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Section - 8. Considerations for commercial/entrepreneurial users.

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Previous Document: 7. Other classified ads on the Internet.
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  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 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

    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
	   Factory seconds
	   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
	   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

    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

    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:

	Subject: BooBoo For Sale
	[other headers]
	Message-ID: <>

	[Article text after a blank space]

    In your new article, include the following line in your


    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