I know this will open a whole Pandorras Box, but I am sure I am not the only person with this observation/ question. Maybe this should be a seperate thread
I am bringing particular attention to this because of the recent spade of Mantus posts which appear to be just advertisement for the sale of their product.. They may have a good product, not sure. Their literature is not unlike the liturature presented by the other two major " new anchors" over the last few years.
Is it really appropriate for sponsoring members of Sailnet to reply to threads in a blatent advertisement of their products. Is this what we have come to? So now the advice of normal everyday sailors gets thrown in with people with special interests in making money off of the rest of us. Where are we drawing the line here? Are we saying pay enough money to sponsor Sailnet and we you will be allowed to advertise you product and shill for it in the various posted threads. Dont pay the money to Sailnet and if you use the forums to promote your product then you will be censored. Is this the direction we are going?
Understand that there is no independent testing of these products or the business practices of these companies.
I am asking the moderators to define when it is appropriate for a business, individual . company to promote their own financial self interests on here. Is it enough to make a statement that they have interest in the company? Is it defined by paying homage to Sailnet financially, is that what gets you in and makes it appropriate. Can you promote a book that you have written that you will benefit from financially? Can you promote a particular brand? Can you promote a particular repair shop, canvas maker, engine brand, line clutch, sails or sail loft? Can you promote a marina, surveyor, production line of sailboat? Will people who have had problems with the particular company be allowed to post on here against the company without fear of censorship, or does the advertising dollar the company pays to Sailnet give them immunity from people making negative comments about their products.? Will the readers of threads with negative comments about Sailnet advertisors be muzzled? Some of us still remember the Tartan debacle. This now goes to much more, now the threat of a lawsuit. This goes to credability.
It is one thing when people have used the products and make an INDEPENDENT evaluation and recommendations like Mainesail has with the anchors and various other products. He doesnt make money on them. It is another when the posters posts are being answered by the manufacturers in and effor to blatently make money. This is a dangerous direction to go. Credibility can/ will eventually be determined on here by " paid advertisements and threads. Eventually that will lead to no credibility except to the highest bidder.
This is a slippery slope allowing companies to post with our comments when their posts are nothing but blatent advertisements of their product. This has nothing to do with them answering a technical question ( which could be done in a PM)or particular issue.
I have found the continued posting of the Mantus company in almost all threads concerning anchors to be disconcerting and an obvious attempt of their company to promote their brand. Again they may have the best product since the invention of the light bulb.
Well, disclosure for everyone in case you didn't already know it. I do not work for Sailnet. All moderators are unpaid and uncompensated. Well, not true... I did get a free burgee once. I just want to make my disclosure so everyone understands there are no hidden agendas.
First, regarding Mantus: Thank you. Thank you for coming to our site and actually supporting it financially. In addition, thank you for taking the time to post in threads to help others out. I welcome your participation here.
Regarding the rules:
In general, if you are a paying advertiser, you can discuss your products here and put links, etc in your signtature. All we ask is that they openly disclose their affiliation (which Mantus has done). I believe most of us as sailors can make an educated opinion with where to spend our dollar from there.
As far as others in the trade participating here - we do not stop it. In fact, we encourage it. However, they cannot promote their wares. They cannot have links. This includes all commercial interests - even those non-sailing related. This often includes web sites where their signature links back to a site that sells things. We do our best to be fair with this as many blogs may have something for sale. We typically make that decision on one by one basis. Again, all we ask is that those involved in the marine industry post their affiliation so that anyone reading their comments can judge for themselves whether it is biased. Some do quite well with this system (ie, Bob Perry who is awesome). Others do their best to skirt the rules and often find themselves out of here (banned). I personally have never understood why some who are heavily involved in the marine industry and can really benefit out of SN don't take out an ad and instead try to skirt our rules. THe ads aren't that expensive... but I digress.
As far as what information is released - I am not sure that anything is. What information does Sailnet have about any of us? They certainly aren't giving out credit card numbers. As far as what we like, well, this is a sailing site. As far as location, google already does that and pulls your recent google searches and pastes them as advertisement. That isn't a Sailnet thing, incidentally.
Regarding the poster who did not put her affiliation in her signature, I will see what I can do about that. THat has to be done. I suspect that is an oversight on her part.
Regarding a company making claims about their product being the best ever or whatever, well, that has been going on since the cave men learned to talk and sell something. I think all of us have learned to take any company's or person's claims with a grain of salt. When Practical Sailor does its independent review, well, I will put a lot more weight into that. Until then, I will make my best educated decision, as I am sure we all do.
Regarding others coming on here to criticize a company or their product, well, that is a difficult one. We try to be fair about it. If you are simply laying out the events that happened and it is reasonable, we often let it run. If it is a, "Raymarine Sucks" kind of thread, well, we'll probably just pull it. Unfortunately and fortunately, Sailnet the forum is connected to Sailnet the store. As such, some companies like to throw out the threat of a lawsuit if anything negatively is said about them (true or not). The lawsuit is tossed at the store, not the person who made the claims. THis is because they perceive the store with the money... though the store may not even be aware of the post. The cost to fight the lawsuit is extraordinary (tens of thousands) while the benefit is almost nothing. That is why Sailnet often closes down threads disparaging companies. DOn't blame Sailnet... blame our legal system and lawyers who manipulate the system.
Hope that clears everything up.