Vendor posting. Question for forum members.

deAutoLED.com

Vendor
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Location
NY
TDI
2002 jetta TDI
It recently came to our attention that a vendor is not allowed to post products they sell outside of the vendor forum, even if the person is asking for suggestions on a product that a vendor might be selling.

We think allowing vendors to post outside of the designated vendor forum can be beneficial to the forum. It helps contribute to the forum by creating more discussion and options for forum members reading. Vendors are also able to help with questions and concerns about the product they are posting.

There should be strict rules to avoid any type of spamming or vendors over posting the same thing:
1-Vendors MUST donate to the forum for the extra privilege
2-Vendors can only post in threads discussing a product if it is within the topic
3-Vendors are only allowed to post 1 or 2x a day, unless you are replying to questions from their original post.
4-Vendors are NOT allowed to create any new threads, only post in existing threads.

We would like to hear what you think, we contacted a few admins discussing why we think the rules should be modified, but we would like to hear some opinions about this from actual members.

Thank you
 
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Sigforty

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2013
Location
Prairieville, LA
TDI
2012 Passat w/DSG
I read that post, and I would question some of the anti posting. As an owner of a passat, I do not always looks at vendor sites to see what is out. I look at a lot of the threads for ideas. It is hard to enforce, but I think posting in threads should be allowed if in the context of the thread. Additionally, it would help if there was a way to monitor so it does not turn into a vendor war in the thread.
 

deAutoLED.com

Vendor
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Location
NY
TDI
2002 jetta TDI
I read that post, and I would question some of the anti posting. As an owner of a passat, I do not always looks at vendor sites to see what is out. I look at a lot of the threads for ideas. It is hard to enforce, but I think posting in threads should be allowed if in the context of the thread. Additionally, it would help if there was a way to monitor so it does not turn into a vendor war in the thread.
We have to agree with you on this.
We recently posted our Passat B7 full trunk housing and HID Kit prior to knowing the rules, we got no response when posted in the vendor area, but when we posted it in the main forum we received a few emails asking questions about our product.

It is obvious many people will not take the time or even know about the vendor thread.

We think these rules are fair for everyone and helps get the word out to members about vendor products:
1-Vendors MUST donate to the forum for the extra privilege
2-Vendors can only post in threads discussing a product if it is within the topic
3-Vendors are only allowed to post 1 or 2x a day, unless you are replying to questions from their original post.
4-Vendors are NOT allowed to create any new threads, only post in existing threads.
 

79TA7.6

Veteran Member
Joined
May 8, 2006
Location
Live: Wilbur/Creston; Work: Moses Lake Washington
TDI
2003 Jetta GLS 5 Speed
I do not agree with the rules at all.

1) How do you regulate which vendors are allowed to post where? This just puts more work on the mods to keep track of who can post what where. You cannot say just because a vendor does not donate that they are not allowed to post outside of the vendor section.
2) Are you saying that a vendor is not longer allowed to give sound advice and support if the subject does not contain something they sell?
3) There are a lot of vendors who are active on this board. Peter, IDPart, indigobluewagon is one of them. He is always giving advice and telling of road trips and such. To say he can only be limited to 1 or 2 posts a day is not a reality.
4) So if a vendr is having issues with his car he is not allowed to start a new thread to ask about it?

All of this would add more work for the mods in order to take care of all of this and I do not see it as a necessity. I do see your point, a possible client might not even know something exists to fix an issue they are having if you are not able to say "Hey, I have something that would make you day." On the other hand I see the mods point, once again, how do you regulate someone who is honestly offering sound advice or a sound solution, in which they have the solution, versus the ones out there who will abuse the crap out of this and post every where.

You vendors have it pretty tough. I liked the old way the vendor section was set up where a vendor could open a new thread to advertise a new product. Now if they wish to keep their existing products listed in their thread they must either add it to the top, or to the bottom and hope potential buyers see it. I for one do not read every post from the vendors, just a few. With the old way if I saw something new pop up I was interested in I would open the thread. I am sure I am missing a LOT of new things because there is nothing there to catch my attention.

But, the mods have it a lot tougher. They are the ones who have to clean up the messes when someone, not just vendors, does not play nice. I do not see there being an easy answer for this situation.
 

deAutoLED.com

Vendor
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Location
NY
TDI
2002 jetta TDI
We agree with you 79TA7.6. let us clear some things up...

Yes if you do not donate, you are limited to only posting in the vendor area if it has to do with a product. But we are only referring to vendors posting products not posting in general, so vendors that are posting now can continue to post as much as they want, to make it more clear
Rule #3:Vendors are only allowed to post 1 or 2x a day, unless they are replying to questions from their original post, or not advertising a product they sell. That seems to make more sense.

