Underground Marketing

Discussion in 'APUG System Announcements' started by David A. Goldfarb, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    APUG has occasionally been the target of underground marketing campaigns over the years, and generally we've worked behind the scenes to suppress them, because it is unfair to our members, who assume that unless otherwise specified, most people giving their opinions on various products have no material interest in the success of those products and aren't receiving any perks from manufacturers or dealers, and it is unfair to our legitimate paying advertisers, who support APUG and agree to abide by certain rules with regard to commercial posts. As this seems to be a recurring issue lately, and we have seen the kind of damage it has done to other forums, we would like for everyone to be a bit more aware of the fact that this sort of thing goes on, and if you think you see it, please don't hesitate to report posts that look like they may be part of an underground, guerrilla, viral, or undercover marketing campaign.

    The paradigm of underground marketing comes from the record industry. Record companies would identify kids that everyone else thought was cool as "tastemakers" and give them benefits like free records, backstage passes, and free concert tickets as a way of promoting their product very effectively without having to do something as blatant or as expensive as buying print ads, billboards, etc. The tastemakers may have already been fans, so they weren't being coerced, and they may not have even realized that they were being used as instruments of a marketing campaign, but the record company would cultivate their loyalty, because everyone wants to listen to the records that the cool kids listen to, and for a rather modest investment in product, they could reap quite significant rewards in word-of-mouth advertising or viral marketing.

    We don't object to underground marketing in general, particularly if it gets more people out there involved in film photography, but we don't want to see it happening on APUG, because it violates the mutual presumption of trust that members have for each other in the forum.

    We also have no objection to the products that are being marketed in this way and would and do welcome the manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of these products as legitimate, paying, above board advertisers who abide by the same rules as all other paying advertisers on the site.

    To report a suspicious post, just click on the black triangle with the exclamation point, and it sends an e-mail to all the moderators with the URL of the post and your comment on it, so that we can take a look at it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2011
  2. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    David, I have seen a few posts over the last few months where I thought it's worth reporting to the moderators, however I couldn't find the report this post line. I figured it had gotten lost in the last upgrade, obviously not.

    I had no idea that the little black triangle with something on it (cannot see small stuff easily these days) was the reporting mechanism in disguise.

    Is it that difficult to have actual words, or is this symbol the normal way these days in forums, for reporting?

    Mick.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2011
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think it's one of the things on Sean's list, and he just hasn't gotten to it yet.
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I was trying to figure out how to report what was obvious spam a few days ago. Now I know. Thank you for the update David.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The Report this post triangle symbol's bottom left just above "Reply to this thread" and works fine.

    Ian
     
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  6. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Awhile back I posted a report and picture of a print washer that I recently purchased. I got nothing free from the manufacturer, nor did he encourage me in any way to make this post. I simply wanted to let others know of a product that I think is a great addition to my darkroom. I hope this does not fall under the purview of underground marketing.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Not at all.

    There are cases where people have some sort of acknowledged relationship with a manufacturer and are sharing inside information about niche products, and there are situations where a member has gotten some very modest benefit like a free sample of a couple of rolls of film and are reporting their tests, and there are situations where people are trying to establish a new small business and are promoting their new service or are doing some market research but don't have the capital to advertise yet, and there are collectors of equipment who trade heavily in the classifieds such that it seems like they may be dealers though we know that dealing in old cameras isn't their primary source of income, and these are all okay, as long as everything is clear and above board.

    What we're concerned about is underground marketing by established companies as a strategy that can have a negative effect on the APUG community ethos. This might include, for example, members shilling for a manufacturer, without acknowledging that they have a formal or informal relationship with that manufacturer. A formal relationship might be something like serving on an advisory board. An informal relationship might be something like getting a brick of film for being a loyal supporter, and not revealing that you've received such benefits. "Shilling" might be starting a thread about a new product made by the manufacturer that the user has a relationship with, or bashing a competing product.

    Legitimate advertisers on APUG are asked not to discuss competing products, because public fights between manufacturers on the forum tend not to help anyone and just bring down everyone's enthusiasm for their products. Legitimate advertisers are also asked to keep commercial discussions to their dedicated sponsor forums, except for responding to direct queries about their products in the regular forums. If a user with an informal relationship to a company starts or joins a thread in the regular forums for the purpose of enabling an advertiser to promote their product outside their dedicated sponsor forum, that would constitute "shilling."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2011
  8. AmsterdamMartin

    AmsterdamMartin Member

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  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    amsterdammartin

    roger was here for a while ...
    and he spent much of his time
    directing people to his website ... :sad:
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There is nothing wrong with the review posted in terms of underground marketing on APUG. Yes the author of the book is a member of APUG, but there is nothing nefarious about that. Members who participate in other ways and want to also promote their own book or workshop openly are generally allowed to do that, so long as it doesn't become obtrusive. The author of the review also participates on APUG in many other ways aside from discussing the book under review, so I don't see any inappropriate connection there either.

    One-time or infrequent posters who only join APUG to announce their book or workshop are considered on a case-by-case basis. If we think such an announcement will be regarded, or if it is reported widely, as spam, then we delete it. If it is an announcement from someone widely respected in the analogue photography community and we think a lot of people will be interested in it, then we usually give it a pass.

    Members who are not advertisers who are promoting their own commercial projects at every turn are generally asked to refrain from doing so.