Posts that advocate breaking a site's TOS

104 replies
Enough with the BS about proxies and the like.

If you need to use proxies to do something, the odds are very good that you're using the site in a way the people who run it don't want. They're almost as high that you're explicitly violating the site's TOS. Advocating that in this forum is not allowed.

Yes, I know it happens. It's very widespread, in fact. So is shoplifting, and I'm not in favor of that, either.

I also know that there are legitimate uses for proxies. They don't really have much to do with creating multiple accounts on various sites, which is the big thing people relate them to in the discussions I'm talking about.

Feel free to discuss these topics. Just do it somewhere else.


Paul
#advocate #breaking #posts #site #tos
  • Profile picture of the author globalpro
    Paul,

    As always, thanks for telling it like it is.

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author Louise Green
    Well said Paul.

    It seems like a black hat technique to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
    This is such a good post that I'm going to copy it word-for-word and paste it on my blog. I advise everyone who reads this to do the same thing.

    Whoops. Uh, cancel that. Never mind. Please ignore that.

    Ah yes, what I meant to say is, "good post." Yeah, that's the ticket. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Cheers,
    Becky
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Becky,

      Get a lot of people discussing proxy use on your blog, do ya?


      Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
    Warning: Open can of worms alert!

    Paul,

    Yes, there are many amongst us who cringe when we see
    some of the questionable tactics that disregard the TOS
    of various websites being promoted on the forum.

    It's not just about using proxies, there have been a myriad
    of threads that encourage breaking the TOS of many sites
    including Craigslist, Google, Squidoo, Forums that are based
    on the vBulletin platform, article directories... I could go on
    and on.

    Then there are the offers in the WSO forum where people
    are selling software that enables automation that, by its
    nature, will contravene TOS of forums, blogs and web 2.0
    type sites.

    Where do we draw the line?

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      John,
      Where do we draw the line?
      Allen's already drawn it. See Rule #7 in the WSO section.


      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        John,Allen's already drawn it. See Rule #7 in the WSO section.


        Paul
        7. NO Software Or training material can be sold here that violates the TOS of other services or that teaches people how. We do not like people violating our own TOS and will not allow products to be sold that encourage anyone to violate others'. No exceptions.

        So I don't get it. Why is it not enforced? Some of that stuff in the WSO section is well on the nose - the software to game facebook etc.
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          So I don't get it. Why is it not enforced? Some of that stuff in the WSO section is well on the nose - the software to game facebook etc.
          We're working on it, Mal. There's stuff that has to be done in certain orders and ways to make sure it doesn't keep cropping up. And no, I won't get into the details.


          Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author BryanWoodUrns
    if it weren't black hat, why would it require a proxy.. Obviously up to no good if you need a proxy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      if it weren't black hat, why would it require a proxy..
      There are legit uses for proxies. I'm having a hard time thinking of one for marketing purposes, though. Anyone got any?


      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
        Paul,

        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        There are legit uses for proxies. I'm having a hard time thinking of one for marketing purposes, though. Anyone got any?
        If you use geo-targeting - using a proxy can help to
        see what your target audience sees from their location.

        If you are based in the UK, and you want to see the US
        search results, using a US proxy makes it possible.

        John
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      • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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        • Profile picture of the author sanssecret
          Well, if I understood what one was I might be able to figure out how to use it. My biggest worry after reading this is that I might be using one and not know.

          I'm guessing it's something that hides your IP address but could be totally wrong on that lol.

          Any advice (in English, not technobabble) gratefully recieved.
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          • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
            This topic really opens up a can of worms.

            Let's be honest. If we're going by the letter of the law of many sites,
            especially Google, most of us are, if at least only a little, breaking some
            site's TOS.

            For example, Google expressly discourages any activity that is done for
            the purposes of manipulating their search engine.

            Isn't that, in fact, what article marketing does?

            We write articles for the purpose of getting backlinks and increasing our
            site rankings. By mass submitting articles, we are most certainly breaking
            Google's TOS.

            Same with social bookmarking.

            It's a slippery slope, and while I try to work within the letter of site's TOS,
            I know that, if I was really technical about it, there has to be a couple of
            sites who would be less than pleased with what I do.

            And I don't even use what are considered black hat methods by any
            stretch of the imagination.

            For those of you who think I'm being a worry wart, go and read the fine
            print of some of the sites you're using, like YouTube. Most of the stuff up
            there is in some kind of violation.

            So if we want to start drawing lines, do we also stop the discussion of
            article marketing in regard to mass directory submission or article spinning?

