[20-OCT-2015] Refinements of forum categories and rules on affiliate links / codes

Hi everyone,

It's been almost a month since implementing the new rule about affiliate links, which has helped considerably to reduce disagreements and eliminate overly-competitive commercially motivated links scattered all over the forum. However, the need for some refinements has become apparent.

Up until now, only one commercial seller has created its respective thread for affiliate links, and only a few different users are actually posting affiliate links there. Apart from affiliate links, another currently popular way of sharing special deals is via special order codes and group buys, which are essentially in the same conceptual space as affiliate links. I don't have a problem with either of the two methods when used appropriately. But the previous rule that limited affiliate links to one-thread-per-commercial-seller was postulated on the assumption that many users would want to place affiliate links there. As it turns out though, it appears that affiliate links and codes are mainly being used by just a few BLF users that work as liaisons to negotiate special deals on standard stock items or MAP avoidance deals, possibly receiving some kind of compensation from the commercial seller via their codes or affiliate links. While they are not technically commercial sellers or employees of a commercial seller, their hard work in this space is directly related to and beneficial toward one or more commercial sellers, and it often results in some kind of compensation for the liaison. Their services are appreciated by many BLF users.

Apart from the specially negotiated deals on stock merchandise, there is also a fascinating movement on BLF toward the creation of "BLF Special Edition" limited runs of tantalizing flashlight products with special modifications specifically for the BLF audience, all at a fantastically affordable price. This is obviously extremely popular with virtually the entire BLF audience, and we all want to see this continue. But it must be admitted that the process of conceptualizing, negotiating, testing, organizing, and ultimately taking a custom BLF light to completion is an extremely time consuming process. It's completely understandable that these hard-working organizers of group buys on custom BLF lights might want to have the option of receiving a bit of compensation via affiliate links or a seller-supplied code. Under the previous affiliate link rule, the way to do this wasn't clearly defined, and it unnecessarily complicated things for these already busy group buy organizers.

In view of all this, I have made the following changes (denoted by :star: ) to a few forum categories and rules:

  • :star: The "Group Buys" category has been renamed to BLF Special Edition Products and will only be used by organizers of group buys or other kinds of direct sales of custom flashlight products that are completely original or differ significantly from the stock specifications.
    • :star: Organizers/creators of products in this category are free to offer affiliate links or codes in their threads in order to receive some kind of compensation from the commercial seller for their efforts.
  • :star: A new subcategory for BLF User Negotiated Deals on unmodified stock products has been created inside the "Commercial Sellers' Spot".
    • :star: BLF users that regularly negotiate special deals on stock products that are offered via affiliate links or codes should place them in this subcategory. (I have moved threads of this nature out of the old "Group Buys" category into this new one.)
    • Although liaisons are not strictly commercial sellers and therefore are not bound by the commercial seller rules, they do contribute significantly toward the interests of the commercial sellers. So please keep in mind the spirit of the rules for commercial sellers. Specifically:
      • I won't specify exactly how many threads can be created per-user in the "BLF User Negotiated Deals" category, but please do not abuse your privileges or do anything that could annoy other liaisons or any other user.
      • Please keep in mind that your posts in this category will appear in the Recent Posts list, so please do not "spam" the Recent Posts with tactics to "bump" your thread or in any other way dominate the current activity. I'm sure that the liaisons will find a way to keep their currently active threads in this category to a minimum, possibly by re-using certain threads and editing the first and/or second posts.
      • Please do not post your affiliate links or codes outside of the "BLF User Negotiated Deals" category.
      • Please don't drop hints about your deals in other threads.
      • Please carefully re-read these guidelines on avoiding "price wars".
      • Competition between commercial sellers is good for BLF, but bickering and cutthroat competitiveness between BLF liaisons is damaging to the entire BLF community, so please avoid doing so at all cost.

So, four main changes in total, not too bad. Hopefully this shouldn't be too disruptive. I sincerely hope that these refinements will foster the development of more BLF "Special Edition" products, while at the same time continuing to allow BLF users access to special deals on other flashlight products. Thanks for reading!

