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  1. #1
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Discussion on new forum rules
    The new rules are a closed thread and we are getting them positioned in the top navigation. If you have any questions please do so in this thread.

    The intent of the new rules are to open conversation in the forum. As with any new administration the changes reflect the personality and the commitment of the new admin. Your opinions are appreciated and welcomed.

    http://www.abestweb.com/forums/midni...es-146455.html
    Last edited by Chuck Hamrick; July 7th, 2011 at 12:03 AM.

  2. #2
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Feels cleaner.

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  4. #3
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Personally, the rules on recruiting I think are not in line with the "open discussion" that many people were talking about regarding the change in direction.

    One of the points that was made over and over was that people here at ABW were adults, and wanted to have adult conversations, and that ABW rules should allow them to do that without heavy moderation.

    (I paraphrased an idea that was circulated there, so don't take me word for word but I think you get the idea)

    There are 2 parts to recruiting...

    1. The Affiliate Managers. Makes sense financially to not have people coming here to recruit to programs ... but doesn't make much sense if the main purpose of the board is to benefit the Affiliates that participate here. If the main purpose is to benefit Affiliates.... why not let them make their own decisions as to what posts they read and which ones they ignore as "alien solicitation", so to speak.

    2. The "other" boards. In my opinion, this is just counter-productive and scares your members. People don't want to feel like they have to choose between platforms or places where they could go and express themselves.

    At the very least, it is vague - I understand that you don't want to have people recruiting to other message boards.... but honestly, is this a big problem? Are people coming in everyday and trying to sneak members out of ABW... and if so, does that even work?

    Is it a big enough problem to cause a stir over and then make people uncomfortable to talk about things such as Affiliate Summit, Twitter, Revenews, Facebook, BlogWorld etc...? These are huge important things in the Affiliate Marketing world.... some of them could be considered forums, or even have forums.

    ABW is a strong message board brand, and the stickiness of ABW should be the quality of the conversation, the volume of participation, and the people here.... In my opinion it is of no value to add such a strong rule (Note that it is the only rule with an IP ban - so I assume it is pretty much the worst thing you can do within these sets of rules) which only leads to members confusion and a possible lack of discussion about topics which are really actually important.


    In other words, if you are going to open up the dialogue, open up the discussion, etc... why not just go all the way with it and let people talk about what they want to talk about and not worry that they may also choose to talk about things on other platforms as well.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

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  6. #4
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    I've always found it quite disheartening that I stood up to the parasites and networks against them stealing affilaite commissions yet when I was stolen from I was the bad guy because I acted on it

    It made no sense then, and even less now. Actually it says a lot to me about these people and their motives, not to understand that they were empowering, facilitating and committing theft and I hope it does to you (everyone) as well. Well that was then, when I owned ABW.

    This is now, a corporation owns it. But, does that really change the matter that it's theft? I think not.

    ---------
    Brian, clearly as someone who understands the benefits of exclusivity (with their merchants) why would you even think of saying that the no recruiting policy isn't "open"? Is it ok for CJ, LS or other merchants to post recruiting ads on your site? or for that matter in your forum? Once again, I think not! ABW isn't precluding people from going elsewhere, it's just saying "post no bills"

    ---------

    I've seen the happenings and events "Here and there" over the past 600+ days -- it was very clear that behind the scenes recruiting was happening here at ABW and, I still see it happening this very day. That's not going to change, the people who do it, do so to fuffill an agenda, spite or what ever other gain they might seek. But once again, it doesn't make it right!

    As such, I see no justification to say yes, it's ok to allow member theft, recruit for free or steal from forum. Such acts of BAD faith, should not be encouraged, thus verbiage in the rules against such.

    Disclaimer: I have no extra rights nor privileges here other than being the founder, and like I said before I care what happens. This is not from or by iNET, just me.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

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  8. #5
    ABW Ambassador I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    @Brian: Thanks for posting your thoughts. A quick response, which I hope you find to be direct answers...

    Regarding "Open Discussion":

    That is a point of emphasis with the changes. The ability for affiliates to say what is on their mind, without demanding it must be said in a certain way, is important to encourage all affiliates to express their opinions and genuine conversation on issues. Telling independent, A-type, self employed adults how they are to express themselves could be seen to stifle discussion. Demanding only a slice of acceptable behavior, demonstrated that you retain only a slice of the conversation. For the most part, affiliates keep themselves in check on this front - there will be exceptions. Its an internet forum though, thats the way it works, and we should keep in mind they are only exceptions.


