is advertising allowed or not?!

Here is the latest email exchange between TubaDiva and I:

In a message dated 07/24/2005 09:17:23 PM Eastern Daylight Time, unclviny writes:

After taking a 2 month “time out” I logged in to the SDMB and looked around a little to see if the “no advertising” rule was being enforced and it wasn’t (sadly I didn’t expect it to be). Several months ago I got an ass chewing and an “official warning” because I had a link to my Ebay store in my sig line and as my homepage link and when I looked around today on the SDMB I found the following:

olenielsen - homepage is selling PENIS PUMPS!!.
elmwood - homepage is asking for donations and selling books.
johnny L.A. - homepage rents camera’s and sell movies.
UncleBeer - homepage is selling broadband network services.

In some ways I actually miss the SDMB’s and I have even considered coming back but I just can’t see paying for the selective enforcement of the rules (which seem to be against me, I guess I should sell penis pumps). I was a big TD supporter during the “thing that we don’t discuss” and I wish you all the best in the future but I suggest to you that you need to do some cleaning up on the boards.


Dear Unclviny:

I regret that you were so upset over this situation that you felt it appropriate to leave.

Many of our members list their business webpages in their profiles. Unless it is something so blatant that it’s obviously advertising or is a direct link to adult material (like *****'s feelthy picture business; she used to just have one link to the XXX and we yelled at her for that), we usually let it slide.

I admit, the guy selling penis pumps is treading very close to that line and will be looked at, thanks for alerting us.

The other links are to businesses, but they do not overly advertise or seek to exploit the SDMB.

Please note that we are not able to monitor the listing habits of our members 24/7; in fact, it’s often user complaints that bring these matters to our attention.

We’re not opposed to you being in business; we do object to the SDMB being used as a medium for commerce. This is why you got dinged for using your signature file to flog your ebay sales.

There are a few exceptions – asked for and granted permission in advance – but as a rule we frown on using sig files to advertise a business or other outside pursuit. I guess you could say render unto Cecil, that’s a good way to look at it.

Most of all, we don’t want the board to simply be a vehicle for people and their outside activities; that’s not our purpose. That’s how USENET got to be such a wasteland. We’d hate to see that here and the staff fights diligently to keep it from being so.

I hope this explains things to you in a way that is sufficient for your needs. I appreciate that you took the time to write.

I also hope you return to the board.

I wish you well in all your undertakings

your humble TubaDiva

[end email (that I edited lightly to remove identifiers)]

This seems like a big deal to me and I see this as a nicely worded “piss off and mind your own business” email, so I will be pissing off.
For anyone who is interested there are rules about advertising on the SDMB (second from the left in that little blue bar near the top of your screen) but apparently the rules don’t apply to all.

In a look around the boards I found a bunch more folks with advertising links (including some disturbing porno links) but since the PTB don’t seem to care I’m not “outing” those folks.

It’s been real


Boo hoo. They don’t take the time to click on everybody’s homepage just to make sure that they’re not selling anything, the homepage link is a distinct action away from linking directly to a shopping website, and those that have direct advertising get smacked down when noticed or reported, as evidenced by “I admit, the guy selling penis pumps is treading very close to that line and will be looked at, thanks for alerting us” in your e-mail.

In other words, you made it conspicuous in some way and got slapped for it. Is your business now suffering because there aren’t any Dopers buying your wares? Thought not. Get a grip.

My two cents:

If the only purpose of the homepage/link is to sell stuff, then I’d say it should be disallowed as advertising.

If the homepage/link happens to be a catch-all site, with some selling mixed in with a lot of non-selling stuff (“Here’s a list of my hobbies, here are my vacation photos, here is a CD my band released last month”), then I don’t think that constitutes advertising.

Bolding in quotes is mine.

Tuba warned you for the eBay store link in your sig, not in your homepage link. The others you mentioned are homepage links. I don’t see any favoritism here, but I see you asking for it.

Nice tantrum, though. I’m sure the admins will cave to your demand for special treatment just as soon as you turn blue from holding your fucking breath.

Both Uvula Donor and **rjung ** seem to be able to grasp the distinction between using a sig as advertising, and having a small amount of advertising on one’s homepage, with many other non=commercial information. I don’t know how many times this has to be explained to you, unclviny. If you had a homepage that contained MOSTLY noncommercial information, and a link to your eBay store, that would be allowable. A commercial link in a sig is NOT ALLOWED.

To further iteratate what has already been said, hree is the text from your current sig line, which you call a "[Copy-and-Paste] from"

The emphasis is mine. “Do not post”. Listing your internet homaepage in the “List your homepage here” field provided in your profile is not the same as making a post. Appending something in a sig line, which appears a part of the text of a post to the message board and becomes part of the thread, is “posting”.

Further to that, of course, moderators act only when they notice something or when it is brought to their attention. The mods are very likely to see a freqeuntly-used signature line, but not very likely to check the “Visit my homepage” link on every post they see.

(Honest, ** Lynn**'s post wasn’t there! I swear!)

Anybody wanna bet he comes back?

I’m sorry that unclviny has seen fit to make all this public, but since he has, my explanation will also be public as well. (I’ll send him email too, which is where this started.)

No, this was not “piss off and mind your own business;” it was an explanation of why we ruled as we did and why we do as we do. I welcomed Vince back to the board.

This is his business (in more ways than one) and I was trying to facilitate it so that he could have what he would like while still staying within the confines of the Straight Dope rules.

As to “mind your own business,” many of our enforcement actions come in the wake of reports from the field. We’re not here 24/7 and we do not see everything going on all the time. We depend on our members to help keep us informed and we appreciate their notifications, like in this case.

Unclviny, I regret that you have chosen to make this a personal insult; that’s not my intention at all and never was, quite the opposite in fact. I hope you reconsider and return.

your humble TubaDiva

To the horses! Or the Honda Civics. I swear by all that is holy, if “homepage” is the same as “sig-line,” as it pertains to this board, I shall dedicate my fingers and humble wit to you, unclviny, and pursue a new and better SDMB that has just lots and lots and* lots * of half-assed, self-promotional, commercial dreck bogging down every single post! Yes I will!

Oh. They’re not the same? One is imposed on all unwary readers and the other only on those who, with a click or two, evince a personal interest in a particular poster? Oh.

Never mind, then. I’m just here for the dwindling opportunities to crack jokes. I hope your recently chewed ass is more comfortable to sit on, but your EBay enterprises are going to have to make it on their own. If you come up with any really special porno, keep it off the board – just E-mail me.

Oh, man, I better turn myself in. I have a link to a store for my radio show on my site. And bookstores of both DJs! Oh no! And there’s also a link back to a college site, how dare I promote such private institutions!

Hi Jim, I guess you know what to do here.

your humble TubaDiva
Who is all for art and commerce, but not in sig files.

Then I guess mine would qualify:

(goddamned hamsters):

JimSox5 blue trext on red background, you monster.

unclviny how about not putting an advert in your sig and coming back?

Are you charging money for this DopeFest? Is it a commercial enterprise? Are you advertising a business in that sig?


your humble TubaDiva

I’m gonna slap ya, Jenny!

Do these penis pumps have a money back guarantee? :confused:

You, dropzone, are one brave man.

That’s one interpretation.