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Referral Links





Scorpio
I may be completely be missing the point here, but could I get an official clarification as to why referral links are not allowed on users' signatures or posts?

Thanks
saratdear
I brought the same thing about 2 months ago - and the response from you, Scorpio was
Quote:

Since frihost does not put ads on your websites, let us do the same and not put ads on it.

That was a very wise explanation, but I agree I too would like to see a rule about allowing referral links.
The general problem is of course spam. If it is allowed, people would abuse it to eternity.
Scorpio
saratdear wrote:
I brought the same thing about 2 months ago - and the response from you, Scorpio was
Quote:

Since frihost does not put ads on your websites, let us do the same and not put ads on it.

That was a very wise explanation, but I agree I too would like to see a rule about allowing referral links.
The general problem is of course spam. If it is allowed, people would abuse it to eternity.


The answer sounded kinda nice.. Wink

Apart from the spam of course, referral links are not going to cut into Frihost's earnings any way.

CPC or CPM ads can be forbidden on frihost.
But links like those to getfirefox or some other service like Text Link ads can be allowed. In these links people get benefits only on signing up or downloading something.
Of course, adult stuff can be forbidden as well

To prevent abuse, people with more than certain number of posts and who have been here for a certain period of time would only have the permission to put up referral links.
saratdear
And, you could also make it like this :- Have an option in the Account page to get an application to allow referral links. While submitting the application, the user should specify what type of referral links he is going to put up, etc.

To stop all the spam (atleast to a certain extent), referral links could be allowed only in signatures too.
Animal
The problem with referral links is that they become a serious spam problem. People start putting them in every post they make in an attempt to make more money / get more benefit. You end up with "competitions" where users try to get their referrals in the most prominent locations, and it really becomes unmanageable.

For example, one user posts a referral link that two users sign up with. They in turn get their referral links onto the forum and try to get them "in front" of the one they used. The original poster re-posts his referral to try to keep the benefit coming along, but more users have signed up and are using their referral links as well... It would simply spiral out of control, and most large boards have banned referrals in posts for this very reason.

From our point of view, monitoring and keeping on top of the referral link systems would become a full time job. The objection to referrals isn't solely because of any revenue we may lose - it's from a moderating and administrating point of view. There are several non-monetary referral systems around (such as spreadfirefox etc), but again we would need to know which of these systems are likely to cause problems or not. From a staffing point of view, it is far easier to simply have a blanket ban on referral links.

So that's the real reason. We also like to say that "We don't put ads on your site, so please don't put ads on ours" because this really is a fair point. Frihost offers some excellent services to our members and all that we ask is that you post on the forum and stick to the rules that we have given - the no referral links is just one of these rules. We would appreciate it if the users all respected that.
saratdear
But you could, as I said in my previous post, allow referral links maybe only in signatures, and maybe (if only maybe) in the Websites section. And take a very serious view towards users who break this. (Like a ban after 2-3 rule-breaks)
Animal
saratdear wrote:
But you could, as I said in my previous post, allow referral links maybe only in signatures, and maybe (if only maybe) in the Websites section.

I see your point. However, this becomes harder to monitor, new users won't necessarily understand that the links are only allowed in certain places and there would be a general increase in "disallowed" referrals all over the forum. From Frihost's point of view, we don't get any benefit by allowing users to place referrals on the forum, but if we do so, it will increase the amount of work and tidying up that we need to do.

saratdear wrote:
And take a very serious view towards users who break this. (Like a ban after 2-3 rule-breaks)

We already take this extremely seriously. Users have been banned for posting referral links after receiving one warning - this perhaps shows that Bondings is very much against allowing users to post referrals on the forum.
Scorpio
I do totally understand the point. It is indeed a difficult job to moderating these things in addition to the usual rule breaking.

Let me suggest some ground rules for the referral links.

1. Only users with above 1000 posts are eligible -> Only the dedicated few have more than 1000 posts. People who have over 1000 posts probably dont spam on purpose or dont spam at all.

Also they are reliable since they would have been with frihost for a reasonable amount of time.

2. No. of referral links in a signature can be restricted to 2 [within signature size limits]

3. Referral links in posts can only be posted by the eligible users [> 1000 posts] and only in the 1st post of the thread [by the thread starter]

4. No referral links is allowed in other posts in any thread by anybody.
This effectively means you can put up a referral link only if you start a thread advertising a service.

5. Duplicate threads about the same services [simply to post referral links] will be forbidden.

More rules can be added if necesary

But the rule to allow only members with >1000 posts would curtail most spam.

Now we have around 45 users including mods and admins with >1000 posts. So controlling spam wont be a problem.
No senior user would willingly jeopardise his position with frihost to gain almost nothing/

Please do consider this Bondings. Smile [/list][/list]
Animal
We obviously need to wait to see what Bondings says, however I can't see your suggestions working.

There is no way to use any form of automated service to "allow" users to post referral links based on qualifications such as post count. Users would see others placing referral links on the forum and would post their own - this would therefore mean a massive amount of extra work for the staff, so I really doubt this would be allowed.

I would be willing to bet that no referral links will ever be allowed in posts for the reasons I outlined above, so the only potential change to the rule might be in regard to users signatures. However, we would then certainly get into the situation where users would be posting saying "click the link in my sig for more details".

Like I said, Bondings will need to make a judgement on this, but as I mentioned above:
Animal wrote:
From Frihost's point of view, we don't get any benefit by allowing users to place referrals on the forum, but if we do so, it will increase the amount of work and tidying up that we need to do

So IMO, I don't think that referral links would/should be allowed.
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