And we think it is great that Peter, IDPart, indigobluewagon etc posts everyday and contributes, we would love to be that involved but at times cannot be, we feel we can be involved in a different way by suggesting our product which helps contribute to the forums.

As for moderators, we do not think it will be more work, VeeDubTDI and many others are pretty active, and vendors can easily police each other. But the rules are fair and I cannot see any vendor trying to take advantage of them.
 

VeeDubTDI

Wanderluster, Traveler, TDIClub Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 2, 2000
Location
Springfield, VA
TDI
‘18 Tesla Model 3D+, ‘14 Cadillac ELR, ‘13 Fiat 500e
Out of curiosity, I did some browsing on VWvortex because I haven't really paid attention to how they handle vendors lately.

In the 2012+ Passat forum, there were 8 advertising threads from vendors... same with the Jetta Sportwagen forum. With so many vendors offering products for each vehicle, what you end up with is advertising threads in every single forum that get quite a lot of traffic from questions, answers, and bumps. This ends up shoving the technical discussion further down the page and makes the signal to noise ratio more unpleasant.

Sure, having all of the vendors restricted to one forum might not be the ideal setup, but we feel that it maintains the focus on technical discussion instead of merchandising. That desire, combined with keeping TDIClub free for everyone and ad-free, here we are.

We hope that this is fair for everyone... vendors can be a part of the community without having to pay, and members can chose to take advantage of services at their leisure rather than being advertised to from numerous directions.

I'm sure Fred or others can elaborate, but that's my take on it.
 
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turbocharged798

Veteran Member
Joined
May 21, 2009
Location
Ellenville, NY
TDI
99.5 black ALH Jetta;09 Gasser Jetta
Exactly. What we have works now and keeps the forum relatively spam free. The abuse of the vendor forum was thankfully taken care of even though it was a blow to some of the non-violators.
 

BKmetz

Administrator, Member #10
Staff member
Joined
Sep 25, 1997
Location
Illinois
TDI
2015 Passat, titanium beige, 6MT
Having been a founding member of TDIClub (1997, my member number is in the single digits), drafted by Fred to help set up the first generation of forums (1999), one of the first mods (2000, when you could count the number of mods on one hand), super mod (2004), the 3rd admin (2007), and having dealt with every aspect of handling vendors (2008 volunteered to handle vender registrations), here are my thoughts:

Accepting payment for vendor threads goes against the member run volunteer system we have. If we accept payment from any vendor there will also be a justifiable expectation of entitlement that goes with it. There will have to be an accounting of who paid what for what. We simply don't have that kind of time.

Right now as things stand, vendors are accountable to the membership. TDIClub is not accountable to anyone, not any member regardless of position, title, post count, etc. The membership is accountable to itself as it's the membership that runs TDIClub and funds the club's expenses. Accepting money from vendors changes that, TDIClub would then be accountable to vendors. Members would be reduced to a monetized resource to be exploited.

Having dealt with way too much vendor drama and egos over the years, we do have an imperfect system, but it's about as perfect as it can be to how we run. TDIClub is a member run club, for members by members. Not a commercial profit based enterprise.

So here's the take way for all the vendors: TDIClub's free advertising has some limits, but you are getting far more out than what you paid in.

:)
 
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burpod

teh stallionz!!1
Joined
Nov 27, 2004
Location
cape cod, ma
TDI
82 rabbit vnt ahu, 98 jetta vnt ahu, 05 parts car, 88 scirocco.. :/
this was some of the most ridiculous stuff i've read in a long time :rolleyes:

nobody can ask where to buy something on a public forum? or compare X to Y? good grief, get over it..... i mean, seriously.... everything you listed would be impossible to manage, let alone make any sense

