What's wrong with it

Subject: What's wrong with it
From: John Gear <catalyst -at- PACIFIER -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 1995 08:48:00 PDT

Someone posts (regarding the ad placed by an employee of the company that
creates the product):

>Well, as long as it isn't a blatant promotion, I don't see what is wrong.
>It IS offered as a suggestion as apossible solution to a problem. Just
>'cause you happen to work there, so what. Anyon eelse got thoughts on this?

What's wrong is that the vast majority of us work in this field and provide
products and services that are, at least potentially, of interest to the
rest of the people (or at least we, in our interest in selling the product,
might conclude).

There are many many lists devoted to buying and selling--but there's only
one dedicated to discussing technical communications. If over 1000 of us
post just one message a month offering our "helpful little product" or
service we'll quickly render this list unusable.

The books on internet marketing (I won't help them by naming them) suggest
that people join lists and lurk about, doing nothing other than waiting for
an opportunity--however slight--to plug their product. In other words, the
people posting ads are not contributing to a community they are targeting a
market--and you are the product. The person who posted the ad acknowledged
that it was wrong--and then went ahead and did it. Why did h/she not simply
respond to the person who was looking for the information?

A good question to ask yourself before doing something is

"What are the consequences if everyone does what I'm proposing to do?"

That single question explains why non-commercial lists and groups cannot
accept advertising.

(Besides, Lori Lathrop's post mentioning the negative reviews that the
particular product earned carried a lot more credibility than any positive
mention from an employee. It's not that an employee can't really think good
things about their company's product ... but how can we tell? Advertising
is, by definition, paid communication--not impartial.)

John Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com)

The Bill of Rights--The Original Contract with America
Accept no substitutes. Beware of imitations. Insist on the genuine articles.

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