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  1. #41
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    With due respect to all,

    An interesting thread and addition of clarity from Steve regarding what can be read as a very fine line being straddled.

    Gaining information on how to save a bit of coin on items we seek is not a bad thing at all. Some of us will always buy new because that's the way we are - and there is something about the written or unwritten expectation of return to vendor should the buyer be not as pleased as expected. Not that we won't wait for a reduced price or clearance item.

    Richard's research on ebay is always read because I don't know ebay at all. I've not purchased and don't know if I ever will. Yet, I do see a perspective of promoting a particular site but ONLY because of the links provided. I think I would read it differently if the statements were more along the lines of .. I searched for {description} and found a few good leads of reasonable quality .. without a providing a link. For me, that would be even more educational because I might learn how to search that quagmire better - and also assist me in how to search for items on the Net in general.

    The community here is great and we all learn so much about this wonderful addiction called the kilt. Sometimes staying inside the lines gets a little fuzzy. Still, its all good.

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  3. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antipodean Celt View Post

    Might I suggest that you continue to highlight interesting sporrans that you find out there in the big wide world marketplace, but refrain from posting until after the sale has concluded, or perhaps de-identify the seller or the marketplace (ie just show the photos). That might be within the rules whilst also allowing you to guide your very ignorant students who greatly benefit from your knowledge and experience.
    This is the approach I advocate, as it doesn't risk manipulating the auction in favor of buyer or seller.

    For those looking for search tips, here's an example of what I do:

    I usually hit eBay if I want to find a nice sgian dubh to give a piping friend or family member. I usually search terms that acknowledge variant spellings or descriptions someone with limited experience would use. When I see an item identified as "skene dhu" or even "skeen doo," I know it's somebody who might not be as savvy as someone who knows the traditional terminology and may not be as inclined to see if there are other examples in the market place in order to set a price. Same goes for someone who only knows they have some sort of "hallmarked silver dagger." I picked up a vintage Forsyth sgian dubh for about $80 because someone had misidentified it as a dirk and didn't bother to check the hallmarks. The same can be done with sporrans - you should get to know makers marks, but also be prepared to think about it as someone not familiar with highlandwear would describe it, like "made in Scotland purse" or "leather belt pouch l&m." It doesn't work 100%, or even most of the time, but it's a safe bet. Also try searching ebay.co.uk or ebay.ca. Be prepared to sift through hundreds of Pakistani sporrans.

    My point behind my initial objection is that the sgain dubh referenced above was an affordable gift because I knew what I was looking for and there wasn't another bidder who had happened upon the listing. It would have only taken one person who knew what they were bidding on to drive the price beyond what I wanted to spend. I'm a great supporter of the free-market and accept that there are other sgian dubh buyers out there, but it would have been a bummer if someone had blown up my spot by telling a forum "hey, check out this thing that's been listed at $80 but was mislabeled and is really worth $400."

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  5. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piobair View Post
    This is the approach I advocate, as it doesn't risk manipulating the auction in favor of buyer or seller.

    For those looking for search tips, here's an example of what I do:

    I usually hit eBay if I want to find a nice sgian dubh to give a piping friend or family member. I usually search terms that acknowledge variant spellings or descriptions someone with limited experience would use. When I see an item identified as "skene dhu" or even "skeen doo," I know it's somebody who might not be as savvy as someone who knows the traditional terminology and may not be as inclined to see if there are other examples in the market place in order to set a price. Same goes for someone who only knows they have some sort of "hallmarked silver dagger." I picked up a vintage Forsyth sgian dubh for about $80 because someone had misidentified it as a dirk and didn't bother to check the hallmarks. The same can be done with sporrans - you should get to know makers marks, but also be prepared to think about it as someone not familiar with highlandwear would describe it, like "made in Scotland purse" or "leather belt pouch l&m." It doesn't work 100%, or even most of the time, but it's a safe bet. Also try searching ebay.co.uk or ebay.ca. Be prepared to sift through hundreds of Pakistani sporrans.

    My point behind my initial objection is that the sgain dubh referenced above was an affordable gift because I knew what I was looking for and there wasn't another bidder who had happened upon the listing. It would have only taken one person who knew what they were bidding on to drive the price beyond what I wanted to spend. I'm a great supporter of the free-market and accept that there are other sgian dubh buyers out there, but it would have been a bummer if someone had blown up my spot by telling a forum "hey, check out this thing that's been listed at $80 but was mislabeled and is really worth $400."
    Thanks. It is the search tips and the visual examples both that are important. I don't need an exact road map but it is helpful to know where to look so a direct link isn't that important but it was helpful. I can't really afford to outbid anyone so I understand keeping things affordable.

