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Archive-name: misc-forsale-faq/posting-ads
Posting-Frequency: 6th & 21st of the month
Last-modified: 1996/02/06
Version: 5.3
Major-Changes: Update to reflect biz.mktplc moderation

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
		--The Usenet Marketplace FAQ--

Volume I.	    The How-To of the
Posting Ads and

The entire FAQ is now in full hypertext on the Web.  If you
have a web browser, then for goodness sakes, don't plow
through the text version!  Point your web browser to:

  Unsolicited e-mail advertising is considered by many to be
  a crime on the internet, despite what list-marketers may
  tell you.  It _will_ ruin your reputation, and may cause you
  to lose your access.

BIZ.MARKETPLACE.* is now retro-moderated.  Inappropriate
  articles or outlandish subjects may be selectively cancelled;
  if this happens, e-mail will be sent to the From: address.

maintained by Daniel King
	Suggestions/comments/flames always welcome!

Volume I. Posting Ads on the Usenet Marketplace
	1.  Welcome to the Usenet Marketplace!
	2.  Purpose of the Usenet Marketplace.
	3.  What is appropriate to post, what isn't?
	4.  How to write ads for newsgroups.
	5.  Usenet Marketplace group list and descriptions.
	6.  How can I receive newsgroups not carried by my site?
	7.  Other classified ads on the Internet.
	8.  Considerations for commercial/entrepreneurial users.
		Subtopic:  A short guide to cancelling articles

Volume II. Conducting Transactions on Usenet
	9.  Finalizing the sale.
	10. Payment and shipping recommendations.
	11. International transactions.
	12. Glossary of common Usenet terms


Subject: 1. Welcome to the Usenet Marketplace! Allow us to be the first to welcome you to the Usenet Marketplace, where anything and everything changes hands at the best prices around. Many, many satisfied computer-users have purchased everything from computer accessories to sailboards, houses to rollerblades. We invite you to browse and see what the Usenet Marketplace has to offer. This FAQ acts as a general guide to transactions over all of the* and biz.marketplace.* newsgroups, and provides suggestions applicable to many other advertising groups as well. Its primary purpose is to answer many [F]requently [A]sked [Q]uestions and to guide all users through their transactions over the newsgroups. From buying to selling, whether you're a seasoned net user or not, read on! We guarantee that some of these tips will help even the most experienced users on the and biz.marketplace groups. Please, _before_reading_this_, make certain you have read the "Network Etiquette" FAQ according to Emily Postnews, posted regularly in news.announce.newusers. All of the FAQs referred to in these articles are also available by anonymous FTP at in /pub/usenet-by-groups/
Subject: 2. Purpose of the Usenet Marketplace. Originally the newsgroup "", the Usenet Marketplace is now a collection of 38 worldwide newsgroups under the and biz.marketplace hierarchies. These groups provide a forum for individuals and companies to offer goods and services of widespread interest to a readership estimated to be in excess of 300,000. More specifically, the groups were created to promote individual-to-individual sales of items the seller doesn't need any more, as you might see at a garage sale. The moderated biz.marketplace groups, meanwhile, are specifically for continuing enterprises--companies, organizations, and entrepreneurs--who offer special opportunities to individuals and other businesses. The purpose of the Usenet Marketplace is to facilitate transactions. The Marketplace is *not* your local paper's classifieds, despite the similarities. Because of this, please keep in mind the potential interest of the readers and post ads for their benefit, not yours. After all, they are paying for _your_ advertisement. Finally, if you are *browsing* the Usenet Marketplace, you may want to check out both the group and its biz.marketplace equivalent. Even if you're looking for something used, it can often be found for less from commercial sources.
