Should "shilling" via referral links be allowed by BLF members????

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FlashPilot
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Should "shilling" via referral links be allowed by BLF members????
Yes, I love the idea and think everyone should do it, no matter what.
6% (5 votes)
Yes, but only if the shill announces that their links will add benefit to themselves.
26% (23 votes)
I dont give a darn either way... get a life and lets talk more about flashlights and sexy girls.
34% (30 votes)
No, shilling is a sneaky unethical act and rude to the members of this forum.
27% (24 votes)
Lets melt down all of our flashlights to create the worlds largest pyramid!
7% (6 votes)
Total votes: 88
Edited by: Anonymous (not verified) on 08/14/2012 - 14:26
FlashPilot
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Several comments have recently been generated in regards to our members posting embedded referral links. This has created considerable skepticism. How it works: basically, the member will post a link to a product, and embed a personal code in that link that gives them a potential for a reward through the vendor for referring a customer to the product.

BLF members have been accused of engaging in the act of "shilling" for not mentioning that clicking their links might benefit them without your knowledge. Some feel very strongly that this activity degrades the image of BLF while others do not.

It is important to note that the vendors advertise and encourage their customers to utilize their referral programs because it can potentially bring more business through additional sales to them. The issue of concern for many members is that the referral links posted on BLF are done so without disclosure, that the embedded codes are hidden in the link to benefit that individual.

Shill - Excerpt from Wikipedia:

A shill, plant or stooge is a person who helps a person or organization without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with that person or organization. Shill typically refers to someone who purposely gives onlookers the impression that he or she is an enthusiastic independent customer of a seller (or marketer of ideas) that he or she is secretly working for. The person or group that hires the shill is using crowd psychology, to encourage other onlookers or audience members to purchase the goods or services (or accept the ideas being marketed). Shills are often employed by confidence artists. Plant and stooge more commonly refer to any person who is secretly in league with another person or organization while pretending to be neutral or actually a part of the organization he or she is planted in, such as a magician's audience, a political party, or an intelligence organization (see double agent).

Auctioneer and assistants, Cheviot, Ohio

Shilling is illegal in many circumstances and in many jurisdictions[1] because of the frequently fraudulent and damaging character of the shill's actions. However, if a shill does not place uninformed parties at a risk of loss, but merely generates "buzz", the shill's actions may be legal. For example, a person planted in an audience to laugh and applaud when desired (see claque), or to participate in on-stage activities as a "random member of the audience", is a type of legal shill.

"Shill" can also be used pejoratively to describe a critic who appears either all-too-eager to heap glowing praise upon mediocre offerings, or who acts as an apologist for glaring flaws. In this sense, they would be an implicit "shill" for the industry at large, possibly because their income is tied to its prosperity. The origin of the term shill is uncertain; it may be an abbreviation of shillaber. The word originally denoted a carnival worker who pretended to be a member of the audience in an attempt to elicit interest in an attraction. Some sources trace the usage only back to 1914.

Chicago X
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There's talk about sexy girls here?  It appears I've been hanging in the wrong forum.

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

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FlashPilot
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Its just that Mr. Admin hasnt yet gotten around to creating the proper category for such a thing. Im sure it'll happen soon enough though.

Chicago X
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I would opine that the referral process is not the problem. I would actually encourage those interested to put their referral code or codes in their sig line, and give the purchaser the option of including it as a 'thanks' for the info.

I would gladly give all of my referral points to those who contribute to the knowledge base. 

To acquire points in the current manner reeks of, for lack of a better word, sneaky.

 

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

War Dogs, Making it Home - Rescue Dogs for Returning Vets

Pantaloonie
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I voted 'I don't give a darn', mostly because I don't.

It costs me nothing to buy through a referal link, and I'm well aware of it simply by looking at the url.

If it bothers you that much, you can just remove the referal link from the end of the url.

I can understand how some might see it as sneaky if it is not announced, but to be honest, there are more important things in life to worry about.

fran82
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Pantaloonie wrote:

It costs me nothing to buy through a referal link, and I'm well aware of it simply by looking at the url.

If it bothers you that much, you can just remove the referal link from the end of the url.

I can understand how some might see it as sneaky if it is not announced, but to be honest, there are more important things in life to worry about.

 

I agree with that. You have left me without words. Specially about the fact that "there are more important things in life to worry about."

Some members see a problem where there is not a problem.

 

Simply as that: referrals doesnt cost anything to the person who buy.

What do you prefer?

If you dont use referrals, the company will have even more "gain".

This post/thread "may" contain referrals, a little contribution I "earn" in form of points ONLY if you buy the item. The purpose is to redeem items using the points and then making reviews of them in the forums to shar

Chicago X
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I would expect your position, as you are likely one of the top offenders/shills.

fran82 wrote:
Simply as that: referrals doesnt cost anything to the person who buy.