  6. #44
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    I'm going to try and address the issues in your post from the standpoint of the owner of a forum. X Marks has been around a lot of years and we have seen a lot of different posts. All of the rules of X Marks are the direct result of issues in our history.

    Our advertising policy has also been developed over the years from real world issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Thanks for bringing my attention to those rules, which I hadn't read (or maybe just didn't remember). And there is the crux of my post.

    I'm trying to fully understand their meaning. The line above appears to ban any discussion of any goods or services (except of course those offered by paid advertisers) because to mention something is to increase awareness of it.

    "All reviews must be about a product purchased for the members own use."


    How can anyone post an honest review of something that they don't have personal experience with?
    Let me give a real-world example. A few years ago a member posted about a product with "Genuine Leather Made in XXX" stamped inside. Another member then pointed out that all that was needed - by law - for that claim was that someone within that country ran the stamping machine. The products we actually manufactured in a different country with materials from a third and fourth country.
    In this particular case the materiel the product was made from, was advertised as leather but was actually thin leather laminations over a cardboard core.


    This line bans the purpose of my thread, to bring attention to offerings I have not purchased.

    "Any endorsement of a product must have the approval of the manufacturer or seller."

    This line, if taken literally, bans the endorsement of anything made by a firm not currently in business, like my recommendation of vintage Nicoll Brothers sporrans.

    Over the years we have had quite a few people contact us when a member has posted photos that they have lifted off the web which are under copyright or when something has been posted without permission. In a few cases I have had to remove these posts from the forum after complaints from the business owner or copyright owner. (You should know this from personal experience)
    Can you honestly claim that a recommendation of a product that is no longer available is really helpful to the majority of our members?


    "One of the functions of X Marks is to allow open and honest reviews of kilts, kilt related products and services."

    But restricted to reviews of offerings of the paid advertisers, with prior approval, if the rules above are taken literally.

    This seems to imply that we are protecting those who choose to advertiser here. We are not protecting our advertisers. Rather we are asking everyone to meet the same standard that we hold our advertisers too. Every company that advertises here is held to the standard to meet all other advertisers on an even playing field.
    And even, honest, open playing field is all that we ask.
    We are not restricting reviews to items purchased solely from our advertisers. Any member may post a review of another product as long as the item was purchased by themselves and the review is factual. You can see many of these all over X Marks.
    The actual wording of the Product Review section of the policy is -
    Product Reviews are the best way for new members to gain information about suppliers. We encourage our members to post Product Reviews. All reviews must be about a product purchased for the members own use. Product reviews must contain only verifiable factual information.

    Negative product reviews are also encouraged as an important warning to other potential buyers, but the reviewer must be very careful not to denigrate or libel the manufacturer or supplier. Negative reviews must contain only verifiable factual information.

    If member wishes to post a review, of a product purchased from one of our advertisers, it would be best if the review is posted in that advertisers section of the forum.


    One thing about the above rules is that they make a distinction between "product reviews" and "product endorsements". If a review is positive it is also an endorsement (if these words have their usual meanings).

    There is a very big difference between a review and an endorsement. The purpose of a review is to inform someone and present enough information - (the good and the bad) to enable them to decide if they would investigate something further. A review gives un-biased information to enable someone to make up their own mind.
    An endorsement is always positive or always presents information in a positive light to lead someone in a particular direction.
    Let me give you another real world example from the forum's history.
    We had one member who had his favorite kiltmaker. This member would post glowing endorsements of the kilts they received. The problem is that the kiltmaker made it quite clear that they had no intention of ever joining our other advertisers on an even playing field. They were reaping the benefits of this member advertising for them.
    This was in direct competition to our paid advertisers and was a back door way of promoting someone who did not respect the membership of X Marks enough to support the forum and advertise in an above-board manner.
    The member posting their endorsements did so, so many times, and in such glowing terms, that it caused quite a ruckus. Some other members questioned the validity behind some of the claims. We later found out that some of the claims may have been made by someone just a little over-enthusiastic.


    Another language issue is the precise meaning of "commercial offering". If a private individual is selling something to you in your home is it a commercial offering? What if the same transaction happens between the same two private individuals here on XMarks? What if the same transaction happens between the same two individuals on Ebay? Is it now a commercial offering?