Subject: 3. What is appropriate to post, what isn't? Article and newsgroup appropriateness is the most important, but least understood issue in the Usenet Marketplace. If you post an inappropriate article, or if you post to the wrong group, you reach the wrong audience and you anger thousands of potential customers. Why? Because the money for your error comes from their pockets. The rest of this section will help you understand what you may advertise, while the next couple of sections explain how to advertise and in which groups to post. These sections are our best attempt to guide you through the creation and posting of your ad. However, you may leave here with additional questions. If after reading these guides you are still unsure about the appropriateness of your work, then please e-mail your post to We'll try to provide additional suggestions to help you maximize the effectiveness of your ad. ***We Mean Business*** Please understand that the Usenet Marketplace is serious business. Everyone is expected to adopt the same ethical standards as in other types of transactions. Just because you don't deal face to face does not exempt you from laws pertaining to forgery, fraud, harassment, and other issues. This extends to your offerings. False advertising and unethical practices will not be tolerated by the Usenet, nor by your system administrator. Every post to these newsgroups should be serious. Please make certain you are posting to the appropriate group, and please DO NOT POST TEST ARTICLES, JOKE ADS, UNREALISTIC SCHEMES, or articles with forged headers to the Marketplace. Chain letters, pyramid schemes, spamming (crossposting to numerous groups), velveeta (posting too many times to one newsgroup) and similar activities have caused hundreds of users to lose their access, and in some cases, their privacy. You will be surprised at the resourcefulness and avengeful nature of disgruntled Usenet readers. DAVE RHODES, THIS MEANS YOU! Expect that inappropriate posting, crossposting, or spamming, especially to newsgroups which specifically prohibit off-charter material like the Marketplace, may result in automatic article cancellation by robots implemented by many administrators who have taken active measures to prevent such activities from destroying the functionality of USENET and BIZNET. Information on what is allowed in a newsgroup can almost always be found in that group's FAQ. ***Are You Individual or Commercial?*** Most transactions in the Marketplace fall under one of two classifications: individual sales or continuing enterprises. The former belong in the groups. The latter are considered commercial, and belong in biz.marketplace. Simply put, if you're an individual trying to clean out your closet, post to the appropriate newsgroup. If you are a continuing enterprise, post to biz.marketplace. Examples of Continuing Enterprise: Entrepreneurs Individuals selling crafts or handiwork Consultants, Lawyers, Doctors Freelance Photographers, Writers, Programmers Retailers of seconds, refurbished, or overstock goods Not-for-profit groups soliciting material donations Realtors, property managers Companies offering their services or products Clearance sales and inventory close-outs Anything whose primary market is corporate This list is far from comprehensive, but it should provide a good guideline to help you figure it out. If you still aren't sure, send e-mail to and we'll be glad to help you out. ***Acceptable Offerings*** For non-commercial individuals, almost any offering is welcome in the Marketplace. Computer parts, household items, and sporting goods are common, but even the most eclectic of items appear from time to time. Continuing enterprises are subject to enforced restrictions. If you are in this category, please also read the section on commercial advertising. Wanted ads are welcome in the Marketplace groups, although commercial wanted ads are subject to the same restrictions as forsale ads. Wanted ads should include "Wanted" or "WTB" in the subject line. Discussion is permitted in the *.discussion newsgroups. Marketplace issues like reputability, questions not answered by this FAQ, and questions about where to find elusive items are welcome in the *.discussion groups. Ads are *not* permitted in these groups, and likewise, no followups or discussion should be posted to the advertising groups. For example, if you want to find a reputable mail-order computer dealer, you should post to b.m.computers.discussion. Do not post to m.f.computers.discussion, because many of the responses will be commercial. Also, whenever possible, please respond to posted discussion by e-mail only. A few things are *strongly* discouraged, or even prohibited... Distributorships, Individual Income Opportunities, and MLM Multi-level marketers and distributors are welcome to offer their merchandise in biz.marketplace.*, subject to the usual conditions, but no mention of MLM or distributorship opportunities may be made. These opportunities are considered jobs rather than services, and historically are of no interest to readers. Discussion about such opportunities belongs in or misc.entrepreneur.moderated, but ads are not permitted. Job Offerings Too many income opportunity posts have soured this topic in the Marketplace, but topical and specific solicitation of contract/freelance workers is still permitted. Instead, try Price or Product Flames If someone posts a price which you consider too high, please do not post a response. Readers on the Marketplace almost always know the market and take the opportunity to shop around, thus your post will only waste precious bandwidth. A much better action is to send e-mail directly to the poster suggesting that the price is too high. Usually, the poster will respond by lowering the price. The same goes for product flames. If you have a technical point about an item, it's welcome in the appropriate *.discussion group. Flames like "OS/2 Warp is better than Win95", however, are not welcome. If you *must* flame the price, again, send the poster e-mail, DON'T POST! If you still can't hold yourself back, then you _must_ include the following information: The source of the better price The price quote and date issued A contact phone number and e-mail address Also, prepare yourself for a flame war if your source is out-of-stock or does not ship nationwide. Remember that the Marketplace is global; the price quoted may be in Canadian or European currencies, and even after conversion, prices are generally lower in the U.S. than in Canada, Italy, or Kyrgyzstan. Again, chain letters, test messages, joke ads, spamming, and velveeta are not permitted.
