Do you have a Vendor Policy? Is it part of your standard "rules"? What is yours?

haqzore

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Hi all. As the largest/primary site for our niche (specific motorcycle models), we're often approached by vendors wanting to reach our member-base.

How do yo handle vendors? Do you have a vendor policy?
That is - rules for vendors who sell site-related products & want to participate in your community.


Do you set any restrictions at all for "overall" participation?
Do you require they pay for/stay within their own sponsored sub-forum?
Do you start with the above (sponsored sub-forum) but let them also participate site-wide?


What does your vendor policy look like?
Can you share?
 
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Philpug

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We charge stores to advertise, we are selective. Forums are a "community" a virtual one at that but still a community and advertisers are that community's "local" shop and people do like to buy local and support the businesses that support that community. We also suggest that the advertiser contributes both in posting and there to answer questions. We explain if they just want to post an ad and expect people to start throwing money at them, they will be disappointed and that doesn't help anyone.

Today more than ever shops need to reach out to the consumer and forums that have a high concentrate of their ideal customer, puts you/us in a very good position. Remember, they are not advertising to just your members but the readers of your site, that is many many more eyes that just the people that have an account.
 

haqzore

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We also suggest that the advertiser contributes both in posting and there to answer questions. We explain if they just want to post an ad and expect people to start throwing money at them, they will be disappointed and that doesn't help anyone.
We do the same.

But how do you set/define this rule? Do you limit their posts? Or how many times/how forcefully they can inject their product/etc into replies?

That's what I'm looking for.

As a side note - we also remind them that the state of ad blockers effectively make banners worthless in current times.


Today more than ever shops need to reach out to the consumer and forums that have a high concentrate of their ideal customer, puts you/us in a very good position. Remember, they are not advertising to just your members but the readers of your site, that is many many more eyes that just the people that have an account.

Yep, which is where traffic #s help vs just thread/post/member counts.
 

Philpug

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We do the same.

But how do you set/define this rule? Do you limit their posts? Or how many times/how forcefully they can inject their product/etc into replies?

That's what I'm looking for.

As a side note - we also remind them that the state of ad blockers effectively make banners worthless in current times.




Yep, which is where traffic #s help vs just thread/post/member counts.
I explain, to them "no one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy". Don't be overzealous, build your product up but not by deminishing another product or brand. Treat them as if they were in your store. We have found if a shop or even brand oversteps, the community does a pretty good job of self moderating and knocking them down a rung when it's needed.
 

haqzore

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I explain, to them "no one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy". Don't be overzealous, build your product up but not by deminishing another product or brand. Treat them as if they were in your store. We have found if a shop or even brand oversteps, the community does a pretty good job of self moderating and knocking them down a rung when it's needed.
Sounds like we're doing similar things.

I do like having something to "point at" if I need to step in. Something I can say "see this rule - right here - you aren't adhering to it".

Wondering if anyone has found a good way to document this?
 

Philpug

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Sounds like we're doing similar things.

I do like having something to "point at" if I need to step in. Something I can say "see this rule - right here - you aren't adhering to it".

Wondering if anyone has found a good way to document this?
We really avoid hard and fast rules, because the more precise they are, the easier it is to circumvent them, we have two simple rules...

Our simple rules:
1. Don't be an ass
1a. Being overly sensitive is also being an ass
2. We get to decide who is being an ass
 

haqzore

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We really avoid hard and fast rules, because the more precise they are, the easier it is to circumvent them, we have two simple rules...
Not to sound like a broken record, but we do exactly the same.

So far it's worked fine.
And I'm certainly not looking for this for members.

I'm willing to try structured rules for the people paying me a recurring monthly payment. Sort of feel like I owe them that.

"Have it and not need it" versus "Need it and not have it" type of safety net.
 

Joeychgo

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As a side note - we also remind them that the state of ad blockers effectively make banners worthless in current times.

Not on my sites. I hardcode the banner and store the banner on my site. They show up just fine with adblock enabled.

Everyone has a different approach to ads. I require a annual ad price because I dont want advertisers jumping in and out month to month, just increases my work when they do that.