            Let's be honest...many places have a big problem with those two things
            and they're freely discussed here.

            Just sayin'. This is a slippery slope to start walking on.

            Where do we draw the line?
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            • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

              Let's be honest. If we're going by the letter of the law of many sites,
              especially Google, most of us are, if at least only a little, breaking some
              site's TOS.

              For example, Google expressly discourages any activity that is done for
              the purposes of manipulating their search engine.

              Isn't that, in fact, what article marketing does?
              I would argue that Google is not a good example here.

              For example, Facebook has a TOS. When someone signs up with Facebook, they agree to Facebook's TOS. Their TOS limits what you can do on Facebook.

              However, they cannot limit what you do on your own website.

              When someone sets up a website, where is the TOS they agree to with Google? You might sign up with AdWords or AdSense, and Google may limit or restrict participation in those with their TOS.

              But, if Google wants to tell me I can't of my own free will publish my content on another site with the other site owner's permission with a link back to my own site, Google can go jump in a lake.
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            • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

              For example, Google expressly discourages any activity that is done for the purposes of manipulating their search engine.

              Isn't that, in fact, what article marketing does?
              Chicken and egg problem.

              If you rank higher, you become more popular.

              If you become more popular, you rank higher.

              But which one happens first? What did the articles do?

              Whether you've violated the TOS is almost entirely dependent on how you answer this question.

              Did they make you rank higher which made you more popular? That's a TOS violation.

              Or did they make you more popular which made you rank higher? That's exactly as it should be!

              So which definition do you choose? You can't prove either one is correct. Nobody can. But do you choose to believe you're violating the TOS, or that things are exactly as they should be?
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              • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                Caliban,
                Chicken and egg problem.
                Nope. Dan has it exactly right, and I'm embarrassed not to have mentioned that aspect.

                Unless you're using one of their services on your site, there is no TOS involved. Google is deciding what they'll do on their own site, period. Which is their right and their business.

                It feels like a TOS for the SEO crowd, but that's not accurate.


                Paul
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                • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                  Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                  Unless you're using one of their services on your site, there is no TOS involved.
                  And if you are, you'll have to look at my answer, because Dan's won't apply.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                    And if you are, you'll have to look at my answer, because Dan's won't apply.
                    Umm... Yeah. We said that. Both comments were appropriately qualified. As I often say to people, "Don't argue with me when you're agreeing with me."

                    Are you arguing just to argue, or do you have a useful contribution to make to the discussion?


                    Paul
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                    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                      Jeremy,

                      If you have an objection, voice it. Whether to the basic idea, or to the concept of a thread that insists on ethical behavior as a part of this forum's policies.

                      And before you get into calling anyone a hypocrite, I'll have to warn you... This really is my stone to throw.


                      Paul
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                      • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Kelsall
                        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                        Jeremy,

                        If you have an objection, voice it. Whether to the basic idea, or to the concept of a thread that insists on ethical behavior as a part of this forum's policies.

                        And before you get into calling anyone a hypocrite, I'll have to warn you... This really is my stone to throw.


                        Paul
                        Paul, your the bossman

                        If you don't want discussions about proxies etc - I'm cool with that as I've only used the word "proxy" maybe 5 times in my whole existence here. For the most part, I find them fairly useless as most sites don't care if you sign up more than once from the same IP

                        What I object to is the fact that this thread is going to turn into a bunch of ass kissers jumping on the band wagon who at the end of the day, advocate breaking a TOS (even if it is slight) in their own info products, and posts.

                        I was going to wait until the thread got to like 4 pages, and then just start pointing things out, but decided against it

                        I think that there is no doubt that Allen, and by proxy (see what I did there ) you need to make sure that the forum is kept clean, as there is no doubt that this isn't a "black-hat" community - Doesn't look like it ever has been and it definitely never should be.

                        I just think that there are a ton of people living in glass houses, who just can't see it due to the pile of stones they have stacked up to throw at others.
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            • Profile picture of the author kyhell
              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

              This topic really opens up a can of worms.

              Let's be honest. If we're going by the letter of the law of many sites,
              especially Google, most of us are, if at least only a little, breaking some
              site's TOS.

              For example, Google expressly discourages any activity that is done for
              the purposes of manipulating their search engine.

              Isn't that, in fact, what article marketing does?

              We write articles for the purpose of getting backlinks and increasing our
              site rankings. By mass submitting articles, we are most certainly breaking
              Google's TOS.

              Same with social bookmarking.