Subject: 4. How to write ads for newsgroups. Ultimately, the most important aspect of any ad on the newsgroups is the ad copy--the subject and text which tell the reader what she needs to know. Unlike older methods, however, the network newsgroups require a slightly different approach to advertising for both individuals and enterprises. ***Offering Your Items For Sale*** Three sales methods are prevalent on the newsgroups: Stating an asking price in the ad. If you have an approximate knowledge of what your item is worth, then we recommend this method as the most effective. Most people will pay attention to a stated asking price, whereas they will often ignore other means, because they do not want to waste the effort on an auction they might not win. One tip: make sure you mention whether your price is firm or negotiable. Soliciting offers. Another method is to solicit offers without stating an asking price. This may be your best alternative if you don't know what your item is worth, but it is not nearly as effective as a stated price. "If you gotta ask, you don't wanna know," is an American adage that sums up the situation--many people who might otherwise be interested will not offer a price, and thus you miss a large number of potential buyers. Conducting an auction. A final method is to offer items for sale through an on-line auction. This method is acceptable, but not recommended. Again, many people will ignore ads without stated prices. In addition, some readers object to auctions because of the bandwidth they consume. The best type of auction is a buy-or-bid auction, where you state a maximum price at which you are willing to sell the item outright. Also, several guidelines for newsgroup auctions have been developed to minimize the problems caused by bad auctioneers in the past: Auctions should end within 2 weeks of the initial post. Auctions should be limited to 2 posted updates; updates sent by e-mail to bidders conserve network resources. Auctions should be conducted in an ethical manner; all items should be sold to the highest bidder unless a reserve (minimum bid) was stated in the initial post, and at no time should any bidder be solicited for a higher bid. ***The Subject Line*** Most participants in a newsgroup only read a few of the articles posted. Usually, they scan a list of all the subject lines for articles that interest them. Because your ad is very dependent on this first contact with the reader, you should take the extra time to write a brief, informative, and effective subject line. Basically, you need to present the most important information about your ad in 38 characters or less--the maximum allowed by some newsreaders. In your subject, you should specify what you are selling--items, manufacturers, styles, and sizes, where appropriate. If space is available, include your price and locality, but exclude hype. Also, don't make 30 posts in one newsgroup in order to give each item its name in lights--you'll lose people who don't appreciate your waste of bandwidth. Better is to write one article for each appropriate group, then be as specific as you can within the subject line. If your ad is a "Wanted" ad, the inclusion of "Wanted" somewhere in your subject is required. Great subject lines: The best subject lines include items, manufacturers, and, in some instances, sizes. For big items or items you don't want to ship, include your city in the subject. Prices are also helpful if space allows. "Bose Speakers, Iron, Cherry Pitter" "Nordica 770 Ski Boots, sz11, $200" "Red '94 Camaro in Detroit, $12k" For large listings, group several similar items together, but don't overdo the number of articles, particularly with items under $50. Article 1: "Chairs, dining table, hutch FS" Article 2: "Iron, vacuum, household misc FS" Article 3: "Stereo, 19" TV, Bose speakers" Computer items require model numbers and more technical detail: "17" Mag 17DX NI .28dp monitor, $400" "Gateway VL-Bus 486DX33, 8RAM/512HD" "HP Laserjet 4P printer, $650" Commercial ads should include product lines, price, and conditions. "1000pr Nike shoes, export from US" "Refurb Maxtor 212meg IDE HD $149" "Overstock NEC 14"-20" monitors" "Academic Microsoft,Borland software" "Trading partner WTD, Hungary Cement" "Visual C++ programming svcs $25/hr" Terrible subject lines: These two have plenty of space for more information-- "Household items FS" "Car for sale" Why are you different from all the others? Which languages can you program? "Freelance programming available" URLs make noisy, long subjects. Use the space to advertise instead. "Colorado Cumquats" Capitalized words are perceived as rude shouting; the same is true of symbols. The wasted space won't help you sell your items-- "******BOSE SPEAKERS******" "BOSE SPEAKERS FOR SALE" "---!!!!!bose speakers for sale!!!!!