Forum Policies- Astroturfing

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People who try to use the forum simply to promote sites, even ESL and language sites, may find their posts get deleted and their accounts closed.   If people with sites to promote that are relevant contribute to the forum, that is fair play and we will leave the links, as long as they are not excessive.  The forum is a place for discussing language and not a free advertising platform, and if people engage with other people posting, answer questions, participate in discussions and include a link, then that seems fair enough.

If you have an ESL site, then submit it to our ESL links database, which will send you targeted traffic and is  easy for people to find.  Forums are not a particularly good way to promote a site- search engines mostly ignore them and they drop out of sight very quickly.  Forum  users tend not to click on them much unless they are directly relevant and are very quick to report them iif  they don't like them.

The 'Hey, I have just found a brilliant site I want to share with you' type of recommendation from someone who has just joined fools no one; the only people who join forums to share links are promoting sites. Regular users who know  the people in the forum may well want to  share something, and that  is completely different.  Repeated posts all linking to the same site in quick succession, or searching for posts that can be links to blog entries, then offering not much more than a link are also unpopular.

This may seem unfair and unfriendly, but if your sole purpose for joining the forum is to post links, then why should we be particularly friendly?  The site being promoted may have an ESL connection, but if it's advertising you're after, buy advertising.  If there's  nothing on the page for our members, then it won't stay up for long. 

A couple of days ago, someone on behalf of a well-known TEFL training group came in and posted a number of links.  I deleted them and submitted the data to the spam service we use.  The owner might think that harsh as we're an ESL site, but if he's paying someone to do no more than post links over and over again to his courses on ESL  forums, he is no different from the current wedding dress spam that we're getting.

Categories: Editorial Policies

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