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soc.genealogy.marketplace FAQ


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Archive-name: genealogy/marketplace-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly - 26th of each month
Last-Modified: 1997/04/18
Version: 3.0

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
===============================
soc.genealogy.marketplace FAQ
===============================

Summary
-------

This FAQ is maintained by Margaret Olson <mjolson@prairienet.org>.
Send additions or corrections to that email address.

The FAQ is posted on or about the 26th of each month to news.answers,
soc.answers, soc.genealogy.marketplace and soc.genealogy.computing.

In this FAQ, 's.g' is often used as an abbreviation for 'soc.genealogy'.

Contributions by:
  Some of this FAQ has been adapted, with the permission of the FAQ
  maintainer, from a FAQ about posting ads in newsgroups which is posted
  regularly to news.answers.  It is recommended reading for those who
  want to advertise in soc.genealogy.marketplace.

  > Subject: <<POSTING ADS ON USENET--FAQ!>>  Read Before Posting!
  > Summary: This article describes appropriate ways of posting forsale
  >     and wanted ads on misc.forsale.* and biz.marketplace.*.  As most
  >     posters to misc.forsale are on Usenet for the first time, it
  >     provides information useful to all readers--new and old alike.
  > maintained by Daniel King (dank@metrics.com)

Changes For This Version (3.0 - 1997/04/18)
     Shortened slightly and added information about the mailing list.
  Added sections:
      1.7:  Is there a mailing list with a gateway to this group?
      1.8:  Is this FAQ available on the web?
      2.15:  Is there a size limit for posts?
  Reordered numbering of sections 2.5 through 2.8, rewording parts.