---" These items do not belong in the same newsgroup. The article should be split into 2-- "DOS and MAC Software FS" Several articles have this same subject at any given time, and this subject provides no useful information about the service: "Make money from your computer!" Even if your ad is in the appropriate group, it may be deleted from some groups just on the basis of a lousy subject line. ***The Ad Body*** Now that you have a descriptive title, you need to write the body of your ad. The key to a good advertisement is the same as the subject. Keep it short, but include as much pertinent information as possible. For example, the best ads in the newsgroups usually fit on one screen--about 18 lines. In this space, you should include: The item or service offered explained in technical detail Include every technical detail you can: color, size, year of manufacture or purchase, and technical specifications in the case of computer equipment. If your item is particularly unusual, you may want to say what it is in layman's terms. Not everyone knows that a Berrien Sandrail is a kind of dune buggy. Your reason for selling Did you buy a more powerful item? Is the sale from a divorce? Does it have any problems? Businesses: is it refurbished, overstock,...? Sales terms and contact information Your full name, e-mail address, _and_phone_number_ Any warranty you will provide, or lack thereof Working on arrival is standard practice Your location (city & state/country) Will you ship the item elsewhere? Internationally? Who pays for shipping? Occasionally, offerings will be so lengthy as to merit longer articles. If you have a long list of CDs, household goods, software, or computer hardware, try to put one item to a line, single-spaced. The fewer times a potential customer has to scroll through the pages of your article, the more likely he is to see the items at the end of the list. Biz.marketplace users are subject to additional length restrictions, as described in the later section on commercial ads. One final note, please do not include binaries in your advertisements. Pictures of your advertised items are nice for potential browsers, but you must remember that your ad will be stored on a few thousand different news servers. That adds up to a lot of memory; enough that it is usually bad netiquette to post binaries to any groups that aren't specifically for that purpose. Also, many people have to download all of the articles in a group in order to read that group. Binaries cost heavily in transmission time. A better idea, if you have a picture available, is to mention it in your ad, and offer to send the binary by e-mail, uuencoded or MIMEd, to interested parties. This tried-and-true format is the most successful way to advertise on the Usenet Marketplace. Usenet readers just want facts. Marketing hype and personal commentary is not a good idea because many people see it as wasteful--don't forget who is ultimately paying for the distribution and storage of your ad. If your article is more than a screenful, and you are only offering a few items, make your ad shorter. Otherwise, the majority of readers will simply ignore it.
Subject: 5. Usenet Marketplace group list and descriptions. If your web browser is set up for news, the easy way to select the right group is on the World Wide Web: <> The web pages don't have the same space restrictions, and go into much more detail than you'll find here. Please, when you post, post to only 1 newsgroup. Also, if you are not willing to ship your item overseas, please limit the distribution of your article if it's easy for you to do so. Finally, when your item has sold, please cancel your article, just as you would cancel your newspaper classified ad. In most newsreaders, you can do this by re-reading your article and pressing a capital or lowercase "C". If this doesn't work, then don't worry about it. -*-*-*-*-*-*-Non-Commercial Groups-*-*-*-*-*-*- =*=*=Non-Computer Items=*=*= Non-computer items for sale and wanted by individuals: sporting goods, garage sale announcements, sabbatical rentals, bicycles, furniture, miscellaneous [Also see the list of additional, more specific marketplace groups at the end of this list.] =*=*=Cross-Platform Computer Hardware=*=*= [Some platform-specific hardware belongs in these groups] *NO ADS* Computer questions, reputability questions and comments, discussion about the FAQ, product reliability questions and comments. Please, no company recommendations. all printers, plotters, toner cartridges, paper all monitors, video displays all online memory, RAM, VRAM, DRAM, SRAM, simms, sipps, EEPROM, laptop memory, yes, even 8-bit simms all storage devices for all media and interfaces, tape backups, floppy drives and disks, hard drives for all systems, CD-ROM drives, WORM drives network hardware, routers, ethernet cards for all systems modems for all systems, PCMCIA modems, voice-mail cards =*=*=IBM PC Architecture Hardware & Software=*=*= [no modems, net hardware, storage media, memory, monitors or printers belong in these groups.] PC Motherboards, 286/386/486/Pentium/Overdrive CPUs complete desktop or tower SYSTEMS (no parts), barebones systems (at least case, PS, CPU, MB required) complete portable SYSTEMS (no peripherals or parts) sound cards, PC MIDI equipment, computer speakers PC video cards, SVGA cards, Television cards other PC-only cards, SCSI cards, IDE interface cards, data acquisition cards [no network or audio cards, please] All DOS, MS-WINDOWS, OS/2, Linux software for PCs, CD-ROM software for the above PC-only items which won't fit in any of the above groups =*=*=Macintosh Architecture Hardware & Software=*=*= [No modems, net hardware, storage media, memory, monitors or