Oooooh I think the new revised rules are great! Its a bit less messier now! Thanks SB!

Very clear rules!

Thanks for bringing the light to this dark subject :D!

I think this sounds awesome! Much better than having the two different types of “Group Buys” cluttered together.

This is one of the best-run forums I know of. this sounds like a good solution.
Thanks for your thoughts and execution on this.

Thanks for keeping this a great forum! 10/10

Thanks a lot for the feedback! The category changes are now implemented.

very good changes!

I am looking forward to a better, easier way for the members finding a deal for their desired items collected in one subforum.
(and also finding items they did not know before that they are desirable ;))

also the great BLF builds get the podium they deserve…

at last - we, the affiliates can work better to support the needs of the community; besides or slightly against another - at the end the member has to be the winner!
(we includes all the guys who make the deals, groupbuys and discount on single request)

thank you Sb!

I think the changes you’ve made are definitely a move in the right direction. I love the clarity and distinction between different kinds of “affiliate” behavior. I agree that those who work on “BLF Specials” deserve any compensation they may receive from the seller, without unreasonable restrictions. Their hard work should be richly rewarded! I’m also glad to see specifically the rolling back the requirement for affiliates to post their links only in one thread provided by the seller. I never really liked that solution, and I’m sure the way it is now will be fair enough for all. I still think some people may still be happier if they had a toggle to turn off certain categories and/or sub-categories from appearing in their “Recent Posts” page. But, I don’t know if that’s possible.

I’m generally a very critical person, but at first glance this looks great.

Well done.

Common misconception. I neither am a dog nor own a dog, nor am I a pilot.

However, dogs are persons too.

This sounds like an further improvement, and it is already a better climate from the last changes :slight_smile:

One thing i wonder though, the UF1504 GB didn’t really was a “custom flashlight products that are completely original or differ significantly from the stock specifications” it was more a GB to show interest for them to produce it for us sooner rather than later i think & give us a great price.

It started with the target to do something really special but it soon showed that UniqueFire where very conservative, & not easy to work with to introduce the needed “BLF upgrades” and in the end all it got was a brass pill as an upgrade.

So would the UF1504 GB fit in that category or not?

:bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile:

I assume you’re referring to this one ? I currently have it in the BLF User Negotiated Deals category, but it’s kind of a moot point since it already finished and was created before this new arrangement. In the future, if somebody is trying to arrange for modifications to a stock product, they would probably start the process in the BLF Special Edition Products category.

G'Day Sb,

Congratulations on the Very Well thought out "re-modelling".

My only suggestion (if I may) is to make the BLF User Negotiated Deals subforum directly accessible,

without having to go to it via the Commercial Sellers' Spot subforum (1 less click).

Thank you Very Much,

Best Regards,


Thanks for the support and the suggestion George!

I’d like to keep the BLF User Negotiated Deals category inside the Commercial Sellers’ Spot to clearly show that those deals are at least somewhat “commercial” in nature. But I did just add a quick link in the description of the Commercial Sellers’ Spot that you can click on to go directly there.

Sb, Thank you Very Much for providing that quick link.

Best Regards,


Was it always this way, with deals flying all over the place?

Or was there a time when most of the discussions focused on flashlight topics and mods?

Not that I’m complaining. Just wondering. I’ve been out of the flashlight scene since adopting a son in 2006 2009 (before BLF existed). Back then, I was an on and off contributer to CPF - and yes, Greta ruled the discussion board much as she does today! 0:)

Well, BLF was founded with free sharing of links as one of its core reasons for existing. And that’s still extremely important to me. On other forums users had to refer to products like “DX sku 3985043”, which was a major pain to take a quick look at, and even more confusing for new users. So I’m thrilled to see links on BLF to interesting products, which is mainly what we did at the beginning. It’s just that as BLF got more and more popular, we also started earning a lot more commercial leverage, which is what has lead to the profusion of deals these days.

How many users does BLF have? Is there some statistic page somewhere with traffic info and such?

This latest discussion made me curious :slight_smile: