Shifted wrote: ↑Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:00 am
2) For those that make a full time living selling products/services, I think that requiring them to be forum sponsors in order to offer their products/services for sale on the forum is appropriate.
Sean and I (to a materially lesser extent) fall into this category.
For me, I never used Rennlist to "advertise" my "business." I did however, not obscure the fact that I work on other people's 928s for money. I did, however, make non-trivial effort to contribute to the value of the 928 forum. I saw that contribution as my "payment" for not "hiding" that I worked on 928s for money. I received some referrals directly as a result of folks seeing me on Rennlist. I received more referrals indirectly: my clients on Rennlist referring folks to me that had posted "where's a good mechanic" on Rennlist without any prior search on Rennlist. The majority of my referrals do not come through Rennlist though. They originate with our Big 3 Parts Suppliers.
Rennlist's rules (i.e. expense out of proportion to revenue) for "small business" drove away a lot of small business (like Nicole's hobby 928 business.) IB's rules on the Corvette forum are far more draconian (or at least they used to be) wherein any references whatsoever to any non-sponsor business were subject to removal at a whim (where whims usually originated with sponsors.)
I don't need more business and thus "advertising" in order to attract business is not on my priority list. I would certainly be willing to contribute somewhat more than a 'standard' member with the rule that my behavior is more-or-less the same: no "real" advertising and no obvious troll posts ("Just bring it to me") in response to technical questions.
It's hard to figure out at what point a "business" should be contributing more to the forum. Even a simple revenue-proportional model doesn't align with the value on the business side without click metrics. I have no interest in expending my limited one-man-shop time on figuring out what a 'click' on a banner ad is worth to me.
On the other hand, I am also willing to *invest* in this forum under conditions that make sense.
Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Heinlein’s Corollary: Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
Worf’s Razor: Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by laziness.
Worf's Corollary: Once you've mitigated risk from stupidity and laziness in your endeavors, failure is usually the result of insufficient imagination.
My 928 Inspection Guide