printers belong in these groups.] complete portable SYSTEMS (no peripherals or parts) complete desktop SYSTEMS (no parts) Mac video cards, television cards Other Mac-only cards, audio cards, data acquisition cards [no network cards, please] All Macintosh software Mac-only items which won't fit in any of the above groups =*=*=RISC and Other Workstations=*=*= [No x86 stuff, modems, net hardware, storage media, memory, monitors or printers belong in these groups.] items specific to high-power workstations, SPARC systems, RISC processors, HP workstations, NEXTs, data acquisition interfaces, other workstation components which don't fit in other groups, UNIX software [no souped-up PC clones, please] =*=*=Other Computer Software & Hardware=*=*= [No modems, net hardware, storage media, memory, monitors or printers belong in these groups.] for as-yet unmentioned SYSTEMS (no parts or peripherals) Amiga, C64, TI99, minicomputers, supercomputers software for other systems parts and peripherals which don't fit in any other groups [The following groups are obsolete, officially dead, and should not be posted to. Posting to obsolete newsgroups may prevent your article from being sent to some sites.,,,,, and] -*-*-*-*-*-*-Commercial biz.marketplace Groups-*-*-*-*-*-*- Question: "I'm a profit-motivated entity, but I don't get biz.marketplace at my site. Can I post to" Answer: No. If your site gets, but not biz.marketplace, then your site probably prohibits commercial use, and it would be inappropriate for you to post your ad in the first place. Alternate access to biz.marketplace and other unavailable newsgroups is presented in the next Subject. =*=*=Non-Computer Items=*=*= biz.marketplace.non-computer non-computer items offered domestically by businesses, close-outs, overstocks, seconds, sales of rental equipment, condo rentals, salvageable capital items biz.marketplace.discussion *NO ADS* domestic shipping questions, general Usenet Marketplace discussion, discussion about the FAQ requests for international trading partners, offers of surplus goods which must be exported for sale, international shipping services *NO ADS* discussion of international marketing and overseas shipping issues non-computer services of many sorts, long-distance telephone deals, freelance writers, non-computer newsletters and reports, and whatever else [no multi-level-marketing or entrepreneur-related] *NO ADS* discussion of service performed over the Internet, service quality reputations, and other service-related issues =*=*=*=Computer Hardware, Software, and Services=*=*=*= for computer services of all types, not-for-profit orgs soliciting donations of computers, freelance programmers, software support services, internet access services biz.marketplace.computers.discussion *NO ADS* for discussion of commercial computer issues, product reliability, commercial vendor reputations biz.marketplace.computers.pc-clone PC compatible systems, laptops, motherboards, CPUs, video cards, monitors, printers, memory, modems, software, and all supporting equipment [please tailor your post to the PC market] biz.marketplace.computers.mac Macintosh compatible systems, laptops, CPUs, memory, video cards, monitors, printers, modems, software and all supporting equipment [please tailor your post to the Macintosh market] biz.marketplace.computers.workstation RISC-based and other high powered workstations, supporting high-powered peripherals, large monitors, network equipment, UNIX software, and other stuff typically seen only in workstations [please, no x86 systems, and tailor your post to the workstation market] biz.marketplace.computers.other for other types of systems and components specific to those systems, Amiga, C64, TI99, microcomputers, supercomputers, etc., and software for these systems. [The following groups are obsolete, officially dead, and should not be posted to. Posting to obsolete newsgroups may prevent your article from being sent to some sites. biz.misc, biz.comp.hardware,, and] -*-*-*-*-*-*-Additional Marketplace Groups-*-*-*-*-*-*- The following groups reside in other hierarchies and are designed to handle markets for more specific items. You may crosspost an article to one Usenet Marketplace group and to one of the following at the same time--subject to the rules of these groups. Commercial ads may be prohibited in some of these groups; please read their respective FAQs for more information. For group descriptions, see the web version of this FAQ. alt.aquaria.marketplace rec.crafts.marketplace alt.home-theater.marketplace comp.os.os2.marketplace comp.sys.amiga.marketplace comp.sys.apple2.marketplace rec.outdoors.marketplace comp.sys.sun.wanted misc.industry.electronics.marketplace rec.antiques.marketplace rec.arts.books.marketplace rec.skiing.marketplace rec.arts.anime.marketplace rec.arts.sf.marketplace soc.genealogy.marketplace rec.aviation.marketplace rec.arts.comics.marketplace rec.bicycles.marketplace (& 2 more)