KERMA said:
I agree with the OP to some degree. It should also be recognized, there is rampant stealth advertising going on right now. It should be brought into the open so it's an even playing field. Or else go the other way, see my suggestions at the end of this post.
It's getting to the point that the Ontario forums could be called "the Ontario vendors forum" and the "power enhancements" section is more like the "performance vendors stealth advertising forum" where every post is about this or that vendor.
IMO the rule about vendors not being allowed to post "we have that" is the most abused and selectively ignored "rule" and it is very selectively enforced. Or should I say selectively not enforced.
There is also a "loophole" that allows promotion through "disinterested" third parties. Give a guy a free whatever, and he can start a thread asking a "question" as a straight man, and you step in as the cheerful, helpful, selfless vendor with a "technical" answer or "technical" info. And the "guy" starts posting your talking points in every thread he can dealing with your product or service. "call so and so he's a great guy"
Or else get your buddy to post a "how to" thread or "X product installed" with lots of vendor references and deep links to products on vendor websites, and you can pop in as the cheerful, helpful, selfless "cool guy" vendor to keep the discussion going in the direction you want.
Another example, if you only sell stock replacement cams, every time someone posts asking about a performance cam, post that you have never seen any benefit from a performance cam. If you don't sell a certain version of a turbo, say negative stuff about the manufacturer every time someone posts about that turbo you don't sell, and better yet, convince a few of your buddies to say it too. And of course the manufacturer you feature on your website is better. Say it enough so that hopefully some noobs parrot and make it viral, thereby becoming a truth unto itself.
Or else find another vendor that sells a parallel product that is not directly competing with what you sell. Then cross-promote on each others behalf. If I only sell chip tuning, and you only sell parts, then I will promote your parts and you promote my chip tuning. This is a common practice.
Another, get your dealers to post stuff about you on your behalf. While Amsoil and such have been overtly limited in this regard, apparently this dealer product promotion is allowed in certain cases as long as the dealers are "well liked" frequent posters and remain somewhat clever about it. If there are enough of them, the sheer volume of posts will ultimately "legitimize" the practice.
Or better yet offer frequent posters a "dealership" if they post enough in support of your product. This happens as well. The non-vendor flies under the radar for awhile shilling away happily because they are "not a vendor" then after a while, they simply start selling whatever it was they were shilling. A variant of this is the "average joe" bashing a company then going to work for a competitor or becoming a "dealer" for a competitor, or else offering a competing product after "clearing the way"
Another example: If you offer a similar product but not a supporting service, give a "neutral member" some "info" that will "debunk" the other guy's service, and get him to start a "debunking" thread. Thereby hopefully neutralizing any competitive advantage from the competitor's innovation.
My point is... these forums are already heavily commercialized, regardless whether we like to see it or not. And the current state of things seems to encourage dirty tricks and behind the scenes alliances and scheming to "get it in under the radar" which just creates a toxic, dishonest environment, where seemingly everyone is trying to make a buck - while striving to appear like they are not.
If everyone is making a buck why not just embrace it for what it is? And make it a fair and honest playing field for everyone to benefit from equally. Without having to resort to cleverness and stealth techniques to try and get around the intent of the system.
So just set up a paid vendor system (like every other website has) and control it, for everyone's mutual benefit. Maybe even let vendors pay for their very own forum section, with complete moderator privileges for their "rented" forum section. I suspect some vendors would pay a lot of money for something like that.
or else...
Instead of making the forums openly commercial, here are some alternate suggestions to take it more in line with what I think fred intends. If management is serious about this being a non-commercial site, here are some ideas for the vendor rules, to help make that vision a reality -- by closing existing loopholes
1. No posting hot links to vendor websites or vendor products under any circumstances EXCEPT in the vendor section. NO EXCEPTIONS. No matter who is doing the posting. (still allowed in signatures though) Including build threads, etc. remove any links to vendor websites.
2. Likewise, no "where can I buy" type posts. These should be answered by pointing the guy to the vendor section, search the forums, or google. or blackholed
3. Routine technical support questions or customer service questions about a particular vendor member's products or services are the responsibility of the VENDOR to handle OUTSIDE the forums. That is why vendors are PAID for their stuff and they should earn it, not exploit the tdiclub membership so they can profit while keeping their costs and hassles low. For example: No more "should I buy stage 1 or stage 2 from chiptuner x" type threads. Or "how do I install/use product X from vendor y". This question would be answered by a good vendor when the customer asked the vendor for support, and should not require a forum post.
4. "Vendor reviews" cheering type threads should not be allowed outside the vendor section.
5. Any thread with a vendor product or vendor name in the title should not be allowed, even if it is an "installed" thread or similar "technical seeming" thread. Customer support should be handled by the vendor, who is paid, not the forum membership.
6. No thread with "vs" in the title, eg "malone vs rocketchip" = black hole
7. No vendor should be allowed to criticise another vendor's product, service, methods, PERSONALITY, posting style, grammar, "ethics" or anything else about another vendor, EVEN IF THEY (seem to) OFFER NO SIMILAR PRODUCT. Even if the criticised "vendor" does not participate actively in the forums. If you make money from members, it should be HANDS OFF other people who also do. (This means Prothe, etc. If they vendor is that bad, there are plenty of non-vendors who will know it and post.) Vendors should be HANDS OFF other vendors, even if they don't appear to be competitors.
8. No vendor should be allowed to repeatedly mention another vendor, or repeatedly mention a vendor's product or website outside the vendors section EVEN IF the product is "not one I sell" and even if it "merely" relates to their "personal experience" with that product. Obviously vendors are also customers, but sometimes it gets ridiculous. (especially with "dealers")
9. Recognize that repeated favorable/unfavorable mention of a vendor or vendors by a "member" or other vendor is probably stealth advertising, encouraged wink wink by the vendor (or a competitor in unfavorable cases). May suggest "associate" status even if not technically an employee.
Either embrace the vendors' desire to advertise, and make it a win win for everyone, or else totally put the kibosh on it and close existing loopholes and exploits
Just some ideas to maybe help make this a less toxic place.
 

