Marketplace - yay, nay or ...?

Indian Summer

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I think I've recently picked up some negative vibes directed at the Marketplace forum and/or the recent threads there, so I thought it would be worth getting some feedback from the general membership to see if any adjustments are needed, or if we even should consider closing that forum going forward.

On VV that forum was called The Bazaar, but it had much the same function as on VF. The original idea was to offer a place for vegan businesses to advertise their products since contributing to the success of vegan businesses would be a way of advancing the cause of veganism in general.

It's not always easy to decide if a product or website is actually a vegan product/website, or whether they're just using the vegan label to make some quick bucks. That was certainly how it felt recently when we saw a huge influx of "vegan" themed t-shirt ads, most of which were claiming part of the profit would go to unspecified supposed vegan charities. (We ended up deleting most of those, I think.)

It's been suggested that perhaps we should require that a member makes a certain number of posts before they're able to post in that forum, so as to discourage "spam and go" threads, i.e. someone posting an ad and then we never see them again. That is certainly technically possible, and someone who is genuinely into veganism should be able to make a small number of posts on an Internet forum dedicated to veganism.

Some other things we could do:
  • make the Marketplace visible only to members who are logged in (to discourage people wanting to abuse VF for backlinks)
  • make it possible to opt out of seeing threads/posts in the Marketplace
  • make it so that all posts or all new threads in the Marketplace need to be approved by moderators before they become visible
Please let me know what you all think about this.
 
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silva

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I've never understood why the marketplace here seems to get so much spam!
There certainly are really good vegan small businesses, and they get linked in other places by our members, but the marketplace seems to just get shills!
I'd really love to see some masks sold there- with an plant based, or animal theme, or just a vegan business in general!
 

Nekodaiden

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I'm happy to have a sub-forum like Marketplace to keep people hawking their products/services out of the rest of the forums. If that sub-forum goes, I think what is likely to happen is more people will just use the other forums to either promote their products/services directly or even do so semi-covertly.

Marketplace represents a bit of free advertising for them. Maybe a solution is to charge a small (flat/universal) fee for using the veganforum name to promote whatever they are promoting (provided it's not animal products). If this is an option, I think it would be prudent to keep the fee the same for all participants and to keep it in that sub-forum so as to discourage either favoritism or the perception of favoritism (so no stickies either). I know sponsorship/advertising can be a temptation for owners/admin of websites, and sometimes this can come into conflict with poster's opinions, which can lead to all kinds of trolling and attempts at influencing thought on behalf of the sponsor/advertiser. However lucrative, this does come with the danger of being eventually exposed. The Market specific forum, with no stickies, and a small flat fee for everyone might be a solution to the issue of spam as well as help cover operation costs.

Or just leave it as it is. It's not a sub-forum I'm really all that interested in, but maybe others are, and in any case I think most people would rather converse with others who aren't obviously here primarily to promote a product or service.
 

beancounter

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As long as they actually stay in the market place forum, I don't mind them.

I like the idea of having the option to opt out of seeing marketplace post.

What should be addressed are people who post vegan related articles outside of the marketplace, who are really just trying to get free advertising for their non vegan business.

A few weeks ago, I reported such an incident, but it was rejected. Not sure why...a quick Google check of the business name, and it was clear that they didn't sell vegan products or services.
 
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