Subject: 6. How can I receive newsgroups not carried by my site? One common problem is a lack of access to certain newsgroups. This is particularly true of the biz.marketplace groups, because some sites do not carry the Biznet hierarchy. Your first action should be to ask your system administrator why she doesn't carry a particular group or set of groups. Often, just expressing an interest will be enough to convince her to subscribe. Or, you may find out that your site doesn't permit commercial use of the news facilities, in which case you should not try to circumvent local policy. However, if you have a dying urge to post to or read a specific group which your site does not carry, there are several free ways to receive those groups. These can be particularly useful if you live in Kazakhstan and your only news access is through Gopher and e-mail (a true story). For posting, a simple e-mail message to the right address will post your article. For reading, a number of open news servers and gopher news services are available for your perusal. But please, first talk to your local source for help to find out how to read and post news from your local server. In many cases, the only reason certain newsgroups are not carried is because of a lack of storage space. In this instance, please read Bob Rankin's "Accessing the Internet by E-Mail FAQ" in news.answers.
Subject: 7. Other classified ads on the Internet. In addition to the Usenet Marketplace, several additional advertising services are available through the Internet. If you want to post goods for sale, many of these (often free) services welcome your wares. Browsing is always free. In any case, please learn the rules of using these services before posting your ad. Most sites have help files available. For the list of WWW classified ad sites (there are several), see the web version of this FAQ. Gopher servers-- The Exchange in eastern Washington State a local weekly paper presents some of its ads online <gopher://> Anonymous FTP servers-- The Exchange in eastern Washington State <> [If you know of other sites not mentioned here, please let us know.]
Subject: 8. Considerations for commercial/entrepreneurial users. Businesses, entrepreneurs, not-for-profit organizations, and other commercial entities must follow additional guidelines when posting to newsgroups, including the Usenet Marketplace. Many users frown on the use of the Internet for commercial purposes because of rampant commercial abuse in the past. Because of this prior misuse, it is especially important that you help us to change this image in order to allow continued commercial use of the Usenet Marketplace. The rest of this section, while tailored to the biz.marketplace hierarchy, pertains to many other newsgroups as well. If you would like to know more about why commercial ads are under such restrictions, I highly recommend Joel Furr's FAQ on advertising, "Advertising on Usenet: How To Do It, How Not To Do It" posted regularly to news.misc. Commercial entities may post advertisements to the appropriate biz.marketplace.* newsgroups as long as they satisfy the criteria detailed below. These criteria have been designed to conserve bandwidth, minimize noise, and provide the best value for potential customers while providing you with the best audience for your wares or services. If you follow these criteria, you will receive the most positive response possible; your sales will grow and your organization will maintain a good public image. If your marketing tactics compromise the integrity of these newsgroups, you can expect loss of sales, loss of privileges, and a poor reputation among Internet users. You can also expect a nasty message from the biz.marketplace moderator announcing that your article has been deleted as inappropriate. ***Junk e-mail alert!*** These newsgroups are about posting ads for readers to browse through at their leisure. Some companies have recently tried to mass-market by culling e-mail addresses from newsgroup posts, and sending these posters unsolicited e-mail. Sending unsolicited e-mail advertisements over the Internet is against the policy of most Internet service providers, including AOL and other major online services. This practice is not tolerated by the Usenet audience, and sometimes results in revocation of Internet access. You may, however, send an e-mail reply to the poster of a question about services or products you can provide. Inappropriate commercial use of the Internet is watched by many users, and recorded for posterity. If you would like more information, check out the Blacklist of Internet Advertisers posted regularly to news.answers to see who has ruined their reputation recently. ***About the biz.marketplace moderated newsgroups*** The biz.marketplace newsgroups are retro-moderated, which means that the moderator routinely cancels inappropriate posts after-the-fact. At present, several robots analyze the biz.marketplace groups and automatically cancel most articles which don't adhere to the suggestions in this FAQ. The robots try to be lenient and have been running greater than 99% accuracy. However, because they are only as stupid as the idiot who programmed them, the moderator reserves the right to cancel any article which does not follow the suggestions for advertising listed in this FAQ. From time to time, biological entities may also intervene to cancel articles which the robots miss. It is possible, in the rarest of cases, that a totally appropriate article would be cancelled. If your article follows all of the suggestions and is still cancelled, please