A site visitor was curious and pondered:
I posted a commercial link to several groups. Seeing the majority of group posts lead to a commercial site, I presumed my action to be okay. The next day I received an email threatening to report me to my ISP and called me a f______ idiot. A second emailer suggested I do a search on netiquette. That’s how I ended up here! I do not understand how my post is spam. Please help me.
Well, I guess you’ve found out the hard way to not assume, right? Just because you see others doing certain things online doesn’t make it okay. Without knowing which group or what discussion thread you are speaking about of course I cannot comment about the specifics of your situation. However, pointing to a commercial site that is on topic with the conversation at hand is acceptable – if done properly.
For example, one doesn’t want to just post about their site which has snow boarding supplies when the group is discussing winter health issues. But if you have winter health issue information, you can provide that and have a link to your snowboarding site in your signature file. And, if someone asked if anyone knew of a site with snow boarding supplies or posted questions about snow boarding equipment, you could then pipe in and humbly point to your site. Note humbly…
That’s how most folks learn – they end up at this site and then can avoid these sensitive issues in the future. That means everyone, including you, enjoys themselves more too!
I do cover spam in detail here on my Blog:
In my various articles I talk about how emailing/posting of anything you gain from commercially is a no-no unless specifically asked for. I also cover this in my Internet 101 area from being a lurker for awhile to knowing exactly what is acceptable.
Posting of anything commercial in nature that was not asked for is spam. If your site did not specifically apply to the exact topic being discussed you will be perceived as a spammer. When you get called out for this just be humble and apologize if you want to continue to be part of that group.
I also have an article that covers Message Board and Forum Tips which apply to groups too.
Each group has their own rules, guidelines or Charter which will discuss how commercial links are handled. You would want to review that information before you post. Many folks will have commercial links for their company or business website in their signature file after their name – that is acceptable if not over done. However, to just post a link to a your site – well that is asking for trouble.
Also, if you ever post a link to a commercial site you are in no way affiliated with that did apply to the conversation at hand, it will always behoove you to state “I’m not affiliated with this site but it may be what you are looking for”.
So, don’t worry – just don’t do it again, review the above links and all will be well. We all make mistakes. 😉