Commercial Social Account
This document lists the guidelines for advertisers to follow when posting via their commercial social accounts on AVForums. These guidelines exist in addition to the forum rules and are intended to help advertisers understand how to use the forums and get the most out of posting in them.
A commercial social account is different from a normal user account because it will have a prominent ribbon under the avatar reading ‘AVForums Sponsor’ plus
- a business/product/service/brand name as the user login
- a business/product/service/brand logo as the avatar
- business/product/service/brand details and links in the signature
Advertisers using a commercial social account have limited exemption from rule 7 which states
Rule 7: members who own, operate, represent or who are affiliated with a commercial enterprise or competing website must not submit messages which reference that organisation in any way unless they are advertisers on AVForums. This includes promoting and providing support for that organisation.
- The AVForums rules apply equally and fairly to everyone including advertisers.
- Within the rules, advertisers may post an unlimited, but reasonable* number of messages in any forum on any topic with any content, including links, with the following restrictions:
- Advertisers may only start new threads about their business/product/service/brand in
- the Advertiser's Forum (two threads at a time only)
- the Shows and Events forum (one thread at a time only)
- Advertisers must not submit messages which reference their business/product/service/brand in any way in threads they have started outside the Advertisers' Forum.
- Advertisers replying in threads with messages which reference their business/product/service/brand in any way must be on topic and relevant to the discussion. It is not appropriate, for example, to reply to a general discussion about a product with a link to your website to purchase unless someone is asking where it can be purchased.
- Advertisers may not respond to other advertisers’ posts (whether via a new thread or a reply to any existing one) with any unsubstantiated negatives, rumours, criticisms or contradictions. This guideline exists to prevent disagreements and disputes which could create a negative perception of the advertisers.
- Advertisers may not use their account to promote other businesses such as those of their friends or associates.
- Advertisers may not report other advertisers' posts except in clear cases of the forum rules or this code of conduct being broken, and the report must state which rule or code is suspected of being broken.
*What is the definition of a ‘reasonable’ number of messages? We are deliberately not putting a specific limit on the number of messages allowed to be posted by advertisers, but prefer to leave this at their discretion. Advertisers should consider that posting too many messages will be counterproductive when members consider them to be spam and/or an annoyance. Posting too many messages is bad business and the moderators will advise advertisers if they are posting too much. If advertisers continue to post too much, they will likely receive a warning.
In keeping with the standard rules, advertisers may not send unsolicited private conversations to our members to garner business. This is considered spamming and can result in a severe warning.
Moderators will address reported breakages of the code of conduct and the forum rules and may award warning points to offenders. The number of points given vary depending on the severity of the warning and may accumulate to trigger a user account suspension or permanent ban.
- Should an advertisers’ commercial social account be subject to a permanent ban following breaking of the rules, the advertiser’s subsequent invoices will be amended to remove the part corresponding to use of the commercial social account. There will be no refund of the invoice for the period in which the ban was applied.
- The agent of the advertiser responsible for breaking the rules which leads to the permanent banning of a commercial user account may not post on AVForums again either using a new account or an existing one in either a personal or professional capacity.
How to win business
This last element of the code of conduct is advice and will not be enforced in any way.
Advertisers should avoid directing people to their website at every opportunity because readers will realise that the motives for posting are not to help, but to sell.
Instead, we highly recommend that advertisers take an altruistic approach by assisting with helpful information rather than specifically promoting products and services. Members appreciate being helped and respond with gratitude. Remember that advertisers’ signatures (usually) contain their business and contact details which members will see and use if their custom has been won.