Is any commercial content allowed?

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  • #41921

    veltis
    Member

    I’ve been playing around WordPress and trying to stretch what it can be used for beyond personal journaling–I’ve found it’s so easy for non-computer savvy people to use that I’ve been recommending it just about everywhere. So here’s the problem:

    The most recent candidate for web help has been an old friend of my father’s who has his own little mom-and-pop travel agency that he started in the 70’s. He has no clue/barely a clue about the web, and time and online airline bookings are passing his company by. They can’t afford a dedicated web code monkey, but they do have one person on staff who could use WordPress to do basic updating of content. They need a basic site with basic info about them, plus a News page (blog), and WordPress would be a perfect match.

    However, I don’t know if this violates the TOS–It’s commercial, but it’s not a site designed to drive users off WP, it’s a content center of its own. They might have links to specific airline/hotel sites, but that’s hardly seems like spam to me, because the links would exist as genuine resources, not as ads. As has been pointed out before, some businesses (like plentyoffish) have blogs ABOUT their businesses, and that seems ok; is it different if the blog IS the business?

    The easy answer would be to skip the theorizing and just use WP.org. I could set this up for them, but I’m worried that in the long term there may be weird esoteric technical issues that will need extensive support, that they certainly can’t handle themselves. WP.com seems more stable, though I may be wrong.

    Thoughts on this?

    #42244

    wank
    Member

    Forget wordpress.com. The risk of someone happening upon the site and reporting it as spam because it has links to hotels in the sidebar is just too high.

    WordPress.org is actually much more stable than wordpress.com, since Automattic like to use this place as a testing ground for new code, and as a result you’re more likely to encounter ‘weird esoteric technical issues’ here than running 2.0.5. Thousands of people use the .org version and trust me, not all of them are technical whizzes. It also gives you a much bigger range of themes to choose from, some of which will inevitably be better suited for your purposes than the limited range we have here and will make the site look a lot more professional. As long as you have a decent host you shouldn’t have too much difficulty.

    #42248

    raincoaster
    Member

    I agree. WordPress.org is the best solution for them for many reasons, not the least of which is the absolute certainty that they won’t get reported as spam. The way I read what you’ve written, it does seem like the blog would be commercial in a way that doesn’t fit with the TOS, ie the blog itself would bring them money. I’d report it as commercial, myself.

    I have a WordPress.org blog myself, and I can tell you that if you don’t want to fiddle with templates and add bells and whistles and every new gadget that comes along, it is DEAD EASY. Once the install is done, you can just maintain it and it’s really not that much different from WordPress.com in terms of running day to day. And there are support forums there as well. They’d need some hand-holding for the initial install and tweaks to give them what they want, but after that it is pretty clean and self-sustaining.

    #42249

    timethief
    Member

    I’m also weighing in saying that I would like to see people who want to use their blogs to make money leave wordpress.com alone and boogie right on over to wordpress.org where they will have options and benefits that businesses require and expect.

    The options are (1) self hosting or (2) paying very modest fees to be web hosted.

    The benefits are (1) being able to hack your blog template to your heart’s content and (2) being able to plaster every bit of white space in your blog with advertising that brings a petty income. And (3) being able to place lots of affiliate links in sidebars which can also be used to bring in a petty income.

    However, interestingly enough, every time this has come up in the past we have had wordpress.com bloggers whining that they do want to make money from their blogs but don’t want to spend any. Well, that’s not the way the business world works. In the business world you spend money to make money. There are no free rides.

    IMO if Automattic were to give “free riders” (those who want to use blogs to make money) the boot right over to wordpress.org then they would be taking a giant step forward when it comes to creating unity here.

    #42256

    timethief
    Member

    Clarification and correction: Please note that in the last sentence above I typed “unity” where I should have typed “community”.

    #42261

    lloydbudd
    Member

    veltis, as suggested, practicality suggests self-hosting.

    The challenges otherwise include that blog linking to sites it has a financial incentive to link to and most importantly content that’s value is primarily limited to transactions with the authors. Neither match well our current general offerings, nor the communities desires and would likely lead to complaints.

    As you sugest, there are many blogs here that are free sharing of expertise with an About page if a reader is interested in a commercial relationship.

    #42267

    nosysnoop
    Member

    I have a WordPress.org blog myself, and I can tell you that if you don’t want to fiddle with templates and add bells and whistles and every new gadget that comes along, it is DEAD EASY. Once the install is done, you can just maintain it and it’s really not that much different from WordPress.com in terms of running day to day.

    Eh? How is it easy?? I just want the same template I have now. Nothing fancy or plug-ins. Just the same thing I have now. How is it easy when my head starts spinning by reading the .org forum? And we have to write our own code for something, psp or php or something like that.

    #42269

    raincoaster
    Member

    Well, I’ve never actually been to the .org forum. My friend the techie installed it and I’ve done nothing but post there ever since. You can see it at http://shebeenclub.com. My friend did make me a custom header with our name on it, and he’s upgraded the WordPress software once since it started, but otherwise nada. I just post away. Who needs javascript, forums, yadda yadda. If you don’t need them, you dont have to learn all that stuff.

    #42270

    boles
    Member

    I had a standalone WordPress (.org) blog for two years and when the opportunity to move here to WordPress.com became possible, I was thrilled to be hosted here.