              It's a slippery slope, and while I try to work within the letter of site's TOS,
              I know that, if I was really technical about it, there has to be a couple of
              sites who would be less than pleased with what I do.

              And I don't even use what are considered black hat methods by any
              stretch of the imagination.

              For those of you who think I'm being a worry wart, go and read the fine
              print of some of the sites you're using, like YouTube. Most of the stuff up
              there is in some kind of violation.

              So if we want to start drawing lines, do we also stop the discussion of
              article marketing in regard to mass directory submission or article spinning?

              Let's be honest...many places have a big problem with those two things
              and they're freely discussed here.

              Just sayin'. This is a slippery slope to start walking on.

              Where do we draw the line?
              this post right here is why steven is by far one of my favorite warriors!
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          • Profile picture of the author BryanWoodUrns
            Originally Posted by sanssecret View Post

            Well, if I understood what one was I might be able to figure out how to use it. My biggest worry after reading this is that I might be using one and not know.

            I'm guessing it's something that hides your IP address but could be totally wrong on that lol.

            Any advice (in English, not technobabble) gratefully recieved.
            If you don't know what a proxy is, then you're definitely not using one.. lol
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      • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        There are legit uses for proxies. I'm having a hard time thinking of one for marketing purposes, though. Anyone got any?
        Paul
        Scraping Google results.
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        • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
          Originally Posted by Kelly Verge View Post

          Scraping Google results.
          Thats breaks Googles TOS so its not valid....
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          • Profile picture of the author agc
            Scraping google results
            Originally Posted by GarrieWilson View Post

            Thats breaks Googles TOS so its not valid....
            Unless I enter into a contractual agreement with someone, the only TOS that applies to me is the one encoded in the federal, state, and local laws where I live.
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            • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
              Unless I enter into a contractual agreement with someone, the only TOS that applies to me is the one encoded in the federal, state, and local laws where I live.
              So, if you come into my house without a signed contract, you think you're allowed to do whatever you want? Doesn't work that way, junior.


              Paul
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              • Profile picture of the author agc
                Unless I enter into a contractual agreement with someone, the only TOS that applies to me is the one encoded in the federal, state, and local laws where I live.

                Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                So, if you come into my house without a signed contract, you think you're allowed to do whatever you want? Doesn't work that way, junior.

                Paul
                Seriously? Are you really trying to say that you lack the simple intelligence required to figure out that there may be LOCAL LAWS against doing whatever I want in your house? Really?

                Or was your point that it's the laws where I am at "at the moment" that matter? Because in the context of this thread, it's the same exact set of laws. Your local laws are of no concern to me when I'm in my living room accessing the internet.

                If I ELECTRONICALLY come into your "home", and I happen to live on the sovereign island of bumbleferk where there is no law against it, then yes, I need have no concern for your TOS. Perhaps you can get your panties sufficiently twisted that you lobby and convince your government to declare war on bumbleferk. At which point my local government will likely enact some local laws. At that point I just might care.

                And again, all of this is entirely 100% grade a academically consistent, even in the intellectual cesspool of the internet, with my very simple original statement.

                You may now untwist your panties and sit down. You are dismissed.

                God how I do so love teh intarwebs.
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                • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                  Seriously? Are you really trying to say that you lack the simple intelligence required to figure out that there may be LOCAL LAWS against doing whatever I want in your house? Really?
                  I'm pointing out that you don't get to make the unchallenged claim that law is the only thing that decides what you can and cannot do with/on someone else's property.

                  I am also pointing out that websites actually are property. As such, you use them the way the owners intend or you're nothing more than an unwanted trespasser.
                  God how I do so love teh intarwebs.
                  I don't doubt it. You get to talk without thinking and not face the embarrassment that comes from being thrown out of someone's physical residence or place of business.

                  Pretty common among people who choose to be anonymous.


                  Paul
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                  • Profile picture of the author agc
                    Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                    I'm pointing out that you don't get to make the unchallenged claim that law is the only thing that decides what you can and cannot do with/on someone else's property.
                    Just because people like to make up rules doesn't mean I have to follow them.
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                    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                      Banned
                      Originally Posted by agc View Post

                      Just because people like to make up rules doesn't mean I have to follow them.

                      Oh Good Lord someone please make me a moderator so I can demonstrate that I get to make up rules and enforce them in a privately owned forum. Please ....

                      You can take it back when I'm done.
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                      • Profile picture of the author agc
                        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                        Oh Good Lord someone please make me a moderator so I can demonstrate that I get to make up rules and enforce them in a privately owned forum. Please ....