    Regarding Recruiting affiliates:

    Recruiting for affiliates on ABW has always been limited to paid subforums or paid advertisements, or authorized free giveaways for things that are usually paid for. These rules enforce that same policy regarding unauthorized affiliate recruiting.

    Regarding recruiting for other boards:

    Competing networks aren't allowed to recruit in your subforum. Competing forums aren't allowed to recruit in our forum. That is all this is. That is the reason the rules are up front about this. Has it been a problem? Yes. The rule however does not have any verbiage which should cause concern about being a member at various forums.

    I have removed the "ip ban" statement from this section of the rules ("ip ban" also exists in the chat rules, for impersonating others and spam), thanks for noting that. It was carried over from old versions of the rules, but that section is no more important than any other and I agree it could yield the wrong impression.
    Last edited by I.M.O.G.; July 7th, 2011 at 02:15 PM.
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  9. #6
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting the new rules. They looked short and sweet and direct.

    Only problem is I never read any of the old rules - LOL - really! What, if anything changed?

    I'm fuzzy on the definition of "recruiting".

    If there's an important industry discussion happening on Facebook - or some other forum - are we allowed to say "Wow! Did you see what Sandy said on Facebook about Commission Junction?"

    Or is that considered "recruiting"?

    Best, Billy

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  11. #7
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Fair enough on "post no bills" but I was just expressing an opinion that I felt the policy in general caused members to be scared of posting about certain things.


    I totally get not letting people recruit to other message boards... My comments were about how that plays out. So 99% of the members would never do that out of common courtesy... but I think having such a focus on it makes members afraid to even post about events, or link to a news item on some blog somewhere for example.

    What I was asking for was a little clarification. A sentence that includes both recruiting as an AM (could happen a lot) and recruiting to other message boards (probably less and obviously taboo) make them basically sound like the same thing.


    Anyhow - it was just a suggestion, and meant in a constructive way. I certainly don't mean that you should condone theft. I felt that the topic caused some members to feel as though they were nervous about posting on different subjects.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  12. #8
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Billy,

    These rules supersede the old ones so it really doesn't matter if the old ones said, especially if you never even read them LOL!

    Regarding your Q: If you have to ask, you already know the answer. Don't ya
    Last edited by Haiko de Poel, Jr.; July 7th, 2011 at 03:11 PM.
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  13. #9
    ShareASale President/CEO and ABW Veteran Brian - ShareASale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I.M.O.G. View Post
    @Brian: Thanks for posting your thoughts. A quick response, which I hope you find to be direct answers...

    Regarding "Open Discussion":

    That is a point of emphasis with the changes. The ability for affiliates to say what is on their mind, without demanding it must be said in a certain way, is important to encourage all affiliates to express their opinions and genuine conversation on issues. Telling independent, A-type, self employed adults how they are to express themselves could be seen to stifle discussion. Demanding only a slice of acceptable behavior, demonstrated that you retain only a slice of the conversation. For the most part, affiliates keep themselves in check on this front - there will be exceptions. Its an internet forum though, thats the way it works, and we should keep in mind they are only exceptions.


    Regarding Recruiting affiliates:

    Recruiting for affiliates on ABW has always been limited to paid subforums or paid advertisements, or authorized free giveaways for things that are usually paid for. These rules enforce that same policy regarding unauthorized affiliate recruiting.

    Regarding recruiting for other boards:

    Competing networks aren't allowed to recruit in your subforum. Competing forums aren't allowed to recruit in our forum. That is all this is. That is the reason the rules are up front about this. Has it been a problem? Yes. The rule however does not have any verbiage which should cause concern about being a member at various forums.

    I have removed the "ip ban" statement from this section of the rules ("ip ban" also exists in the chat rules, for impersonating others and spam), thanks for noting that. It was carried over from old versions of the rules, but that section is no more important than any other and I agree it could yield the wrong impression.
    Fair enough, thanks! I disagree on a few points but the world won't end.
    Thanks,

    Brian Littleton
    President/CEO - ShareASale.com, Inc.

  14. #10
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Billy,

    These rules supersede the old ones so it really doesn't matter if the old ones said, especially if you never even read them LOL!

    Regarding your Q: If you have to ask, you already know the answer. Don't ya
    Didn't answer my simple question did it???????

  15. #11
    ABW Ambassador I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
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    @Billy: Good question! By the way, the new rules link to the old rules at the bottom for your comparison.

