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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
T-Shirt Forums is a place to discuss the business of t-shirts and to share information about the t-shirt industry.
The forums are not a place to advertise or promote your own t-shirt business or build your link popularity. Please do not offer your own products or services in the forum threads (with the exception of the Referrals area where members are specifically looking for paid services).

Please also note that the forums are generally not a place to post looking for a graphic designer or t-shirt printer. You can find and review great t-shirt printers in our new business directory at Printer Listings.com. Because of our "no self promotion" rules, we tend to stay away from these type of service request posts that usually encourage people to make sales pitch type posts. The exception is the classified section of the forum for members with 15 posts or the service referrals section for members with at least 1 post.
Read more about the service referrals section of the forum here.

Read more about the classifieds section of the forum here.

We want to encourage the discussion of t-shirts without having to have members wade through lots of self promotional links and posts to get to the information they are truly looking for. T-ShirtForums is more of a source for educational purposes rather than a marketplace.

Think about it sort of like the old saying (and I'm paraphrasing): "If you give someone a fish, they will eat for a day. If you teach them how to fish, they will eat for a lifetime". Bringing that around to T-ShirtForums...we are here to teach people how to be fisherman (how to run successful t-shirt business), we're not here to sell people fish (answer questions by selling them YOUR product or service) :)

When people are asking for fellow members opinions, for the most part, they want to hear from regular users of the product or service, to get an honest, unbiased opinion that will help them. If you are recommending your own product or service (or a company you work for, or a company you are affiliated with), it causes an inherent conflict of interest when recommending your business.

If a member is asking a specific question about your product, we welcome honest, factual answers from official company representatives. Please just leave out the sales pitches :)

There are a few specific ways you *can* promote your t-shirt business on T-Shirt Forums.

1) Upload a t-shirt image to the T-Shirt Gallery and include a link to the page where the customer can buy the t-shirt. This t-shirt gallery is indexed in the search engines and will give you free extra exposure for your t-shirt designs.

2) Put a link in your signature to your t-shirt business, making sure to follow the signature guidelines. This doesn't mean that you can just respond to posts by saying "visit the site in my signature". It is there for people to naturally follow when they are interested in your t-shirts or services.

3) Last, but definitely not least. Become a valuable member of the t-shirt community by contributing helpful (non promotional) posts and answers in the forums. Share your knowledge of the t-shirt industry or just ask questions that help get others involved in the discussion. As you become more helpful in the community, people are more likely to follow your signature links and patronize your business to help support other members.

4) Also: If you have a product or service that you feel would be a good fit for our members, you may want to consider paid advertising/sponsorship of the forums. You can get more information by contacting us here.

5) We have 2 areas of the site where we allow members to specifically request a service (like garment printing, designing, etc).

a) Our classifieds area allows members (who have 15 posts) to not only sell off their old equipment and supplies they are no longer using, it also allows them to request specific services like screen printing, web design, t-shirt design, etc. If you someone posts an ad in the classifieds that is about a product or service that you can provide, you are welcome to click on that member's username and contact them via Private Message to offer your services. Like the classifieds in your local newspaper, the ads posts are "one way". You cannot post a reply in the classified thread, you can only send the member a private message or contact them via email or phone if it is provided in the post.

b) Our T-Shirt Printing Referrals and Recommendations forum was created to allow members (who have at least one post) to request specific services like web design, t-shirt design, embroidery, contract printing, etc. The format of this particular forum allows other members to reply directly in the thread with recommendations of printers or designers that they have used. This allows for both unbiased referrals (people you've worked with) and direct offers from members who have businesses that provide the services requested to be posted right in the thread.

Please take time to read the rules and guidelines for each of those sections before posting.

You can post a link to your site within a post in 2 areas of the forum. Once in the Member Introductions forum as you introduce yourself to the community and once in the site review forum as you solicit honest feedback about your site or designs. Keep in mind that both of these forums are NOT indexed by the search engines, so posting links there will not help get your site noticed by the search engines since these two forums won't be spidered (you must be logged in to view both forums).

Any advertising/link building/self promotional/service offers/service requests/spam URL drops outside of these areas will be removed without notice. Frequent offenders or people who try to post under a different identity to promote their t-shirt shop will have their membership removed.

For more on the reasoning behind these rules, please read some related threads at the WebmasterWorld forums on professional forum spamming, and url drops.

This quote is also a good reference to the reasoning behind the rule:

In online discussion media, such as message boards, discussion forums, and newsgroups, shills may pose as independent experts, satisfied consumers, or “innocent” parties with specific opinions in order to further the interests of an organization in which they have an interest, such as a commercial vendor or special-interest group. For example, an employee of a company that produces a specific product may praise the product anonymously in a discussion forum or group in order to heighten and generate interest in that product, or a member or sympathizer of a special-interest group may pose as a highly-qualified expert in a specific field in order to give apparently disinterested support to whatever cause the group promotes.

In some jurisdictions and in some circumstances, this type of activity may be illegal. In addition, reputable organizations may prohibit their employees and other interested parties (contractors, agents, etc.) from participating in public forums or discussion groups in which a conflict of interest might arise, or will at least insist that their employees and agents refrain from participating in any way that might create a conflict of interest.

In some cases, the members of an organization or the employees of a company may monitor and/or participate in public discussions and groups. Such people are not shills, since they don't attempt to mislead others. Some of them may monitor groups in order to better evaluate public and consumer attitudes about a certain product, issue, etc.; others may participate in order to provide information about products or other topics in a neutral way. Some companies allow their employees to participate anonymously in public discussion groups for the purpose of providing information or expressing opinions, as long as there is no intent to defraud and the employee's affiliation with the company is not mentioned (because mentioning the company might make a personal opinion seem like a corporate policy announcement, which would be both misleading and likely to incur liability for the company). Occasionally employees of a company may participate openly in discussions but will include disclaimers making it clear that they speak only for themselves. Finally, on rare occasions, employees of a company may participate openly in a discussion and speak officially on behalf of their employers—but when this occurs, often the employees are moderators of the discussion venue as well, and it is likely to be sponsored by the company (as opposed to venues operated by third parties or open to anyone, such as USENET).
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