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Feedback please: Businesses posting promotional messages?

Hello Leslievillers!

I've recently had a couple of members contact me with concerns about the increasing ratio of business promotional posts to regular member discussion comments.

To date, we have been pretty liberal with our moderation of comments and posts, only contacting members who posted content that was clearly a violation of Terms of Service, or deemed to be offensive.

However, this site is meant to be an online forum for the community to connect and discuss with each other. So it's my top priority to ensure that it remains a useful, enjoyable site for all members. If that means following up with businesses to ensure they constrain their promotional efforts to the Classifieds area and paid advertising opportunities, we will do our best to pursue that. (Of course the additional advertising revenue would help cover the operating and maintenance costs of running a site like this, so we wouldn't be opposed to more advertisers either.)

Please let me know your thoughts on whether the business promotional posts in discussion threads and groups are appropriate or not.

Thanks!

Nolin

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As a local business owner and local resident I find it useful to see what is being offered locally.  It is these types of sites that keep me informed as a resident to all things that are going on in our neighbourhood.  

 

Keep shopping locally year round!

I love it when it is businesses asking "Should we carry product XYZ",, information about a store event or information about a new product they are now carrying or a major chance to the site. Something that residents can engage with and sparks a discussion.

 

It does get a little irritating when it is 100% advertising - Buy product XYZ cause we have it on sale. Then it is just ads and should be paid for.

If someone asks, then a business should be able to answer.  Otherwise, restricted to certain areas.

Just to clarify, nobody has suggested that businesses should be excluded from participating on the site.  I think everyone probably agrees that the local businesses are members of the community.

The activity that some (but certainly not all) people are taking issue with is the frequent posting of promotional messages like sales, discounts, and other special offers in parts of the site that are intended for person-to-person discussions.  In many cases, those promotional messages are not intended to generate or contribute to a discussion.  They are simple one-shot broadcast blasts of promotions.

With regards to email preferences, the Ning software we use to run The Leslieviller does offer some controls, but not as granular as choosing to receive or not receive promotional messages from other members.

I have gotten a few "friend requests" that were really just businesses trying to get me to add them.  That was disappointing.  I agree that promos. should be kept in the classified section.

Just an update: I just went through the "Community News" section and relocated all the for-profit promotions and classified ads (charities and non-profit groups please feel free to continue posting in Community News!).  I think everyone on the site is genuinely interested in local business events.  That being said, posting what may be construed as free advertising in "Community News" is taking advantage of the generosity of this community. 

 

This site provides a great opportunity for businesses to create their own blogs for hosting news and discussions with current and prospective customers.  Plenty of businesses are already doing just that and seem to be getting a positive response.  I encourage businesses that wish to post an advertisement to please contact Nolin. 

I had a look at the blog for the first time the other day and was annoyed to see all of the ads.... So I do not plan to look at it on a regular basis.  I am all for supporting local businesses and enjoy the discussions about new places opening up or local establishments soliciting feedback from the community.... But the ads and promos (outside of the classifieds) - irritating.

I hear you completely on the legacy blog posts.  Until about a month ago, it had been an area of the site that we didn't give much love to...and hence left it as a place for the local businesses who were looking for free advertising opportunities to post their offers.

I'm happy to say that we recently did a soft re-launch of the blog section, and are now only publishing blog articles by our volunteer columnists.  So far, Mark Cutforth and Avery have been writing up a storm, and we plan to introduce at least 2 more blog columnists in the coming weeks.

The promotional blog posts that went up previously have not been deleted, but no new ones are being approved for publishing.  So please do continue to check out the Blogs section, and watch the featured articles on the home page, because they are now written by regular columnists who are doing a terrific job.

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