That is similar to saying that your shoplifting costs me nothing, which is untrue.

http://wardogsmakingithome.org/index.html

War Dogs, Making it Home - Rescue Dogs for Returning Vets

Tas62
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If these 'referrals' aren't being done at the expense of other members I can't see a real problem. If you have a moral objection...don't click on those links (Works for me).

M3TAL_L0RD
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Yeah, don't click any fran82's links Big Smile

 

Chicago X wrote:

I would opine that the referral process is not the problem. I would actually encourage those interested to put their referral code or codes in their sig line, and give the purchaser the option of including it as a 'thanks' for the info.

I would gladly give all of my referral points to those who contribute to the knowledge base. 

To acquire points in the current manner reeks of, for lack of a better word, sneaky.

 

+1

_the_
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Chicago X wrote:

That is similar to saying that your shoplifting costs me nothing, which is untrue.

Shoplifting doesn't create more sales for the seller, referrals do. So it's actually quite opposite.

=the=

 

FlashPilot
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Chicago X wrote:

I would expect your position, as you are likely one of the top offenders/shills.

fran82 wrote:
Simply as that: referrals doesnt cost anything to the person who buy.

That is similar to saying that your shoplifting costs me nothing, which is untrue.

I dont care either way, but lets keep our perspective factual. The resellers create the referral programs. They want their customers to use their referral programs to propagate additional sales. Although an incentive, the potential rewards to the "shiller" are absolutely inconsequential in comparison to the profits generated through potential additional sales to the reseller. In simple terms, the shiller is doing them a huge favor of providing advertising for nearly free.

The animosities that have been generated are related to the many that were not made aware that referral links had been embedded within seemingly "regular" links. Its an issue of disclosure and morality, not an issue as to weather or not referrals ultimately cost the consumer a higher amount to purchase an item. In reality, if supply and demand soar, the cost to the consumer will be less... as has been evidenced by nearly all the most popular lights discussed on this forum.

raccoon city
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I think that shilling is sneaky, unethical, and rude.  Automatic weapon  

I am sick of links by shills to DealExtreme, Manafont, and other websites, that exist so that the shill can make money.  Happy money

It's practically the same thing as SPAM, and I don't like SPAM.  Pound SPAM

_the_
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Changed my signature to tell my own policy about referral links:

"Disclaimer: Above post might contain referral links, but only to items that I myself have bought, tested & approved."

I think that policy helps me keep unbiased, still allowing me to recommend known good items and possibly even gain some cents by doing that.

=the=

 

Langcjl
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I'm only going to buy my DX stuff from Frans links from now on. Saves me the time searching DX. just more fake Internet etiquette to me. I might also start posting in all CAPS to see if I can make anyone cry.

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

yavi
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I don't find it to be such a bad thing, If I can get it for the same price, Why would I punish someone who could make a very little proffit from doing it?

The only thing I would like is, when someone uses referrals, to do it being honest about the products, not trying to promote them over other products on other sites.

So, my vote goes for option two, which is not quite what is my opinion but it is the closest one.

Ford Prefect
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I think the point to remember is that the members here have just posted referral links with comments like "new lights at DX". Never things like "this light is super mega awesome and you are all complete smegheads if you don't buy it too". The difference is there is no intention to deceive our membership. Just posting links to give our membership a heads up? No problem with me, I like looking at new lights.
Budgeteer
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Absolutely no issues to me if anyone use a referral link. Anyone doing so must still follow the usual BLF practics being nice and objective and not simply spamming such links.

kragmutt wrote:

They're gonna send you a green redcat with a black LED.

Tas62
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FlashPilot wrote:

Its just that Mr. Admin hasnt yet gotten around to creating the proper category for such a thing. Im sure it'll happen soon enough though.

I'm not sure that it's necessary...........I don't want to see us creating another CPF because of minor quibbles.

Oxy Moron
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Personally, I'm all about content. If someone posts a helpful tip or a review or even a quick reminder, I'm more than happy to use their reflink to buy stuff. If I see value in their contribution and I can help them out, then by all means, post your link and I'll use it.

At the same time, I hate spam. And I mean hate. In a previous life, I used to be responsible for running a semi-large network and the amount of work and lost productivity that went into fighting spam and keeping things running, before spam filtering was completely outsourced, was ridiculous. So, when referral systems more or less openly encourage active spamming (or any activity really, that crosses over into spam territory), I get cranky.

So what I do is this: if there's content I value and the poster uses a reflink, I use it. If I like the post and there's no reflink, I go to my bookmarks and use the reflink of someone who has positively contributed to the forum in the past. That way, the ref points (or whatever) aren't "lost".