    [Color=#ff000] A commercial offering is one made by a commercial enterprise. That is pretty plain and simple. A commercial enterprise is, by definition, different from a private individual.
    It is defined as "A business that engages in buying and selling" EBay is a commercial enterprise as are the vast majority of those who sell there.
    An individual is not a business or in the business of buying and selling.
    There is no restriction against two members arranging for a private sale among themselves. A transaction that happens somewhere other than X Marks such as Ebay has nothing to do with X Marks.
    There would be no objection to a member posting a review of a product they got from another member or from their local yard sale. You see those all the time and no one had ever had a problem or questioned them.
    In the end it is the issue that someone questioned this thread.
    This question required that the staff review the thread. While it was determined that no forum rule was broken it was quite clear that the thread did not stay within the boundaries of the Advertising Policy.

    Let me say this in closing. I am not trying to protect those who advertise here. I don't have to. They are some of the most honest businesses in the world. No member of this forum has ever seen a case where one advertiser treated another in an unfair manner or even said something like "Hey, I've got that same product cheaper. Buy from me."
    Some businesses choose not to join us. That's OK, I don't care if or why they don't. But the fact is - Those who do advertise here are the cream of those companies offering kilts and kilt related products.
    You can't always say that about Ebay. Heck, Ebay even has to post warnings that they do not vett those who advertise there and to beware if one company contacts you trying to undercut another. And how many cases have we seen where someone purchased an item based on the advertising and in the end got something different than they expected.

    It is also a fact that the best way to inform others about what to look for in a quality item would be to point out those features that go into and make up a quality item. Such as - how to tell if an item is actually made where the label says, or how to tell real leather from 'pleather', or what good stitching looks like compared to stitching that will fail and come out after just a few uses.
    Pointing out those things which would make a poor item would be just a helpful as those things that would make a quality item.
    Heck, if you want to know what is required to make a good, high quality sporran, ask a sporran maker. Someone who does it for a living.

    As I said in my post, no forum rules were broken so no one is being penalized. But perhaps if the goal were to give members the tools they would need to tell a good sporran from a poor sporran it would be much more informative to give members the information they would need to make an informed decision vs simply posting links to items for sale that you found on the web.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  8. #45
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    Steve--You raise a number of good points. Most importantly, it is clear you have really thought about these issues from a variety of angles and are looking for the fairest approach that most benefits the members of this forum. So thank you for that.

    48HofC--I'm not seeking to argue against your point or disagree with your statement, but I wonder why a seller would object to having his or her product listing mentioned in a positive way on this site. I imagine it might attract a few interested potential buyers who had not known of the listing before. What could be the downside for the seller in this situation?

    I'm just curious and trying to better understand this issue from your perspective. I would appreciate any insight you might want to share with readers here.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

  9. #46
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    The complaints I get from companies and businesses are over the re-posting of photos copied off the web without credit given. Most companies have a copyright on their material and when that material is copied it is a violation of that copyright.

    I also get some complaints that material is copied out of context or is quoted incorrctly.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  11. #47
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    Somewhat off topic, but lends some credence to the idea that vendors are flipping ebay sales: A silver sgian that was recently sold on eBay turned up on a vendor's website at a bit over a 100% markup. Not a sponsor, but a respected merchant so I won't begrudge them the sale or identify them. I would imagine they'd also bid on notable sporrans that come up for auction. Some of these auctions require having a bit of a warchest if you hope to win.

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  13. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antipodean Celt View Post

    Might I suggest that you continue to highlight interesting sporrans that you find out there in the big wide world marketplace, but refrain from posting until after the sale has concluded, or perhaps de-identify the seller or the marketplace (ie just show the photos). That might be within the rules whilst also allowing you to guide your very ignorant students who greatly benefit from your knowledge and experience.
    Thanks, that's wise advice which I think I need to follow.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  14. #49
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    Alternately you could prepare a tutorial for the forum. One that would give the points or features to look for that are indications of a good vs a poor sporran.

    You could include photos that are not lifted from the web without permission that could result in copyright complaints, or were links to off-forum commercial sites in violation of the policy.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 10th November 17 at 04:58 PM.
    Steve Ashton
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  16. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Ashton View Post
    Alternately you could prepare a tutorial for the forum. One that would give the points or features to look for that are indications of a good vs a poor sporran.

    You could include photos that are not lifted from the web without permission that could result in copyright complaints, or were links to off-forum commercial sites in violation of the policy.
    I'd sure like that, Richard - you know so much and have so many clear examples of our history and where we've come from that you're a valuable resource and sure get my respect. It might make a great sticky too, Steve!
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, dogs, most people, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

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