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IBMWR Legal

The IBMWR Advertising & Commercial Use FAQ

 

INTRODUCTION

This FAQ will hopefully acquaint you with our restrictions on the use of the IBMWR mailing list and website when it comes to advertising and commercial use. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask and I will respond as quickly as possible. It may seem quite restrictive, but remember that this is a free forum for the free exchange of information and fellowship, and that not only do many/most members have to pay for their Internet e-mail, there is a large team of volunteers that spend a lot of time making sure the list is running properly.

Q: What the heck do you mean by 'Commercial Use?"

A: Commercial use is basically any use that gives or derives a financial benefit. Examples range from someone selling an extra oil filter o-ring to a fly-by-night company selling instructions on how to make $50,000 in one month.

Q: What the heck do you mean by 'Advertising?"

A: Advertising is basically any use that profers or requests a good or service. Examples range from asking for donations for a non-profit organization to announcing a new mail list or message board.

Q: Why should there be any restrictions on this type of use, after all it is easy just to hit the delete key.

A: This goes far deeper then the liberal use of the delete key to thin out Helmet Law and Synthetic v. Dino oil posts. The IBMWR mailing list & website are free for all who wish to partake and many people give generously in time and money to make sure the list stays that way. Taking advantage of that by trying to "free-ride" for personal or commercial benefit is abusive and incredibly disrespectful. Allowing unrestricted commercial or advertising access to the list would not only be a slap in the face to the volunteers, it would quickly lead to Usenet-type of flood of unrelated ads and in all likelihood significantly alter the free and open character of the IBMWR. Remember that the list is free and open, but abusers can and will be barred from participating.

Q: OK, so advertising and commercial use are restricted but not banned.  What are the guidelines?

A: Glad you asked! I have listed several of the most common uses and whether or not they are permissible. Note that slack has been extended to people that contribute a great deal to the list. So far, the dealers that contribute the most have never had a need for it. As always, if you have a question, please ask! Please note that the BMWMOA list was set up to discuss the BMWMOA only, and no advertising in any form whatsoever is permitted.

  • I am selling my bike.  OK, the proper method is to announce it once to the list and then advertise the bike in the IBMWR Marketplace. You may want to drop another note to the list after a week or more. In no circumstance should you post more than two times, and never within the same week. Repeated ads, especially buried in cute or inane posts, are incredibly annoying.
  • I am selling something on Cycletrader, eBay, Yahoo! Auctions, etc. Posts pointing people to your items for sale on other sites are expressly forbidden!
  • I am not a dealer, but I make goods and or provide services to BMW riders and would like to let people know about it.  Now we are starting to tread on tricky ground. You can place your information in the sig line of your posts as long as the purpose of the post is not to simply display the sig line. Also, no 10-line sig files please, internet custom is 4 lines with anything over 5 considered excessive. Abuse of this provision will not be tolerated. Tim Bond, a long-time IBMWR Prez who repairs and straightens motorcycle wheels, has exemplified proper use by offering informative answers and advice to almost every wheel-related question posted with but a brief mention of his service and website in his sig line.
  • Wait a minute, someone asked on the list about a part or service I provide. Can't I send a post to the list telling everyone about my products and services? No. Post privately to the person who asked about the part or service and let them tell the list if they wish. Objective reviews of others' parts and service are always welcome, advertisements are simply not allowed.
  • I am starting this fantastic new mail list/website/message board, can't I use your list to promote it? No. If it is motorcycle specific, say a model-specific mail list, you can post a SINGLE announcement. We have a whole page of these websites and mail lists available on the IBMWR website, notify one of the Admins and we will add yours. Other than that, as with the example given above, you can place the information in the sig line of your posts as long as the purpose of the post is not to simply display the sig line. Also, no 10-line sig files please, internet custom is 4 lines with anything over 5 considered excessive. Abuse of this provision will not be tolerated.
  • I am a dealer and I want to post to the list about my new website and some things I have for sale. Well, now we are on really tricky ground! Several dealers maintain a presence on the IBMWR list, including Kari Prager of Cal-BMW, and Bill Shaw and Steve Anderson of Morton's BMW. All have shown great restraint in posting commercial messages. You will occasionally see a message about a free open house, or a free group ride sponsored by these dealers. Because they give a perspective unavailable to the list were they not frequently posting informative replies to legitimate questions their infrequent announcements are welcome. Not welcome would be a dealer that participated in the list solely to advertise or promote his or her business, more than infrequently posted regarding free events, or at any time advertised his or her products and services. As above, small sig lines are welcome in good faith answers to legitimate posts. BTW, having a list member pass along such information to circumvent these reasonable restrictions not only violates the spirit of them, it shows a great disregard for those that keep the list alive. Please note that while one-time announcements for free open houses, free weekend rides and the like are welcomed, announcements for paid events (whether for a good cause or not) are strictly forbidden.
  • I run a Motorcycle Touring Company and I want to let everyone know about an incredible opportunity to tour the alps. Forget it, take out ads in the leading touring magazines. Unsolicited advertisements of this nature are expressly forbidden. (Phew, finally a simple one! :)
  • I sell camping gear and I wanted to let your members know about our spring tent sale. First of all, non-IBMWR members may never make commercial posts of any type whatsoever to the list. This includes those who would subscribe to the list simply to send such a post.
    Period.
    Second, re-read the first part of this section.
  • I have the secret for making $50,000 in two weeks by working at home for no more than an hour a day. Well, this will in all likelihood earn the sender and his ISP hundreds and hundreds of megabytes of Digests sent from better T-1 & T-3 lines everywhere with notes to carefully examine the enclosed files for any sign whatsoever that such a blatantly ridiculous ad would be welcome on this mailing list.
  • Well, what I want to do doesn't really fall into any of these categories. That is an easy on, simply ask the IBMWR list administrators!

Q: I am not happy to hear about all of these restrictions, I am online because I heard about what a great business opportunity it is.

A: And it still is, as long as you properly use the medium. First, get a website. Remember however that a badly written website can often do more harm than no website at all. Check the other websites out there so you can get a good idea of what you want BEFORE you hire someone to put a site together for you. Having reasonable expectations of what a site will do for you helps :) Second, send the address of your new website to search engines, or a free submittal service like Submit It!. Lastly, lurk a while before posting anything to see how others similarly situated that advantage of the Internet without abusing it. As always, feel free to contact the IBMWR List Administrators at any time should you have any doubt about the appropriateness of a post.

Q: I have this great idea for a product or service...would it be OK for me to subscribe so I could cull list members' e-mail addresses in order to send them Spam? I mean, I am not spamming the list, so that would be OK right?

A: No, that is not OK. The IBMWR has a trade right to the e-mail addresses specifically for that very reason. Believe it or not, this actually happened!

Q: So you are saying that if I want to sell anything I can't really come right out and say so, and that I will even have to contribute free information and advice to the list just to make a brief commercial mention in my sig file?

A: You are right sir! Advertising may be a necessary evil on TV and the Radio, but most of us must pay every month to have e-mail. There are places on the internet where you can advertise to your heart's content, but on the IBMWR list it is quite restricted, and heartily discouraged. Further, remember that no direct advertising in any form whatsoever is permitted on the BMWMOA list.

Q: Oh well, what are you going to do... Sue me?

A: Probably not. What we will do is take aggressive action not necessarily limited to making sure you no longer have access to this forum.


To inquire about this FAQ or any portions located herein, please contact Ted Verrill at esquireted@admin.ibmwr.org. ANY requests to reproduce IBMWR material should be addressed to Joe Senner at joe@admin.ibmwr.org.

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