If I come across a "shill" post that contains little or no content aside from a reflink and plug designed to get me to buy stuff, I remove the reflink, go out of my way to remove any cookies and LSOs I might have from that site and simply use somebody else's reflink.

Works for me... Smile

marty
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Probably the most nitpicking group i have encountered..

Not that its all bad - but it's not good either..

2100
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Wow....looks like quite a number of people do not mind.

brted
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I put them in some of my links, but I don't post links just so that people will follow them. I post a review or whatever and include the referral link (not all the time). I'm not changing what I write so that people will buy the item; I just review what I buy. It's not shilling if you're not trying to sell merchandise. You can tell the referrals are there since they are part of the URL. I'm not trying to hide anything.

To me it is as much an experiment as anything. I don't think KD's program works at all (never registered one sale). DX's program does work and I earned $10 back in January. I'm due for another $20 soon, and as I mentioned long ago I will either do a raffle for a $20 DX credit or maybe support the board some other way. It's not a gravy train and I'm not getting much of anything from it. My goal is to use (most of) whatever is earned and churn it back into the board somehow.

Nobody likes a true shill who says good things about a product just to get a commission. So I am against shilling, but I don't care about referral links. It's a fine line I guess.

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Ford Prefect wrote:
I think the point to remember is that the members here have just posted referral links with comments like "new lights at DX". Never things like "this light is super mega awesome and you are all complete smegheads if you don't buy it too". The difference is there is no intention to deceive our membership. Just posting links to give our membership a heads up? No problem with me, I like looking at new lights.

I agree with this and that is all Fran has done. Fran has also been a valued contributor to the forum so its not an issue. If someone shows up and all they do is post links, I might have an issue. I only use those links to look at the lights anyway. When I decide to buy something, I usually shop around on my own and decide where I want to buy it from.

r1derbike
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...subject tells it all.

Langcjl
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SirJohn wrote:

Ford Prefect wrote:
I think the point to remember is that the members here have just posted referral links with comments like "new lights at DX". Never things like "this light is super mega awesome and you are all complete smegheads if you don't buy it too". The difference is there is no intention to deceive our membership. Just posting links to give our membership a heads up? No problem with me, I like looking at new lights.

I agree with this and that is all Fran has done. Fran has also been a valued contributor to the forum so its not an issue. If someone shows up and all they do is post links, I might have an issue. I only use those links to look at the lights anyway. When I decide to buy something, I usually shop around on my own and decide where I want to buy it from.

+1 in a case like this it's one of our own, not some spammer.

Piers said " ....but who wants enough light, when you have the option for far too much "

Paranid
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I think if we allow this then a million one post users will spam this forum with referral links.

Keychain flashlights FTW!

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Pantaloonie wrote:
If it bothers you that much, you can just remove the referral link from the end of the url.

+1

_the_ wrote:
"Disclaimer: Above post might contain referral links, but only to items that I myself have bought, tested & approved."

brted wrote:
I put them in some of my links, but I don't post links just so that people will follow them. I post a review or whatever and include the referral link (not all the time).

Agreed. +1 for referrals on items someone bought and approved (-1 for ref. and bought items that are s**t). And I think this is the only one "+1" reason for refs (ATM of course)

jamesearljonesi...
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My name is Jamesearljonesisascab and im guilty of shilling.

my most recent post with a link is http://budgetlightforum.com/node/4423

I think this was a successful post as a few of the members here at BLF was able to  get in on this great deal.

i really don't know if i got any money from this but im glad that the guys who purchased it are getting them in are satisfied with it. 

i post links  that are interesting to me and i think might interest the others here. if i had offended anyone with this practice i apologize.

03/04/16 

 

8 lives left

Pulsar
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really, its up to mr mod... but who cares? it dont cost you anything, it makes them barely anything per person buying...

but it should go into commercial sellers spot, or a new "whats new in china" spot or such, because alot of times they are pretty stupid lights no one will want

VFMaddict
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I voted, "Yes, but only if the shill announces that their links will add benefit to themselves."

I think its important to explain why I voted that way.  There are times when the poster says more than simply, 'Look at this'.   It is at that point that one needs to know if his/her comments are in some way influenced or are completely unbiased.

I agree with the peep who said that one can tell by looking at the url.   But I am not 100% certain that all members are aware of that or even understand it.   Some people just use computers and do not under how work or even how links work.

At the end of the day anyone who is paid by a company for promoting that company should declare that. Perhaps we should have a rule whereby links which derive a profit for the poster can only be posted in the Commercial Sellers forum.   Obviously they will still appear on the Home page but at least we would know instantly what we were looking at.

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