work with us to resolve the problem. If your article is cancelled and you included a valid e-mail address in the From: or Sender: header, you'll receive notification. The following quote from the biz.marketplace charter should help you understand our purpose: "Because the propagation and storage resources of this hierarchy are supported primarily by the customers, all posters to this hierarchy must recognize that a heavy emphasis is placed on end-user value. Every post to any biz.marketplace group should demonstrate, in a concise manner, its value to the customers. This value should not be easily obtained except through these newsgroups. This value may be monetary, or it may be in the form of services which are not prolifically advertised and are of general interest to the readership." ***Acceptable commercial offerings*** All commercial offerings must provide end-user value as stated above. These offerings are welcome in biz.marketplace newsgroups: Discounted merchandise</STRONG> You may post an ad if everything in your post is offered at a price significantly lower than the lowest price available for the same first-quality merchandise through retail stores, mail-order catalogs, national advertising campaigns, and other nationally-distributed media including TV, magazines, or large discount chains. For computer items in the U.S., the litmus test is the lowest current, not published, price offered by dealers in Computer Shopper magazine. Bulk offerings and offerings not open to the general public must provide an equivalent value to corporate customers. The discount from the best nationally-available prices should be at least 10% for items/lots $500 or more, 12-15% in the $200-500 range, and at least $20 for items/lots under $200. It is your responsibility to research prices before posting. A few examples: Refurbished goods Overstocks Factory seconds Closeouts Offerings to individuals at or near wholesale Bulk offerings for export below wholesale Hard-to-find services or merchandise You offer services or tangible goods that would not otherwise be available nationally, and are of widespread interest to the readers. You still must offer very competitive pricing. A few more examples: Home handiwork Freelance services: writing, programming, photography Language translation services Consulting services Internet t-shirts and coffee mugs Small-company developed software Escrow services Internet service providers Self-published fiction These offerings should not be posted: Entire catalogs Only those items in your inventory which satisfy the above criteria may be advertised. Because catalogs use a lot of resources, it is better to pick a few choice items to advertise, briefly describe the rest of your inventory, and solicit e-mail requests for your catalog or announce a web link to it. Please keep your ad to fewer than 40 lines in the interest of bandwidth. Distributorships, investment opportunities, sales positions, and multi-level marketing You may offer your merchandise if it would otherwise be acceptable, but marketing or investment opportunities are not included in the Marketplace scope of facilitating the sale of goods and services. Job offerings, except for specific solicitation of contract/freelance workers in the services groups, fall under the same category. In the interest of international trade, limited specific "corporate distributors wanted" advertising will be allowed in the international group, but _only_ if its presentation follows the highest Marketplace standards. NO soliciting for individuals internationally. Items of limited interest to the audience All offerings should be of interest to a large number of the readers. In general, most computer-related items or services are appropriate, as are everyday items, furniture, decorations, and other items used by a large percentage of the population. The largest parts of the Usenet audience come from all corners of the world, and include computer-related business employees, high-school and university students, professors, top scientific researchers, and the occasional computer-literate family. Most readers have advanced educations. If your item is not of widespread interest to these populations, then please don't advertise on the newsgroups. A few examples of usually inappropriate offerings: Psychic, sex, and similar telephone services Herbal and experimental medications and diet supplements Money making opportunities of most sorts Immigration and trial law services ***Commercial ad copy requirements*** When writing your ad, please keep in mind the suggestions for ads written by individuals. Many of the suggestions are enforced for commercial ads, especially pertaining to effective subject lines [HINT!!! ;-]. Once you understand how to write an ad from an individual's point of view, modify your commercial ad to follow a few additional guidelines: State exact items, services, and prices in detail. Stating that you offer a certain product line is not enough. You must provide specific examples. Any reader knowledgeable about your products should be able to read your ad and easily see the end-user value. Be certain you include model numbers, special conditions, and, most importantly, prices. Also include shipping and payment information. We