------------------------------

Contents
~~~~~~~~

  Section 1. WHY A MARKETPLACE GROUP FOR GENEALOGY?
    1.1:  Why do we need soc.genealogy.marketplace?
    1.2:  Wouldn't it be better to have a moderated group?
    1.3:  Why not allow advertising in the other soc.genealogy groups?
    1.4:  Why don't they allow unrestricted advertising in Usenet?
    1.5:  How do advertisers benefit?
    1.6:  How do readers benefit?
    1.7:  Is there a mailing list with a gateway to this group?
    1.8:  Is this FAQ available on the web?

------------------------------

  Section 2. HOW DOES THIS MARKETPLACE GROUP WORK?
    2.1:  What Subject: lines should we use?
    2.2:  Are there archives where I can find older posts on a subject?
    2.3:  I posted an ad yesterday.  Today it is gone.  Where is it?
    2.4:  What makes a post 'advertising'?
    2.5:  Give examples of allowed / not allowed posts.
    2.6:  Give examples of good and bad advertising.
    2.7:  May I crosspost my ads to alt.genealogy or other groups?
    2.8:  May I post want ads to soc.genealogy.marketplace?
    2.9:  I have things to sell.  How can I advertise most effectively?
    2.10:  I've sold my genealogy books.  How do I tell people they are gone?
    2.11:  Where do I post about software and hardware.
    2.12:  How often may I post my ads?
    2.13:  May I reply in another s.g group if someone mentions my products?
    2.14:  May I use a zingy little .signature line to advertise my services?
    2.15:  Is there a size limit for posts?

------------------------------

  Section 3. WHAT IF ADVERTISERS OR OTHER POSTERS DO NOT ABIDE BY THE CHARTER?
    3.1:  Will soc.genealogy.marketplace vouch for the advertisements here?
    3.2:  What guarantees do we have about advertised services or products?
    3.3:  How much advertising is too much?
    3.4:  What if the advertiser does not do or send what is promised?
    3.5:  How should I reply to posts which offend me?
    3.6:  What can happen to me if I post a chain letter or disregard
          rules of the charter for this group?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Before posting to any Usenet group, please read the introductory articles
in the newsgroup 'news.announce.newusers'.  There, Emily Postnews will
help you through some netiquette you need to know before posting.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

------------------------------

Section 1. WHY A MARKETPLACE GROUP FOR GENEALOGY?
           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Q1.1:  Why do we need soc.genealogy.marketplace?

A:  This group provides a service to advertisers who have no way to
    tell readers what they have to offer without coming afoul of the
    Usenet antagonisms to advertising.

    Genealogists often have no easy access to the information we
    find in posts to s.g.marketplace.  Those who wish to look at
    advertisements will now be able to see them.  Those who wish
    to bypass them will be able to do that.

Q1.2:  Wouldn't it be better to have a moderated group?

A:  If proper netiquette is not observed, or too many inappropriate
    posts are seen, a vote can be requested to add a moderator.  We
    think people who want to sell to genealogists will not want to
    offend the people who might buy their products.  We also think
    peer pressure will be enough to control inappropriate posts.  We
    hope s.g.marketplace will reflect the helpful and friendly
    attitudes genealogists exhibit elsewhere.

Q1.3:  Why not allow advertising in the other soc.genealogy groups?

A:  Usenet procedures heavily discourage advertising in newsgroups
    not specifically designed for commerce.  Readers become
    antagonistic and flame wars ensue if people ignore common useage.
 
Q1.4:  Why don't they allow unrestricted advertising in Usenet?

A:  Usenet has been maintained primarily by government agencies and
    educational institutions which do not endorse products and which
    don't have the desire or financial resources to provide for free
    advertising.  While individual posts cost little, the resources
    needed in disk space at each of thousands of sites worldwide
    is quite large.  Usenet, on the other hand, is supported by the
    sites because of the great benefits in information exchange.
 
    While recent influxes of participants into Usenet has brought on
    changes to the culture, the thousands, even hundreds of thousands,
    of readers here have great biases against being assaulted with
    advertising in Usenet newsgroups.  People who post ads offensively
    harm themselves and the many other responsible posters who take
    the time to live within the rules.

Q1.5:  How do advertisers benefit?

A:  Sellers cannot post about their products and services in other
    s.g.* groups because of the Usenet restrictions and because zealous
    readers send messages to people whose posts have even a hint of
    being an advertisement flaming them for their posts.  Most people
    would rather avoid the whole scene than to endure the complaints.

    This group will allow these professionals and service providers
    to offer their goods and services in an appropriate forum and
    to avoid the criticisms.

Q1.6:  How do readers benefit?

A:  New information can be made available to the s.g.* community as