KERMA

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 23, 2001
Location
here
TDI
99 beetle and 04 jetta
I deleted my earlier post because it no longer seemed necessary or relevant after reading what BK had to say.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
I am a member of this club as a TDI owner first, a vendor second. I was here for two years before acquiring IDParts (then TDIParts), and appreciate the forums much more for the knowledge and entertainment I receive than as a marketing vehicle.

Although not perfect, the system as it currently works is probably the best it can be. I find the vendor section somewhat frustrating and we don't use it as much as we used to, but it's a very small price to pay for an advertising and spam-free forum. Go to some other car forums if you want to be annoyed by advertising. Vortex is actually better than average. There are Miata and M-B forums that I rarely visit because of the number and types of ads.

Regarding posting product links in threads, my practice is to PM the OP with product information if I have something helpful. After all, it's that individual that needs the product, not everyone reading the thread. And if the OP wants to share the product info that's up to him or her. Works for me.

Think about TDIClub as an enthusiast site where you can learn about what you should be selling, how to best sell it, and get feedback on your products and services, but not as part of your advertising strategy. Everyone will benefit.
 

A5INKY

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 4, 2007
Location
Louisville, KY
TDI
2006 Jetta TDI, 2002 Eurovan Westphalia VR6
this was some of the most ridiculous stuff i've read in a long time :rolleyes:
nobody can ask where to buy something on a public forum? or compare X to Y? good grief, get over it..... i mean, seriously.... everything you listed would be impossible to manage, let alone make any sense
Thank you for capturing that post for posterity. Classic... :rolleyes:

I am a member of this club as a TDI owner first, a vendor second. I was here for two years before acquiring IDParts (then TDIParts), and appreciate the forums much more for the knowledge and entertainment I receive than as a marketing vehicle.

Although not perfect, the system as it currently works is probably the best it can be. I find the vendor section somewhat frustrating and we don't use it as much as we used to, but it's a very small price to pay for an advertising and spam-free forum. Go to some other car forums if you want to be annoyed by advertising. Vortex is actually better than average. There are Miata and M-B forums that I rarely visit because of the number and types of ads.

Regarding posting product links in threads, my practice is to PM the OP with product information if I have something helpful. After all, it's that individual that needs the product, not everyone reading the thread. And if the OP wants to share the product info that's up to him or her. Works for me.

Think about TDIClub as an enthusiast site where you can learn about what you should be selling, how to best sell it, and get feedback on your products and services, but not as part of your advertising strategy. Everyone will benefit.
+1. Well said Peter!
 

VeeDubTDI

Wanderluster, Traveler, TDIClub Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 2, 2000
Location
Springfield, VA
TDI
‘18 Tesla Model 3D+, ‘14 Cadillac ELR, ‘13 Fiat 500e
Excellent advice

Think about TDIClub as an enthusiast site where you can learn about what you should be selling, how to best sell it, and get feedback on your products and services, but not as part of your advertising strategy. Everyone will benefit.
Words of wisdom! :cool:
 

KERMA

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Sep 23, 2001
Location
here
TDI
99 beetle and 04 jetta
It's called "engagement marketing"
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
Or Peachparts Forums, or Miata.net, or Benzworld.org, or any number of other advertising-driven sites. And I am very, very thankful for that. Hats off to Fred for staying the course.
 

VeeDubTDI

Wanderluster, Traveler, TDIClub Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 2, 2000
Location
Springfield, VA
TDI
‘18 Tesla Model 3D+, ‘14 Cadillac ELR, ‘13 Fiat 500e
And it's all made possible by the annual TDIFest, its attendees, and the vendors to generously contribute their time and products. Thanks to everyone who makes this yearly event successful and so much fun. :D
 

20IndigoBlue02

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 22, 2001
Location
Was North NJ, now SoCal
TDI
2002 Golf TDI-- deceased
And it's all made possible by the annual TDIFest, its attendees, and the vendors to generously contribute their time and products. Thanks to everyone who makes this yearly event successful and so much fun. :D
As it has been already mentioned to some degree, the long-time vendors here have a passion for TDI's, which is why their products are focused on TDI's first, gassers secondary (if they even offer something got gassers).

For me... that's why I still use TDI gurus for my gasser maintenance (when their schedule permits)
 

MonsterTDI09

TDIClub Enthusiast, Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Location
NoVa/NJ
TDI
2010 Jetta DSG/ up keep on 2009 Jetta DSG 2006 Jetta Pag 2 in North SEA Green
I always try to support our venders. I have only seen it one or two times,were a vender was doing advertising. That was Eastern forms, I did report the one
 
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