    My web host — Media Temple (mt) — were and are strong and fast but I want to concentrate on content and not the back end.

    When you’re on your own, you have to manage your database, optimize your MySQL tables when they go wonky; you have to track down bad behaving plugins and you have to continually update your WordPress software and then modify any themes you customized when a new version becomes available.

    None of that was terribly hard, but I’d rather plant more flowers than tend old weeds if I have a choice.

    I never cared about mastering any of the really sophisticated technical yabber-jabber and when things went nutty during a move or a crisis, my old pal Podz (aka Mark!) would ride in to the rescue and fix me up again.

    In talking with the WordPress.com Gods about moving a big blog with 800 posts and 18,000 comments here we talked about all the options and features and it was just a divine setup: Blogging without worry. 100% focus on content and comments. No more logging into Plesk every day for database management. No more bad-behaving anything because everything here is pre-cooked and e.coli free!

    They also run a more recent WordPress version here than you have in a stable release standalone version so you can really see the new stuff first just by having a blog here. The new visual editor and the auto-save and fancy categories were not available when I was alone.

    If you like having cool stuff first that is safe and tested — and you don’t need tons of customization that you get with the standalone version — then WordPress.com is where you want to hang your blog.

    #42271

    timethief
    Member

    @boles
    I think you have expressed the reason most of “the choir” choose to be here at wordpress.com to blog minus geekery.
    @ everyone
    Veltis titled this thread: Is any commercial content allowed?
    Her question to other bloggers was: Your thoughts on this?
    Do you care to share your thoughts?

    #42272

    boles
    Member

    timethief —

    Your question is disingenuous on the surface and transparent at the core.

    I’m not interested in answering any questions from you and you know why.

    #42273

    no, boles, her question is on point. wordpress.com may be great, but that’s irrelevant to a business blogger asking what level of ‘commercial’ is appropriate here.

    if you have a personal issue with timethief, this isn’t the place for it.

    as for me, i have a hard time imagining a travel suggestion blog having links that aren’t ‘commercial speech’. however, i’d still love to see more clarity in the TOS.

    #42281

    boles
    Member

    sunburntkamel —

    timethief edited her comment after I replied.

    She originally asked only me for my opinion on the basic question she now addresses to “@everyone” and the whole “@boles” stuff is new and added later after I replied as well.

    #42282

    timethief
    Member

    I edited my comment to make it clear that I was asking everyone what they thought and not just one person.
    The original was comment version was:
    @boles
    Is any commercial content allowed?
    Your thoughts on this?
    _______________________________________________
    The final version is:
    @boles
    I think you have expressed the reason most of “the choir” choose to be here at wordpress.com to blog minus geekery.
    @ everyone
    Veltis titled this thread: Is any commercial content allowed?
    Her question to other bloggers was: Your thoughts on this?
    Do you care to share your thoughts?

    So everyone would you care to share?

    #42291

    raincoaster
    Member

    My thoughts are that if the blog is going to directly produce revenue for anything other than a nonprofit, it should be a paid hosting situation. That seems to be the case here, as they’re looking for travel bookings online, etc.

    I’ve started my own business, and I know there are inexpensive solutions out there, and that WordPress.org is among the best.

    I read some of the business blogs on WordPress.com, and I enjoy them, but they are very much NOT about selling. I’ve read some of the blogs, the Paradigm Shift for instance, for quite some time before realizing exactly how the blogger made a living. The articles themselves were worthwhile and while they are obviously a PR activity, they’re not commercial so much as professional. Does that distinction make sense? There is no transaction is what I mean.

    #42315

    veltis
    Member

    Thanks everyone for responding! Actually Boles’ point IS relevant, because this kind of php/messing around with SQL databases/reloading new versions business is EXACTLY what “mom and pop” can’t do. I can’t set them up with a system that requires constant technical maintenance.

    Also “The new visual editor and the auto-save and fancy categories were not available when I was alone.” They’re definitely going to need both the visual editor and the fancy categories. Do they exist on .org now?

    After reading all this I think you’re all probably correct in your interpretation of the TOS, now the question is, do I dare put them on .org or not? I’ll ask this on the .org side, but what it does bring up for this forum is that if WP.com had the option for small businesses to pay to have their own blog, I’m sure quite a few people would be delighted–just because you’re a business owner doesn’t mean you can afford a true geek to babysit .org for you.

    #42316

    nosysnoop
    Member

    If you’re a business, you can try to see if you qualify for VIP Blogging:

    http://wordpress.com/vip-hosting/

    You would still be here at .com but be able to do whatever you want with your blog. But only if you qualify.

    #42318

    veltis
    Member

    Yeah, if you’re a BIG business you can qualify. I’m talking about the little guy. :)

    #42319

    raincoaster
    Member

    They won’t get enough hits, and it’s way too much money. It’s possible their current ISP offers some space, and it could be enough; I’d double-check.

    The visual editor certainly exists on .org now; I would be lost without it. I know my techie friend hasn’t really done much with the blog, and certainly I haven’t, yet it still lumbers on. If I were you, I’d ask advice in the .org forum, because they’ll all have done this and can tell you exactly what you’re in for with the current versions.

    #42320

    veltis
    Member

    Yep, I’m already there. (on the .org forums, that is) Thanks!

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