    providers who have been reluctant to use the existing groups find
    that they can post without getting flamed.  Readers of the other
    groups will benefit by having ads moved away from the other
    genealogy groups.

    There are people who will do research for others or who have for
    sale products which are not available in most local marketplaces.
    Readers will benefit from knowing about these resources.

Q1.7:  Is there a mailing list with a gateway to this group?

A:  Since April 1997, GEN-MARKET@rootsweb.com has had a gateway to
    soc.genealogy.marketplace.  Posts sent to the mailing list at
    that address will also be sent to soc.genealogy.marketplace.

    To subscribe, send email:
    To: GEN-MARKET-request@rootsweb.com
    Message:
    subscribe

    The message should contain no signature line or other lines.

Q1.8:  Is this FAQ available on the web?

A:  The soc.genealogy.marketplace is available at 
    http://www.prairienet.org/~mjolson/market.html

------------------------------

Section 2. HOW DOES THIS MARKETPLACE GROUP WORK?
           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Q2.1:  What Subject: lines should we use?

A:  Good subject lines will attract more readers than will lines without
    any information in them.  Advertisers surely know that.  Subject
    lines should be short and informative and apply to genealogy.

Q2.2:  Are there archives where I can find older posts on a subject?

A:  Most advertising has a very short useful life, and archives are of
    limited benefit here.  DejaNews, however, archives all newsgroups and
    should have the soc.genealogy.marketplace messages.

Q2.3:  I posted an ad yesterday.  Today it is gone.  Where is it?

A:  Most newsreaders have a feature which marks a post as having been
    read once you look at it, and will not show you messages a second
    time unless you make an effort to see them again.  It is probably
    still there - and will be there for others to read for a few days.

Q2.4:  What makes a post 'advertising'?

A:  Advertising seems to be in the eye of the beholder.  People with
    services to sell may think of it as information, but if any mention
    is made of cost, or if the post is written in a way to suggest that
    a cost might be involved, some readers will call it advertising.
   
    As a rule of thumb, if you want money for it, someone will likely
    call it advertising, even if you don't call it that.

Q2.5:  Give examples of allowed / not allowed posts.

A:  This section expands on points made in the charter for
    s.g.marketplace. 

*** THE FOLLOWING WILL BE ACCEPTABLE IN S.G.MARKETPLACE ***

  * Non-commercial (i.e. USER) endorsements of products and/or services
    that have been helpful.  On-going discussions of computing services
    or equipment should usually be directed to s.g.computing.

  * Non-commercial (i.e. USER) comments about products and/or services
    that have been VERY BAD.  For example, "Product ABC does not do what
    was advertised", or "Genealogist XYZ is a jerk".  Please back up
    these statements with facts!

  * Commercial announcements of new releases of products and/or 
    services related to genealogy.  They should identify the person
    or company making the announcement.

    An announcement would be defined as a reasonably short article,
    describing the product/service, its target audience, and where
    more information can be found.

  * Commercial Product Descriptions.  These should be short, informative,
    appropriate for the audience, and not posted so often as to anger
    the readers of the group.  They should tell where to find additional
    information.

  * Catalogs of information.  Short catalogs may be posted, though the
    provider should be careful not to offend readers by too frequent
    posts of the same information.

    Catalog providers of long catalogs should advertise the cost and
    availability of those catalogs, giving email and ground mail
    addresses for requesting the catalog.  Readers who reply to this
    post should not followup online but should order the catalog from
    the address given.

  * Newsletter advertisements for family newsletters with legitimate
    genealogical purpose. 

  * "Looking For" ads, for books or other things people want to buy.
    The poster should give an address (email or otherwise) to which
    replies may be sent privately, though responses are acceptable to
    the group if of general interest.

  * Genealogical services.  Professional genealogists and other service
    providers may post information about their services.  Again, email
    and ground mail addresses should be provided.

*** THE FOLLOWING WILL PROBABLY BE MORE APPROPRIATE IN ANOTHER ***
*** S.G GROUP BUT MIGHT SOMETIMES BE POSTED TO S.G.MARKETPLACE ***

  * Advertisements for family reunions.  If these are done frequently or
    ask prominently for money, they may be better in s.g.marketplace.
    Otherwise, s.g.misc or a regional group is the logical location for
    the announcement.

  * Lists of resources available for downloading from other sites.
    These belong in s.g.computing unless there are costs involved such
    as charges for connecting to the site.

  * Notices of classes or seminars in genealogy or related fields.
    Either s.g.methods or s.g.misc would be appropriate unless the
