There is a line here...a couple actually
The first is - we don’t allow unpaid advertising here. That means people aren’t welcome to put their companies or companies they get free stuff or money from in their signatures. People have abused this in the past using their signature to promote their companies or the products they represent in their signature. This is why there is not presently a requirement or even the allowance for people to add this to their signatures.
2. We do NOT allow commercial use of PMs here. This means NO ONE - except for paying sponsors -should EVER use PMs for any business/promotional/buying/selling or even passing on business contact information. When someone says “I’m a blahblahblah rep” - and someone PMs them for pricing, availability, where they can purchase or to seek ANY business related information - both have violated our PM rules. Businesses are welcome to contact me to discuss becoming sponsors - those that SOL can get behind and support who wish to advertise here can become site sponsors. Then they can promote their products here and use PMs for business related conversations as well as promote their social media channels, link to their websites, promote specials, announce new products and offer specials to site members. NO ONE ELSE SHOULD EVER RESPOND TO OR SEND PMS HERE THAT COULD BE CONSIDERED COMMERCIAL/BUSINESS RELATED.
This means even if someone sends them a PM asking a business question, they should not respond. If they do it should be only to tell the person that they cannot use PMs to support or promote their business in any way.
We do allow businesses or their representatives to respond to questions - provided that their responses do not contain commercial contact information, their posts are on topic and relevant to the discussion they entered and they aren’t telling people where they can buy their items.
I do agree there needs to be a way to identify people who are paid in money or goods to promote a product. It’s generally pretty clear just by reading their responses. There is a line between letting folks know that your opinion is being paid for and advertising - and some ‘reps’ definitely cross the line, perhaps unintentionally. This is definitely an area that needs some clarification - I’m going to work on it
Until then the above rules regarding PMs continues to be in effect - folks using PMs in ANY business context will
risk being removed from this site if they are caught. Members using PMs to solicit or purchase goods or services from others risk being removed if they are caught. If it feels like business please don’t do it via PMs here unless you are paying to be a sponsor