> My question: Does the Netiquette against commercial intrusion need to stand
> as an absolute rule - provided that a post is not spam, is specifically of
> interest to a particular List, and only makes reference to an advertisement
> elsewhere on the Net?
> If there's a consensus of strong opinion that the answer is YES, that's
> fine. I'm just hoping to start some vigorous but unemotional dialogue on
> the subject among those who might be able to recognized the validity of
> several points of view.
The problem with letting even posts like the one you made through is this:
they're not annoying and probably a service when a couple of people that
otherwise are normal participants in the list make them infrequently.
However, the danger is in extending that to the general business public.
For example, on one of the music lists I run one of the list members, one
of the more active participants, publishes a small magazine. He's posted
an ad or two for the magazine, and the contents of the issue relate
directly to the subject of the list, and I'm probably gonna send him a
couple of bucks for the magazine. So I don't really mind.
If, on the other hand, cdnow.com sent in an ad saying they have products
available, even ones of direct interest to the list, I would object as the
message is comming from a non-participant in the list and that opens
things up to any company that wants to using my list for advertising. An
ad is an ad even if the ad is just giving the URL to the real ad.
I run a list for pennsylvania attorneys that is just starting up, and to
be honest I would really hate it and would probably shut down the thing if
we started getting short, respectful ads from Westlaw, Lexis, local court
reporting agencies, medical report agencies, legal software providers,
So the exception I would give is much smaller than yours. And there is
no way I would allow any kind of ad from a nonlistmember. I've places
send me ads as listowner and allow me to decide if I want to forward it on
to the list or not, and that approach I don't mind.