    Usually I would say under the rules as stated that is good in most every case. If members see something interesting and want to pull in some of the insight and opinions around here from people they are familiar with whose opinions they trust, sounds good to me.

    The real world isn't always black and white however, and affiliate marketing gets a lot more complex in particular - sometimes motives aren't clear. So sometimes we'd have to be reasonable when looking at something on a case by case basis and taking relevant circumstance under consideration. So an example might help:

    For example, imagine someone operates an affiliate forum (conflict of interest), they've recently been actively engaging in PR disparaging ABW (conflict of interest), they've recently misrepresented various statements or claims unintentionally or possibly for their own interests, they haven't been genuinely active in regular ABW discussions in quite some time but still come to stir the pot when there is drama, and often when they say "hey did you hear about..." they are promoting content from the same site, or promoting advertisements posted elsewhere... In a situation like that, where this is an ongoing issue a reasonable person may take the impression that the persion is actually astroturfing to recruit members when they say "Wow! Did you see what Sandy said on X Forum about Commission Junction?"

    The most important part is "reasonable". The extreme nature of the example is ridiculous. Unless there is an ongoing problem with pretty questionable circumstances, I think regular members talking about stuff like that is great and should be encouraged here.

    I am familiar with past concerns about ABW being a walled garden, and pretending it was the only place that existed. It isn't, and ABW's strength as a community is in site values and empowering affiliates big and small, making it a place people come to share information, talk about resolving problems, and often times actually effecting positive industry change either through supporting best practices or when it makes a little noise to get the right person's attention.
    Last edited by I.M.O.G.; July 7th, 2011 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Added note about comparison with old rules, added @Billy as several comments snuck in as I was typing
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  16. #12
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Thanks IMOG. That's clear and fair

    Next, someone (preferabbly Haiko) should start a thread on How to get ABW to where it makes a difference. I'm told we can't go back to the glory days, but that doesn't mean we can't affect change!

    Not directed at ABW...

    Forum have changed to being fluffy.

    The things we fought for or against a decade ago are still there - under different names. As a group, we have yet to convince Networks that they actually have to respond to affiliate emails. Or that waiting 6 months for a commission is unacceptable.

    If we've progressed to the point that "ganging up on them", "outing them in public" is no longer an accepted way to affect change, then what is?

    Maybe I'm a dinosaur. I veered off topic. Feel free to move this.

    Best, Billy

  17. #13
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    "If we've progressed to the point that "ganging up on them", "outing them in public" is no longer an accepted way to affect change, then what is?"

    I'm fine with that. In fact, there is one merchant that dropped some coupon sites on a specific date and haven't paid yet for sales prior to that date. If I don't get paid by the end of July, I'm going to out them, BBB them, Twitter them, Facebook page them, until I get money owed.

  18. #14
    Outsourced Program Manager Affiliate Eagle's Avatar
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  19. #15
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    I think the general membership at ABW has no intentions of recruiting. The NO Recruiting policy should be there in case it needs to be pulled out and shown as a reminder to someone in the event it does happen and to enforce consequences should they be required. Still have to protect the livelihood of the forum itself.

    What I see the contention being, or maybe the confusion, is the fear of even mentioning another related forum. You see, from time to time, someone coming in and say they didn't get a response they liked on WickedFire. Now no one is gong to admonish that poster, or me for mentioning that forum - because I doubt if anyone here is actively participating in that sort of forum. However, if someone were to say I posted on xyz.com and got this reply, and xyz.com being a generally known forum, things currently may be handled differently.

    I suspect there is a great number of members who really haven't read the rules, or they do whenever a new version comes out. Those same members are not forum dropping. The general membership here either has respect for the property they are on, have seen discussions / bans about members recruiting, or are just simply unsure if they can for fear of some severe repercussion.

    We already remove hyperlinks, what's wrong with mentioning the name of another forum as long as it's not linked to, is not recruiting members, and/or bashing another forum?

    Just my thoughts...
    Last edited by Convergence; July 7th, 2011 at 04:18 PM.
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  20. #16
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    More to Billys point, several years ago when Twitter was still newish, just prior to Summit we had a 'follow me on twitter' thread. It didn't end ABW, it only gave another way to communicate when we weren't easily able to post on the forum.