                        You can take it back when I'm done.
                        Hey, I didn't say the rule makers couldn't do anything to me.

                        But morally and ethically speaking, the fact that Facebook has a TOS, matters significantly less to me than an enforceable law does.

                        Facebook (for example) is a business. They open their doors to the public in order to make a profit. The rules they put in place to expedite their profit are their own problem to enforce.

                        They do not have the power, for example, to have me arrested and prosecuted for breaking their cute little rules.

                        They can throw me out. Yup. That they can. And I can go back another day. And they can throw me out again.

                        Now at the point where they choose to permanently ban me, ostensibly for breaking their "rules", a funny thing happens... it suddenly becomes a _potential_ public policy issue. I could go into details, but a simple example will serve (a line taken from the movie Life): "them ain't negro pies" or how about "this is a men's (only) social club".

                        In other words, a business which is open to the public does not, in fact, have 100 percent freedom to make whatever rules they may choose. In fact, even private clubs are ultimately not beyond the reach of public policy.

                        So while yes, a forum owner usually gets to make the rules and enforce them willy nilly... thinking you have that kind of divine right and power is a false of security. All it takes is ONE instance of a rule enforced preferentially in a context where it could possibly disadvantage someone economically, and that's all the crack a lawyer needs to get a toehold.
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                        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                          Banned
                          Originally Posted by agc View Post

                          So while yes, a forum owner usually gets to make the rules and enforce them willy nilly... thinking you have that kind of divine right and power is a false of security. All it takes is ONE instance of a rule enforced preferentially in a context where it could possibly disadvantage someone economically, and that's all the crack a lawyer needs to get a toehold.
                          I like living on the edge. I'd risk it.
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                          • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                            Now at the point where they choose to permanently ban me, ostensibly for breaking their "rules", a funny thing happens... it suddenly becomes a _potential_ public policy issue.
                            That's true, but it very much depends on why the person was thrown out. Considerations like race, religion, age and gender have never been issues here. It's about behavior and interaction with the other members.

                            There's also the fact that the people making the decisions are not paid employees. That's not a determining factor by itself, but it's a big one.

                            It's very common for the moderators and members to warn people not to base too much of their incomes on their presence here. Even without the potential for being banned, that's just too precarious a position to encourage people to put themselves in. The board could be down for an extended period, could get shut down, or any number of other things that could go wrong.

                            Add in the fact that no effort is made to harry people outside the forum for having been banned in the forum, and you're going to have a hard time making a case that someone is unfairly disadvantaged by being removed.

                            This is especially true when you're talking about an anonymous non-entity, of which the only thing anyone knows is their words. No bank or restaurant or bar is required to serve people who enter wearing a mask.


                            Paul
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                            • Profile picture of the author agc
                              Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                              This is especially true when you're talking about an anonymous non-entity, of which the only thing anyone knows is their words. No bank or restaurant or bar is required to serve people who enter wearing a mask.

                              Paul
                              You've made reference to this twice now, so it must be rubbing you quite the wrong way.

                              For what it's worth, I don't really care if the forum members know who I am. Anyone who wants to know can send me a PM and I'll share my real name. However, do I happen to have a full time job that pays me wayyy more than I'm worth. The less my very corporate employer knows about my internet activities (and my burning desire to walk in one say singing a Johnny Paycheck song) the better.

                              See? Not everything is about you. Sometimes people do things for reasons that have nothing to do with you.

                              Now this even ties back to the original post, which I happen to agree with by the way. But it does seem worth mentioning that not every use of anonymity is necessarily an attempt to violate a TOS.

                              If you'd like, I can make up a nice name and put it on my profile. Some places require "real names" and I have no problem dreaming one up special just for them.

                              So if I had a real sounding name on my profile then you would maybe start treating me like a real person?
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                              • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                                it does seem worth mentioning that not every use of anonymity is necessarily an attempt to violate a TOS.
                                That's hardly news. I was aware of that over 20 years ago, when I was moderating dial-up BBS's and a Fidonet echo. And there is nothing in the TOS here that requires that people use a real name. If they don't, they just get taken less seriously.

                                Yes, you can make up a fake name. Happens all the time. It does create challenges for the poster if they get banned, unless they're noticeably more clever than the average.

                                That's beside the point, though. I mentioned it because it directly related to your suggestion that if YOU got banned, it might raise public policy issues. When someone is known only by their words, it's difficult to see them finding a way to make it about the kinds of discrimination the law forbids to private entities.

