Supporting Vendors, Users, & Forum Rules

Ron Earp

Dear Forum Members, is a growing community and we’re adding many new members every day. We are now at over 5000+ members and I imagine that we’ll top 6000 members by the end of 2007. Great progress I think!<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p> takes money to keep running and this has been accomplished in the past (up until about 2004) with user donations. This method worked well and I sincerely appreciate all past and current forum supporters. Around about 2004 started to accept banner advertisements and the modest vendor banner advertisement fees made up the difference between user donations and running costs. <o:p></o:p>
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Over time the forum naturally continued to grow and as it did so did server resources, hosting fees, programming fees, software fees, and various other expenses. Not to mention the forum started to consume more of my free time to perform maintenance on the forum or to hire more serious tasks out. As the forum needs grew, so did the advertising fees to pick up the additional costs. This system worked fine and for the most part the forum finances will break even or come close to it. I’ve only been keeping track since about 2004 and it appears that we’re either +/- about $350 at the end of the year. We’re in good shape.<o:p></o:p>
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However, please be aware that would not be available to any of us if it were not for the Corporate Sponsors, the ones that have banner ads at the top of the page, and the Supporting Members (Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Lifetime), the folks with little icons by their names. And of course, all the users that make posts on a daily basis. So a hearty thanks goes out to all of these people and companies! But I feel the site should be paid for by those that profit from it, vendors of goods and services, since they gain the most out of the site being active.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p> is a very active web forum and naturally we have a relatively large number of businesses operating on the forum. Some are rather quiet and unobtrusive, others are more open, posting about their wares and placing pictures for folks to view. is the largest internet site community for GT40 owners and enthusiasts so naturally that sort of thing is going to happen. And I think that is a good thing since it allows people who might need GT40 related wares a place to find them.
However, I do not think it is fair to the forum, or supporting vendors, for non-sponsor business entities to sell wares and profit from the site without offering any monetary support for the site. Furthermore, the forum membership needs to know if the advice coming from one of these members is coming from a peer or from a vendor selling goods and services. In short, there needs to be a way to distinguish vendors from users. <o:p></o:p>
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To accomplish this goal now has two additional classes of Support Groups:<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
  • <!--[if !supportLists]-->Sponsoring Vendor – this level of support includes a banner advertisement for your business as well as a couple of other perks.
  • <!--[endif]-->Supporting Vendor – this level of vendor support allows the use of advertising in signatures and additional PM space. <o:p></o:p>
<!--[endif]-->The waving race flag will be the icon for Supporting Vendors and Sponsoring Vendors alike. Both support levels can be found on the “Support Forum” link at the top of the page. I hope this change will make Vendors visible and allow users to understand who they are conversing with more readily. I think the icons are unobtrusive and not unsightly.
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I’ve already had questions about vendors such as “How do I know if I should be in the class of “Supporting Vendors” on the site?

Well, if your posts contain text similar to:
  • “We/I offer….”
  • “We/I are proud to announce….”
  • “Have a look at what we do….”
  • “We/I can manufacture….”
  • "We've done...."
and you sell wares or services then you need to be a Vendor. Or, if most of your posts are to make users aware of things you offer, then you probably need to be a Supporting Vendor. Or, if your signature carries a by line on a company offering GT40 related services or products, then you need to be a Vendor.
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To be clear, if you are offering wares or services on then you need to become some sort of Vendor on the site. I’ll provide a warning to you after your advertising posts are made. If you do not respond then I will delete your posts advertising wares, services, or products. Continued abuse of the forum will result in your ID and posts being deleted entirely. It is simply not fair to the current Supporting Vendors that help support the site that some people continue to “sell” on the site but don’t support it in an official capacity.

There will be a couple of other minor changes as well. The “Manufacturer’s Announcements” forum will be setup so only Vendors can make posts there. Users off all types can post questions to threads that are ongoing, but it will become a area for Vendors to make announcements and inform people of wares and services. In the past anyone could post threads there, but the new forum software is working properly so it will now be possible to make this change. So, only Supporting/Sponsoring Vendors will be able to start threads in the “Manufacturer’s Announcements” forum.<o:p></o:p>
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The “Parts for Sale” area will remain free for all to use but there will be a time delay put on new users before they can post in that area. This will cut down on the “one post wonders” of folks that simply join the site just to advertise something for sale. The “Cars For Sale” area will remain as is and we’ll put a 30 day “Car For Sale Support” membership in so that people that just want to advertise a car can pay a small fee and place a car advertisement up. <o:p></o:p>
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I hope these changes will not cause any undue hardship on people. I know that there are probably a few people that will be upset at the changes. But I don’t see another way to make the forum fair to the companies that support it and keep it running with Vendor support. <o:p></o:p>
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If you have any questions at all please email me or send me a PM. I’ll try and respond as quickly as I can.<o:p></o:p>

Thanks much,
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