    classes are a profit making activity where costs are mentioned.

  * Library / Historical Society services / genealogy room hours / 
    description of holdings, etc.  These posts belong in one of the
    archived groups, s.g.methods or s.g.misc, but messages about the
    genealogical coffee mugs or T-shirts they sell to raise money
    to support their genealogical works should be in s.g.marketplace.

  * Products and services offered at little or no charge, (except
    possibly for the cost of copying and/or postage), or which are
    offered in exchange for a like service.  These offers will still be
    welcome in other s.g newsgroups, or may be posted to s.g.marketplace
    if no other newsgroup seems appropriate.  The messages should not
    be posted to more than one of the s.g groups, however.

*** THE FOLLOWING WILL BE UNACCEPTABLE IN S.G.MARKETPLACE ***

  * Offers of products or services which have been obtained
    illegally, such as copies of copyrighted materials.
 
  * Offers crossposted to any other group, and especially to the
    other soc.genealogy.* groups.  If a post is appropriate for
    s.g.marketplace, it does not belong in the other s.g groups.

  * Chain letters and other messages which violate Usenet rules.

  * Items not specifically intended for genealogy use.

Q2.6:  Give examples of good and bad advertising.

A:  We encourage WISE usage of bandwidth, not WIDE usage.  Read
    the articles on netiquette in news.announce.newusers and lurk in
    s.g.marketplace before posting your first ad.  And pay attention
    to reasonable responses you get from readers of the newsgroup.

      BAD:
         For sale -- the following books:
            list of 10,000 books
      BETTER:
         For Sale - 10,000 books.  
            Send e-mail to Books@bookstore.com for list
      BETTER YET:
         For sale - Genealogy books
            Biographies
            Map books
            genealogies
            town histories
            Send e-mail with interests to Books@bookstore.com for list

      EVEN BETTER YET:
         For sale - Genealogy books
            Biographies of Families that went west in the 1800s
            Map books for Minnesota
            genealogies of the X,Y, and Z families
            town histories for Minnesota
            Send e-mail with interests to Books@bookstore.com for list

Q2.7:  May I crosspost my ads to alt.genealogy or other groups?

A:  NO for any other soc.genealogy.* newsgroup.
    MAYBE for alt.genealogy.
    PROBABLY NOT for other *.marketplace, *.forsale and biz.* groups.

    Soc.genealogy.marketplace is part of the _soc.genealogy_ hierarchy
    and has nothing to do with alt.genealogy or any other non-Usenet
    group.  You should ask this question to the readers or listowners
    of those groups.  Experience shows they usually do not like to
    see ads.  Ads must always be on-topic for the groups you post to.

Q2.8:  May I post want ads to soc.genealogy.marketplace?

A:  As long as the items you want are related to genealogy and you
    follow rules of netiquette, the post will be fine.

Q2.9:  I have things to sell.  How can I advertise most effectively?
    What should I avoid doing?

A:  If you have products not available from easily found local
    vendors and those products are useful in doing genealogy, you
    are addressing the right audience in s.g.marketplace.

    1:  Read for awhile first to see what others do.  Pay attention
        to how readers respond.

    2:  Provide your information concisely and in a low-key manner.
        Usenet readers usually react badly to ads which are 'loud'
        and without useful information.

    3:  Post to s.g.marketplace, and to no other s.g group.

    4:  Create a good descriptive subject line in 35 characters
        or less.  Newsreaders may truncate longer subject lines.

    5:  The most effective ads will be short, fitting on one or two
        screens.  Tell what you offer, and tell how to get the product
        or how to write you for more information.

    6:  You may include prices.

    7:  Include your full name, your e-mail address and a complete
        ground-mail address.

    8:  Remember that this group will be read in many countries around
        the world.  If your product is specific to one country, mention
        that in your ad.

    9:  Be responsible in how you post and how you reply to readers.
        Individual bad citizenship can get your Usenet access revoked,
        and a lot of irresponsible posting could cause genealogists
        to ask for discussions to remove the group if it is not serving
        the purpose for which it was set up.  Usenet views on whether
        to allow any advertising at all can be affected by how you use
        the groups to which you post.

Q2.10:  I've sold my genealogy books.  How do I tell people they are gone?

A:  If you are able to cancel your original post, do that.  Your
    newsreader may allow you to do that when you are reading your post.

    As a courtesy to those of us with limited disk space, learn how to
    cancel articles BEFORE you post.  After your item has sold, it is
    courteous to issue a cancel message.  Often, you need only press a
    capital 'C' while re-reading your article, but this varies from
    system to system.  Ask your local system administrator for help.

