Link Posting in Forum Boards

(Rebecca Braglio) #1

In a bit of a debate:

Do you allow any link posting in your community forum boards? In our professional community, we prohibit links that are self-promotional (like to their blogs) or advertisements

We’ve tried to draw a bright line and just say that unless a member specifically asks for it, you can’t post a link to something (like a deal, or advertisements, article off site).

Do you allow this?

(rhogroupee) #2

I’ve seen a lot of communities set aside a specific forum for “promotions.” That allows members to support each others’ businesses, while not clogging up the main topics. You could also consider restricting posting in that forum to only members who have reached a certain level of trust on the site.

(Sarah Hawk) #3

I think that it depends on the type of community and the nature of the links.
At UXMastery we allow links (including self-promotional links) provided they directly answer a question that has been asked (and not in a post that has been dredged up from years ago). I make a judgement call based on intent. If someone is an active and engaged member of the community, then it’s fine. If they’re there just to post links, then it’s not.

(Jason Royce) #4

I would also add that the content of the link should be in the spirit of your community and not in conflict with your brand values.

(Nick Emmett) #5

I wouldn’t have a problem with it as long as the post is relevant to the discussion. Blatant advertising of products or services isn’t on, but for people posting their own blog posts etc, like I say, rather than simply being self-promotional (which definitely comes into it) there is a relevance factor for sure.

(ForumSentinel) #6

We don’t allow obvious promotional posts with a link (especially no posts to competing vendors or sites with inappropriate content). However, I don’t have any issue with other links posted in user signatures. As long as they don’t promote it and it doesn’t violate the written rules, if a user chooses to click the link of their own volition, I’ll leave that to them.

(DavidDiGiovanni) #7

I appreciate this policy. If you have a huge problem with spam, then banning links outright makes sense. Otherwise it just seems lazy to me. If someone has legitimate info to share, then they should be able to share it.

(Michael Howard) #8

The automatic banning of links in first posts would make a lot of sense.
We have a guideline that says, ‘No adverts, promotions or spam’ - and we have a Noticeboard area for relevant stuff. We’re ok with regulars posting useful links.

(Darren Gough) #9

We had a zero tolerance policy on it at first, mainly as people used our powerful SEO and audience to spam.

We did have a concession board for affiliates/referrals, but we were advertising free. Helped keep our integrity as a consumer champion, but that was particular to our brand ethos.

I don’t much like them as I inherently mistrust why they are doing it. I’d never actually buy from a link in a forum (unless it was something like an approved link from the moderation team) so they don’t have much merit for me.

(Sue John) #10

We did not allow members to post any self-promotional links at all, but members were allowed to add a link to their forum signature. Often this spurred them on to make more posts, in order to get more eyes on said signature. But there’s a fine line between sharing helpful information, and just posting for postings sake. However, it was seen as a benefit for long term members.

New members were not allowed to add anything to their signature until they had been a member for a certain amount of time, and had made a certain amount of posts (and by posts I don’t mean one word posts or “I agree posts.”)

Alternatively, we also offered a “Connections” section where long term members could ask for, and share, information about their business/products/services, as well as tips and ideas. Members had to have had a certain amount of posts in order to utilitise this forum.

There’s something to be said for offering different level of members, different privileges, it can help reward those who contribute constructively to the community. EG a long-term member can have different needs to a new member.

(Darren McKay) #11

There’s some well-reasoned responses above.

The only thing I would add is very seriously consider NOT banning links to competitors. I have seen this enforced, both programatically and manually before. It looks very petty to restrict your community from linking to others that operate in the same niche as you.