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!