How are you dealing with vendors?

Bram

Well-known member
This has been doing my head in for a while. How are you fellow admins dealing with vendors on your forums.

We have a dedicated section on our boards for people to discuss hardware. A sticky is posted to ask people to refrain from commercial outings and if they wish to advertise products they can reach out to the site management for a banner campaign instead (let's be honest, earnings should be made on both sides then).

Of course this sticky gets ignored and I don't have the resources to moderate thousands of such threads. I am looking for another solution and I am looking for other experiences.

Do you let vendors purchase access to an extra usergroup (x money per month) so they can have a dedicated thread for their goods (do you create a seperate forum for it?). Do you harshly remove such posts (which I have done so far)? Or do you have an entire other options.

Happy to hear your solutions people.
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Do you let vendors purchase access to an extra usergroup (x money per month) so they can have a dedicated thread for their goods (do you create a seperate forum for it?). Do you harshly remove such posts (which I have done so far)? Or do you have an entire other options.

Yes exactly this.

They purchase what we call a Commercial account. We have a forum called Product Announcements and to post there they need that usergroup.

We also encourage regular users to report commercial posts that are made surrepticiously within other forums or snuck into threads. This works because the users do not like over-commercialistaion of the forum and the special commercial accounts are tolerated as they can see the banner and know these vendors are paying their way and helping as sponsors.
 

Sim

Well-known member
We have a strict no self promotion / no commercial posts policy on PropertyChat - and our users appreciate keeping the commercial content off the site and are quick to point out users breaking the rules. We allow our business members to promote themselves in very specific limited ways (commercial signature block / service provider directory / etc).

It's probably a little different to a hardware forum, since presumably the point for many people is to identify hardware they wish to purchase to improve their setup and so they won't necessarily complain about vendor posts (unless it becomes spurious / spam-like). While on a property forum, you get people trying to sell our members services they don't necessarily want or need (and are often very expensive - tens of thousands of dollars) - eg property managers / buyers agents / solicitors and conveyancers / mortgage brokers / property developers / builders / town planners / architects / quantity surveyors etc.

Interestingly, the one thing we rarely get is people trying to sell property on the site!

Our business membership costs over $1K per year - but the value is still there, for most of them just a single new client per year will more than cover that cost and any more above that is pure profit.

I do spend a lot of my time policing commercial posts - including tracking business users via my CRM that I have integrated into the forum. It's not just a matter of letting the moderators deal with it either - I don't want to punish users trying to post commercial content - I want to upsell them on membership, while also making sure they don't break the rules, which requires a more delicate touch.

I have a lot of pre-written warnings which are in the form of "warning + upsell" along the lines of "you did this, which is against the rules, so you post has been edited/deleted - but if you upgraded to a business membership, you could do X, Y and Z instead".

If you're actually making good money out of your vendors, you can justify the time spent on managing them - but if the volume of posts is high and the value of your upgraded membership is low - I can see it being a challenge to justify the time it will take, unless you can automate as much of the process as possible and somehow educate people to do the right thing.
 

Bram

Well-known member
Awesome feedback guys, thanks!

If we set up such a subforum where commercial vendors can post does xenforo allow to end posting rights when a business membership runs out, can threads be locked automatically by the system or is this a manual process you closely monitor

If not, how do you guys manage this?

Really appreciate your insights here!
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
Yes:

AdminCP >> Users >> User upgrades

Expires when the subscription period runs out.

There are also addons from @AndyB that will send out automatic warnings to members that a subscription will soon expire or that it has expired.
 
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