repeat: failure to include prices for merchandise _will_ make your article eligible for cancellation. Keep your ad reasonably short, but not _too_ short. As a general guide, if you are offering one item, you will rarely need more than 12 lines. If you have 12 items, try to use no more than 2 lines per item. 40 items, no more than 1 line per item. If your list of qualifying offerings won't fit in 50 lines, list a few representative items or services, then offer to send the full list by e-mail to interested parties. Alternatively, include a link to your catalog on the World-Wide-Web. But be sure to include the requisite examples to prove that your ad is appropriate! Very few readers will scroll past the second page of your article, so be brief, don't waste space, but say what you need to. Post much more than 50 lines and the robots will automatically cancel your ad. Also, don't include blank forms in your posts. Present facts, eliminate hype. When you write your ad, just present technical information and facts. Do not include commentary or marketing hype. Because of the high level of education of most of the readers, marketing hype only wastes bandwidth and invites questions about your reputability. Present your product in a serious technical light and you will sell more in these newsgroups than if you present it as the biggest innovation since the atom bomb. Also, the laws of various consumer protection agencies about truth in advertising apply and are strictly enforced in their own way on the newsgroups. Please tailor your posts to each newsgroup. If you offer items which belong in different newsgroups, such as a variety of PC and Macintosh hardware, then please write a separate article for each of the intended groups. PC users do not like to sort through listings of Macintosh items, nor should computers or computer services be posted to the non-computer groups. Instead separate PC and Macintosh hardware into separate posts. You will lose sales if a PC user has to skip over a group of Macintosh hardware before finding your PC section. Posting to multiple biz.marketplace groups is another criteria for cancellation. Include _your_ e-mail address. If your e-mail host sends automatic replies, or if you don't regularly read mail in the account from which you are posting, please include an e-mail address in your ad where you, personally, can be reached. Autoresponders work well for responding to large numbers of catalog requests, but they don't work well when people have questions, comments, or complaints. Some Usenet Marketplace users will not do business with companies who refuse to make a live person easily accessible for questions. We also urge you to respond to such questions, comments, or complaints, as users will often complain to your system administrator if you cannot be reached. Post your ad once a month. If your offerings are continuous, please maintain a 1-month interval between posts, unless you need to make a correction. If someone posts a request in a *.discussion group for a service you provide, respond to her by e-mail rather than reposting your stock ad. Your ad may disappear at your site in a couple of days, but it will remain at other sites for 2 weeks or more. The one-month interval has been determined to be a reasonable compromise because of limitations on bandwidth and storage at most sites. Enforcement will be included in future robots. Learn how to cancel articles before you post. If your post escapes with an error, or if it needs a price correction, please cancel your original post before posting the update. See the section on cancelling articles for more information. Limit distribution of your post When you post to the Usenet Marketplace, your article is sent to thousands of news servers worldwide. If you don't want to deal internationally, or if your items are too large to ship, please limit your article distribution when posting. For more information, see the section on advanced posting topics. Finally, if you are unclear on any of these issues, please ask. It might save a lot of headaches later. ***A short guide to cancelling articles*** If you make a mistake when posting, or should you need to revise your ad, it is imperative that you be able to cancel it quickly. The most universal way to correct such problems is to post a corrected ad with a Supersedes: header at the top of your new message. To do this, you need the Message-ID: from your original article. Go into your newsreader, find your article, and look at the headers (you may need to type 'h' to see them). The top of your article should look similar to: Newsgroups: Subject: BooBoo For Sale From: [other headers] Message-ID: <> [Article text after a blank space] In your new article, include the following line in your header: Supersedes: An easier way if you use rn, trn, or nn as your newsreader is to type a capital 'C' while you are reading your original article. Then, post your new article (if any). Hitting 'C' cancels the original article and erases the text, although the subject line may not be removed at all sites. Some sites have other ways of cancelling articles. Talk to a local system administrator for help. -*-*-*-*-End ad-posting FAQ-*-*-*-*-

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM