tea123 said

Discussion rule #9 - Tea companies starting new forum topics promoting their products

Since we are into a new year I thought we could consider the following forum rule:

9) If you’re a tea company, please do not start new forum topics about your products or promotions. Feel free to post replies where relevant, but anything overly self-promotional will be removed. Also, don’t rate your own teas because of the (obvious) conflict of interest. It’s misleading and everyone will figure it out anyways – you’ll turn away the very customers you’re trying to attract.

Is it me or is this rule just being completely ignored?

16 Replies
Ken said

I think they want them to use one topic per company. This is convenient because it keeps clutter down and lets us know when a sale is running.

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tperez said

Huh, I didn’t know that was one of the rules… The ratings thing is obvious, but I don’t see why companies shouldn’t be able to post about promotions as long as they aren’t spammy about it.

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I’d like to hear Jason’s input on this. Why would we want to limit how tea companies participate on Steepster, as long as they aren’t spamming?

I’m also curious what brought about this post. I do agree that tea companies shouldn’t rate their own teas.

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AJ said

There’s an entire subforum just for company promotions, but the unspoken rule’s always been one post per company, which you update as needed. Things have changed a bit over the past 8 years, and it’s likely the ruleset hasn’t been properly appended. #7 asks not to sell anything without permission, but people start cupboard-sale threads all the time.

The rating thing still stands, though. I still occasionally see companies do it and it annoys the crap out of me.

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AllanK said

I personally have no problem with tea companies starting new threads about their products. I do agree they should not give a numerical rating to their teas. Many companies start threads about their products. Many to announce new sales. They are welcome to try to win my business. That being said I do not like to see companies making outlandish claims or posting obviously untrue things about their teas. Claims that a tea has some sort of great healing effect will generally put me off unless it has valid facts to back it up such as a seller of peppermint tea saying it is good for your digestive tract or something like that. Tea claims to cure disease I regard as spam at best. There was one company that always started new threads but may have given up. No one ever responded to their threads. Maybe they didn’t make any sales. They did come across as selling average tea at best.

“I personally have no problem with tea companies starting new threads about their products. "

Neither do I, Allan, but there is a subforum specifically for this and I do mind that General Discussions seem to become more commercial. What’s wrong with keeping the sales-talk to the proper forum so people who just want to talk tea can choose not to be bombarded by (more or less covert) advertising?

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I’ve definitely always interpreted that rule as a “one thread per company” sort of thing, like what Ken said.

I don’t really have any issue with that, and personally I don’t mind a company starting multiple threads if they’re for completely unrelated topics. I don’t mean something to the effect of “ABC-Tea’s Boxing Day Sale” is one thread and “ABC-Tea’s New Year’s Sale” is a separate one but something more like “ABC-Tea’s Sale Thread (Updated as needed)” and “ABC-Tea Is Looking To Expand Into White Tea This Year: What product would you be interested in us carrying?”. Or something to that effect, anyway.

But again – would definitely be interested in hearing Jason’s thoughts/the intended purpose of the rule.

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Dustin said

1. I don’t see why this is an issue. Looking at the discussion board, I really don’t see an abundance of threads started by companies that are taking away from general discussions. Many of them start conversations that members participate in.
2. Spammers trying to sell travel agent services to India and other random wares are much more annoying and bothersome to the overall feel of the forum than a company talking about tea.
3. It takes manpower to manage the forum, beat back spammers and enforce rules. I don’t think the site has that resource and I would much prefer that the spammers be addressed than rules that most don’t seem to care about.
4. The fact that companies come to the site and engage with their customer base is actually pretty cool. It’s great for the customer and for the company. I’d hate to see that discouraged.
5. If companies rate their own teas, it looks bad on them which pretty much solves the problem. They are only hurting themselves.

Dr Jim said

I agree. I don’t see the company posts as excessive, and are often informative. I particularly like the new company announcements or sale announcements. There are probably a few companies that push the limit, but that is in part because they seem to have a strong connection to Steepster.

Dustin said

There are several companies that I likely would have looked over if they hadn’t been so much a part of the community or wouldn’t have tried if I didn’t know about a special they were having. I can’t imagine lovely tea without thinking of Butiki and Stacy being active here definitely made it more of a personal experience.

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“Is it me or is this rule just being completely ignored?”

It is not you. Steepster (and most of the online tea community at large) is turning into a commercial marketing platform for Scott Wilson-wannabies. I recently counted how many threads on the first page in “General Discussion” that was from people selling shit and it turned out to be half of them (not counting spams).

Yes I am being a little bit facetious, but not that much.

(Funny how there are a group of posters always ready to roll in and defend this commercialization whenever it comes up in a thread. Why, it’s almost like they have an incentive to do so!)

I have no incentive and I don’t appreciate what you’re implying. Jason – can we get some input? Seems this thread is going downhill.

Well, that hit a nerve, apparently.

Dustin said

Funny how the people most critical seem to be newer members to the site. What is their incentive for that? Maybe they haven’t been here long enough to see some of the smaller companies grow with input from the community and appreciate their involvement. If the online tea community at large is disappointing to you, maybe you need to start your own site that fits your desires. ¯\(ツ)

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YatraTeaCo said

I’ve posted on Steepster a few times about sales and promotions at my company. I’ve probably started a new topic each time I’ve posted to highlight the sale. For a fledgling venture like mine, getting the word out on forums such as this is key to growing.

Personally, I don’t see a flood of activity from companies. But I think having one topic per vendor for sales and promotions, updated from time to time, is the way to go. That’s what I intend to do in the new year.

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tea123 said

I see there are some interesting thoughts so far about this forum rule.
It appears that people are interpreting the rule differently. I read “If you’re a tea company, please do not start new forum topics about your products or promotions” as not creating a thread and had not considered that it might mean not creating multiple threads. Perhaps this need considering for clarification.

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