Q2.11:  Where do I post about software and hardware.

A:  If you are announcing a new product or telling where to buy it,
    put it in s.g.marketplace. If you want reviews by users or want
    to comment on software or scanners, do that in s.g.computing.

Q2.12:  How often may I post my ads?

A:  Other marketplace and forsale groups recommend keeping a 30-day
    interval between identical posts.  More frequent posts may turn
    readers against you.

Q2.13:  May I reply in another s.g group if someone mentions my products?

A:  You may certainly post informational (non-advertising) replies to
    other groups and can mention features and make corrections, but you
    should stop short of posting an ad.  Instead, refer readers to your
    post in s.g.marketplace for more information about a product.

Q2.14:  May I use a zingy little .signature line to advertise my services?

A:  A better solution would be to have the signature line refer readers
    to s.g.marketplace or to your web site for information, avoiding the
	appearance of posting an ad.

Q2.15:  Is there a size limit for posts?

A:  If you do post a message longer than 25,000 bytes directly to
    s.g.marketplace it will go to the newsgroup, but not be seen in
    the mailing list, GEN-MARKET, which has maximum message size.
    A post that big probably won't be read all the way to the bottom
	by readers, anyhow, so you may want to post several short messages
	instead of one very long one.

------------------------------

Section 3. WHAT IF ADVERTISERS OR OTHER POSTERS DO NOT ABIDE BY THE CHARTER?
           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Q3.1:  Will soc.genealogy.marketplace vouch for the advertisements here?

A:  Ads in soc.genealogy.marketplace are the responsibility of the
    poster alone.  There is no one connected with any soc.genealogy
    group or with Usenet who takes any responsibility for the ads
    which are posted here.  You should always exercise caution in
    dealing with any advertiser you have not done business with in
    the past.

Q3.2:  What guarantees do we have about advertised services or products?

A:  You have none, of course.  As in all commerce, you should read and
    question intelligently.  If you are not sure about a product, it
    is perfectly acceptable to ask others about it in this group.  If
    you have a bad experience with a product, you may post your story.

    Always use your common sense when replying to ads.  Consider the
    risks before sending money and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES send your
    credit card number to anyone by email.  There are some laws
    about doing business through the US Postal Service which do not
    protect you in online commerce.  Laws will vary from country to
    country, also.  You'll be safer dealing by ground mail as a rule.

Q3.3:  How much advertising is too much?

    If readers get upset, that is too much.  It is hard to set
    standards for frequency or length of ads, but newsgroup readers
    don't want to see the same information over and over again.
    And they probably won't read more that two or three screens of
    material before going on to something else.

Q3.4:  What if the advertiser does not do or send what is promised?

    Complain first to the advertiser.  Polite email and postal mail
    are a good start.  If you are not satisfied with the result,
    complain in the newsgroup.  Again, polite and well reasoned
    beats insults and profanities.  Be alert to the reactions you
    may get from others if you do post your dissatisfactions to the
    newsgroup.  

Q3.5:  How should I reply to posts which offend me?

A:  First remember that this is a Marketplace group, and you should
    expect to see advertising.  If you think a message does not
    conform to the charter, write privately and politely to the
    poster expressing your concerns.  People who want to sell
    something usually will not want to irritate potential buyers.
    A polite message will do more to help the poster learn what
    readers find acceptable than will a nasty flame.  Try to avoid
    compounding the off-topic posts by replying on-line.

    If you see a blatantly offensive message, again, do not respond
    with another post.  Instead, send a strong complaint to the
    poster's system administrator.  (try email to 'postmaster' or
    'usenet' or 'news' at the site given in the From: address)

Q3.6:  What can happen to me if I post a chain letter or disregard
    the rules of the charter for this group?

A:  If you waste the time and good will of readers of
    s.g.marketplace by posting inappropriately, expect them to
    complain to you and perhaps to your system administrator.

    If you word your post so that readers complain, they probably
    will not buy your products, and will probably mention you
    negatively on-line to others who ask about your products.

    If you blatantly disregard Usenet rules with chain letters or
    harrassing messages or with "Spams", you may well lose your
    network access or your account.  System administrators take
    complaints about network abuse from their sites very seriously.

======================================
 soc.genealogy.marketplace FAQ - END
======================================

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