Friday 26 February 2010 1.00pm
You raise a very fair question - but just to be absolutely clear, as what beetroot said is slightly misleading:
* Business people are very welcome to take part in the forum
* If someone starts a thread asking for info on local painters/decorators/tilers, you are very welcome to post a reply introducing yourself and giving your contact details.
* If people are talking about a subject in which you have specialist expertise, you are more than welcome to chip in with a useful reply
* Businesses and traders may not start new threads just to promote themselves (we'll let this one go as you've couched it as a question about forum policy)
* It's OK for businesses to start new threads if they're seeking feedback from forum users on a particular point, and inviting a conversation, not just making a one-way announcement
* Trawling through old threads and posting lots of identical replies promoting yourself is liable to lead to mass deletion of posts.
* Don't overdo it - too many mentions/plugs for businesses irritates people very quickly. Less is more.
* What, of course, is absolutely forbidden is to pretend to be a satisfied customer of your own business. This is illegal and will earn the perpetrator a place in the Astroturfing Hall of Shame
Hope that helps to clarify the situation