Product Reference RulesIf you offer items for sale, you can’t market them outside of the classifieds. This applies regardless of the type of items you sell, pen-related or not, whether or not you advertise in our classifieds, and whether or not you sell directly or through distributors. If you stand to make money if someone buys a product you discuss or show, these rules apply to you.
The intent of these rules is two-fold: 1) to allow you reference your products in forum discussions, without encouraging threads to turn into billboards for competing products or back-and-forth jabs between vendors, and 2) to limit the amount of blatant advertising occurring outside the classified forums, while enabling members to get helpful answers to their questions about products directly from the source.
Lest you think these rules are too restrictive, please remember that 1) you can advertise in our classifieds for very reasonable rates, and 2) within our Acceptable Use Policy guidelines, you can mention, link to, and brag about your products in your signature block. That’s free advertising every time you make a post. Please indulge us as we try to keep our forum reasonably free of advertising outside forums designed for that purpose.
- You can participate in threads in the general forums where your products are being discussed, provide helpful advice, and respond to most questions about them.
- Outside of the Marketplace*, you cannot respond to a question such as “where can I buy X” with anything such as “I sell it”, or “ABC has them” when you own or are in any way affiliated with ABC, it's owners, employees, or officers.
- Outside of the Marketplace*, you cannot post links to products on your external web site, an advertisement thread at IAP, prices, product numbers, or any other piece of information that would lead the potential buyer to purchase from you. Let your previous happy customers or your signature block do the talking.
Keep in mind that we don’t tolerate shill postings. If we ever find that you have enlisted the cooperation of another member to strategically mention your products whenever someone asks about something you sell, or starts threads so you have the opportunity to discuss your products, you and the offending member will be permanently ejected from the forum.
Finally, if you are participating in a thread where your product and competing products are being discussed, keep it civil. The mission of the IAP is fellowship, education, and fun, not to provide a venue for the sale of products. As this is primarily an education site, calm discussion between vendors is encouraged, but hostile banter is strictly prohibited.
Posting in Show Off Your Pens
If you are a vendor, and you make your own pens from your own product, feel free to post your work in our Show Off Your Pens forum. You may tastefully identify your materials and indicate that you sell them, but you may not direct people to your web site or IAP ad, or post links, catalog numbers, or prices. (A tasteful reference would be: “Made using my Sweet Sparkles Blank.”) The idea is simple; we want to see your nice pens, we want to know you sell the stuff so we can make similarly nice pens, but SOYP is not your product catalog. Leave a week between posting a pen in SOYP and offering the same thing in the classifieds or vice versa.