I'm not part of this "we" reference to monsters!

[ Edit: Edited by Hien ]

6. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Sometimes it's obvious and other times I tend to go with my gut for these things. I saw a post this morning where I guy asked for info on Australia, then had a link to his Australia page. Pretty obvious. But sometimes people link a site and ask if we'd recommend it, or give a rave review of a place they stayed at. I think a combo of # of posts, tone, "why would they join TP to post THAT?", and feeling like we're being duped is what we go with.

Plus the spam button is just raising a flag--the mods make the final call. :)

7. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

There are 2 posts by the same user, MRB_IEP (who I'm guessing to be Martijn R Bier from IEP New Zealand) located here and here.

These replies are in the context of the thread, however they are also promotional posts for the organisation he works for. I remember suggesting previously that it may be an idea for people from travel companies can be members (as long as how they post adheres to the rules), along with it being clear in their member status that they are from that company. In fact, in his first post linked to above he does say he is from IEP.

Are these 2 posts considered to be ok under current rules or not? I haven't flagged them because they are in context, yet promotional. If people from travel companies were allowed with a clear indication they're from said company it would, I feel, make things clearer regarding such posts.

8. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Blatant abuse aside, I think one should check the following before flagging posts:

  • member's posting history; what are other posts like?
  • the actual content of the site linked to (seemingly harmless blogs may be aggressively promotional and vice versa)
  • is mentioning the site appropriate in the context of the thread?

Note that the forum rules mention promotional purposes, not promotional websites: many links to commercial organisations are useful, which is why imo the member's posting history is so important.

I like Mojo's proposal by the way; it would be good if we had a way to distinguish the travellers from those working in tourism.

[ Edit: Edited on Jun 12, 2008, at 4:11 AM by bentivogli ]

9. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5954 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I'd say Martijn has gone out of his way to try to make it clear that he's with IEP by including the _IEP in his username. The posts themselves are what I'd consider on the edge of "promotional", but because of the above I'd be inclined to let them be. (Though I'm not a moderator for that forum, so it wouldn't be my call, and I'd still probably prod Sam or Peter to make certain they were aware of it.)

10. Posted by MRB_IEP (Budding Member 17 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hi guys.... Let's clear a few things up.

• Yes I am Martijn from IEP - International Exchange Programs. This is not something I'm trying to hide, that's why I've put the IEP in my user name. Unfortunately this forum only allows short usernames as it had my preference to be 'Martijn (IEP)' so it was even more clear. In fact I am proud to be working for IEP and being able to help young Kiwis in having the best time ever when working & travelling overseas.

• IEP is a non-profit organisation and part of BUNAC - British Universities North America Club. The reason I have posted a few articles on this blog is that I noticed that a lot of people have questions about visas for working holidays or volunteer trips. And yes visas and dealing consulates or High Commissions can be a pain the b... So I'm not trying to push our programs in an agressive way at all. On the contrary, as we are non-profit we are here in NZ (and Australia) to help people going overseas on their OE (overseas experience).

• And yes there are other options out there. For some countries you can arrange your own visa but for some (like the USA or the Canada returner visa) you definitely need a company sponsoring you. Plus we do so much more than just a visa because an OE is more than just that. And isn't it nice to know that there is a non-profit organisation out there taking care of you and only charging a minimal program fee, instead of charging you an arm and a leg?