I give them the option of their own subforum, but to be honest most dont take advantage of the posting.
 

Philpug

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I give them the option of their own subforum, but to be honest most dont take advantage of the posting.
I do that too, only one realy takes advantage of that and they are successful...they get it.
 

TLChris

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Instead of an individual forum, I would off a new prefix in the forum, Vendor standing out in a bold color.
I would manage them via the subscriptions in XenForo. If they don't pay etc, it's all automated. I like the idea that Joey mentioned with spots on the side, but that's just more manual work so a yearly package makes sense.
 

Joeychgo

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I would manage them via the subscriptions in XenForo. If they don't pay etc, it's all automated.

I thought about that. First, I dont like my members knowing what I charge for ads -- Second, that wont manage the banner placements or the subforum for the vendor.
 

haqzore

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I would manage them via the subscriptions in XenForo. If they don't pay etc, it's all automated. I like the idea that Joey mentioned with spots on the side, but that's just more manual work so a yearly package makes sense.
I already do this.



Perhaps I worded my question wrong.
What I'm looking for is how people "document" expectations around vendor community participation.



Example (made up) scenario:
  • I admin a car forum.
  • I have a paying vendor from an air freshener company, with their own sub-forum.
  • They use their sub-forum appropriately.
  • However, they also post a deluge of replies in topics about their air fresheners.
    • Ex: Thread about car washing. Vendor replies about their great smelling air freshener.
    • Ex: Thread asking for car modification ideas. Vendor replies that their air fresheners not only smell great, but look great too.
    • Ex: Thread about why BrandX is unreliable. Vendor replies that while unreliable, with their product, at least it smells good.
    • Ex: General sub-forum about air fresheners. Vendor pops up in every single thread interjecting their product.


How do you document that the above isn't ok?
How do you phrase it?
Most of us Admins automatically "get it", but a vendor might not. How do you set a clear expectation?
 
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haqzore

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Here's a real sample from one of the upgrades available on one of my sites.
This is live & in use today.
As you can see, it relies on more vague guidelines. I haven't had issues yet, but that's the point of this thread. I'm curious what other people use.


This upgrade is required for vendors who wish to discuss their products with our members.

This upgrade includes:
  • A vendor banner under your username ensuring transparency with members.
  • Permission to add company/product information to your account signature.
  • A sub-forum specific to your business within the Club Vendors category.
  • "Sticky" thread permissions within your vendor sub-forum.
  • Custom thread prefixes within your vendor sub-forum.
  • Site staff retain the ability to moderate as with the rest of the site.

Special Note: Community participation outside of your vendor sub-forum may contain natural, relevant conversation about your product within already active topics. A deluge of replies about your product at every opportunity will not be permitted (at site staff's discretion). The end goal is to benefit members & our club.

Start a conversation with haqzore with questions or the details (above) for your sub-forum.
 
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gavpeds

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I'm trying to figure these things out at the moment as well. I wonder what others do if you have a vendor sub-forum for the paying vendor then they choose to cancel. Do you then delete their sub-forum and all content they created with it? In the short term i suppose you could keep it there but over time you could end up with a lot of abandoned sub-forums from vendors
 

haqzore

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I'm trying to figure these things out at the moment as well. I wonder what others do if you have a vendor sub-forum for the paying vendor then they choose to cancel. Do you then delete their sub-forum and all content they created with it? In the short term i suppose you could keep it there but over time you could end up with a lot of abandoned sub-forums from vendors
I've wondered this as well, but haven't run into it yet.

I think it's worth that challenge. A vendor with an assumed level of expertise is phenomenal contribution to a community and its members. My members benefit greatly by having this vendor around to ask/answer questions.

So when the time comes that this (or another) vendor wants to move on... I'm not sure. I'm thinking - at least initially - I change the forum to read only, and hide (but not delete) it after a while.
 

southernlady

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I don’t run ads. It’s something I did when my forum started and just never found the need to add them. And my forum members enjoy a place ad free.
 
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