One of the VA groups I belong to was discussing limiting sales pitches to seminars or webinars and how did members feel about it?
My response was:
I think that people who come along to promote/sell something at a list that doesn’t belong to them are being presumptous. I have a problem with it personally. You spend time building a list and then they come along and think it’s their right to pitch to that list – without having anything to do with building it in the first place.
My own opinion and probably one that’s going to cause people to feel strongly one way or another, but as a moderator of two fairly large VA forums I find it very cheeky, or perhaps rude, to assume it’s their right without asking permission of the moderator.
I try to be nice about it and email them offlist if they keep doing it, just letting them know that I’d prefer they were more involved with the group and joined in, rather than using it for promotions only. If they persist but don’t join in, I usually remove them from the list.
Another member came along and apologised as she felt the discussion was aimed at her. I responded with:
My own thoughts weren’t about you but a VA forum I moderate where one lady in particular has consistently just posted promotions for webinars and events but has not participated in any discussions of that group. So when the owner here posted that was very fresh in my mind and is something I feel strongly about. I moderate/own two VA forums with well over 1,000 VAs in each group (and only a handful are in both groups) so it does annoy me when someone joins purely just to promote. After all they gain financially when they promote events but they ask nothing of the moderator/owner for permission and do nothing to help encourage the group, build it, or nurture it.
It is good to have a discussion about this because it is something people should be mindful of and to me it is a matter of ethics too.
I might add I have emailed one VA in particular who has posted to one of the forums I manage several times promoting events but only once responded to a discussion and even then it was just to promote another event. I told her if she would participate in the discussions and join in, then the promotions would be ok but it’s not appreciated if that’s all she’s joined the group for. That was a few days ago now – no response as yet. But since the weekend has been taking place I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and wait a little while longer before deciding whether or not to remove her from the list. For now she’s on moderation.
If you belong to a forum of any type, be it a VA forum or another business forum, be mindful of the rules of that forum and who owns it or runs it. Some forums are ok for promotions and have been developed for that reason but others have been set up to help people relating to a particular theme or topic and that needs to be respected. When you’re new just lurk for a bit, read past messages and get a feel for the culture of the group and then join in and let people get to know you. Don’t start promoting from the start. If in doubt, seek permission of the moderator before posting.