    Discussions have a tendency to happen where they happen. FB, T or ABW. Referencing the new Google+ platform should not end my relationship with ABW because I want people to know I'm there also. ALSO, being the keyword. Revenews frequently got mentioned and linked to, some discussion took place there, but mostly if you're an ABW user you read the information and came here to discuss it in depth.

    I have no problem with the 'post no bills' attitude, but if during a discussion someone happens to link to a relevant conversation at another site I think there needs to be a fair handed treatment that they were trying to advance the conversation at ABW, not trying to drive traffic away to a site we already know about anyway.
    Last edited by knight01; July 7th, 2011 at 04:56 PM.
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  21. #17
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I.M.O.G. View Post
    imagine someone operates an affiliate forum (conflict of interest)
    Why do you consider membership in one affiliate forum while running a second affiliate forum a "conflict of interest" when there is no vested interest in the former? There are a number of members here who run their own affiliate forums. Are they conflicted? If so, shouldn't you limit their access?



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  22. #18
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boom or Bust View Post
    Why do you consider membership in one affiliate forum while running a second affiliate forum a "conflict of interest" when there is no vested interest in the former? There are a number of members here who run their own affiliate forums. Are they conflicted? If so, shouldn't you limit their access?
    I think everybody knows what is meant with that. And it's pretty common with all kinds of forums on the internet.

    If you have a forum on Ford Mustangs, you don't go to other Ford Mustang forums posting links to your forum and trying to market it on the sly. Not only is that usually against the rules on many forums, it's bad manners. And let's be real, it's really not to hard to figure out intent based on a history of somebody's posts. Or course anybody can get in on the discussion, even if you have the same type of forum but if they're there mainly to promote, then no. Intent plays a major part.

    Since I see Connie up there, let's use that as an example. Connie has a forum on her coupon site. There were some people that signed up to do nothing but spam links to their own coupon forum. You handle that kind of thing, intent is pretty clear.

    Since I see Bill reading. If he has a forum for his check business, do you think he'll let his competitors join, post some random get along type posts, then drop links to their check program? I would hope not, I would hope he would handle that.

    And actually reading the rules, in regards to that topic, it's pretty much the same. Those have always been the rules here, it's just a continuance.

    Quote Originally Posted by knight01 View Post
    Discussions have a tendency to happen where they happen. FB, T or ABW. Referencing the new Google+ platform should not end my relationship with ABW because I want people to know I'm there also. ALSO, being the keyword. Revenews frequently got mentioned and linked to, some discussion took place there, but mostly if you're an ABW user you read the information and came here to discuss it in depth..
    I don't see that happening. I mean, I've linked out to Revenews from here before many times. We have a thread that is nothing but post your Twitter username, I have some people on my Facebook etc.
    Last edited by Trust; July 7th, 2011 at 05:41 PM.

  23. #19
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    For those who think the no competitive links rule is unique to ABW, please g**gle "forum no competitive link rules," "forum non competitive link rules" or "forum tos no competitive links."

    There's millions of results with extracts that display the same no competitive links rule.
    Last edited by JoyUnltd; July 8th, 2011 at 08:20 AM.
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  24. #20
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Updated 10. Signatures and Private Messaging to be more clear about newbies not being able to link out until full members.

    New members (newbies) are not allowed to add links to their posts, first offense will/may result in a warning and removal of the link. Subsequent violations will result in a ban.

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  26. #21
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    hmm, I just read the closed Inner Circle thread. It is disappointing to see many of the old dogs who cared andstood up against unethical merchants etc have now left and unfortunately did not get the respect they deserve. With these new rules and administration I'm sad to say that I think we have seen the BEST of Abestweb left behind.
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  27. #22
    ABW Ambassador
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    glinted, the rules:

    "And actually reading the rules, in regards to that topic, it's pretty much the same. Those have always been the rules here, it's just a continuance."

    I don't think you could even list the differences between the newest rules and the older ones we've had.

  28. #23
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust View Post
    glinted, the rules:

    "And actually reading the rules, in regards to that topic, it's pretty much the same. Those have always been the rules here, it's just a continuance."

    I don't think you could even list the differences between the newest rules and the older ones we've had.
    you may be right about the rules as I have not read them all but the most important thing is that the 1st part of my previous post seems to be right and especially about the RESPECT part, sad to see a previous member with a big job not get that from a few after a lot of hard work at the best of his ability I'm sure
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  29. #24
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    OK this message was deleted by me, that was a mistake, my apologies....
    Last edited by glittered; September 23rd, 2011 at 01:40 AM.
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