                                I addressed both the general and the specific cases.


                                Paul
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                                • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                                  Depending on a lot of things... but that COULD be a lot like Google telling people not to base too much of their income on their adsense account, or Microsoft saying not to base too much of your business on their software.
                                  It could be, if the Warrior Forum were anything like the kind of market dominator that Google is in search, or that Microsoft is in office software or operating systems. But it's not. Not even remotely close.

                                  Combine that with the fact that entering as a competitor in the market of IM-based discussion boards has an absurdly low cost, and it's not anything like the same sort of situation.

                                  You could easily start a competing board with free software (the Simple Machines script is pretty nice for a freebie) and an inexpensive hosting account. $20 could get you into the game.


                                  Paul
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                                  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                                    BTW, I didn't say you, as in this forum, did that. I was pointing out the public policy issue in a general sense.
                                    Understood. I don't have any interest or say in how other places are run, though. They're none of my business, in any sense of the word.


                                    Paul
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                                • Profile picture of the author agc
                                  Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                                  That's beside the point, though. I mentioned it because it directly related to your suggestion that if YOU got banned, it might raise public policy issues. When someone is known only by their words, it's difficult to see them finding a way to make it about the kinds of discrimination the law forbids to private entities.
                                  Who said I'm known on Facebook only as words and not as a name?
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                              • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                                Banned
                                Originally Posted by agc View Post

                                You've made reference to this twice now, so it must be rubbing you quite the wrong way.

                                For what it's worth, I don't really care if the forum members know who I am. Anyone who wants to know can send me a PM and I'll share my real name. However, do I happen to have a full time job that pays me wayyy more than I'm worth. The less my very corporate employer knows about my internet activities (and my burning desire to walk in one say singing a Johnny Paycheck song) the better.

                                See? Not everything is about you. Sometimes people do things for reasons that have nothing to do with you.
                                Just to be clear, the anonymous thing by itself does not get someone banned. As Paul mentioned, it's primarily about how you interact with others and about not breaking the rules. Members here "are moderators" to a certain extent and when they feel someone is being downright rude ... making an issue a personal attack rather than a discussion, members are quick to use the report button and I have seen that work very quickly first hand.

                                That does not mean that people don't have lively, and even heated discussions here. They do. This thread is testimony to that. In fact, this thread is testimony to the fact that when it's between two people and goes over the line, it's usually overlooked.

                                How you interact with people is what gets you noticed here ... in a good way or a bad way and if you are consistently inflammatory, you can bet that members are going to use the report button and that is what will get you banned. Being anonymous just makes it that much easier for them, because they don't know you.
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                            • Profile picture of the author agc
                              Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                              Considerations like race, religion, age and gender have never been issues here. It's about behavior and interaction with the other members.
                              There are more ways to discriminate than there are names and words for them. BTW, I didn't say you, as in this forum, did that. I was pointing out the public policy issue in a general sense.

                              Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                              It's very common for the moderators and members to warn people not to base too much of their incomes on their presence here. Even without the potential for being banned, that's just too precarious a position to encourage people to put themselves in. The board could be down for an extended period, could get shut down, or any number of other things that could go wrong.
                              Depending on a lot of things... but that COULD be a lot like Google telling people not to base too much of their income on their adsense account, or Microsoft saying not to base too much of your business on their software. basically just because you tell people not ot depend on it, doesn't mean it's can't be a public policy issue.

                              I seriously wonder how Google gets away with how they run their business. Any liberal senator worth 2 cents should have shredded their business practices years ago. I think people are being paid. Cash. In briefcases. lol
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                    • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
                      Originally Posted by agc View Post

                      Just because people like to make up rules doesn't mean I have to follow them.
                      No, but while you are there scheming as to how to keep beating your head against a wall, I'm going through an alternate door I found, and am so far ahead of the game, you're eating my dust.

                      But please, keep beating your head against the wall, I'll just laugh at you all the way to the bank.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                    Caliban,

                    That's a possibility. To be fair, we have a LOT of anonymous people here who contribute and never get into that stuff. It's just far more likely for someone to take swipes when they're anonymous than when they're using their real names.


                    Paul
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                    • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
                      Paul,

                      Talking about discriminatory practices, I feel lately you are discriminating against the decent members of the forum.

                      You spend so much of your time dealing with trolls, spammer and halfwits you don't seem to have time to initiate and nurture as many great 'thinking' threads as you did in the past.

                      Something must be done!

                      My lawyer will serve you a notice on Monday under California Penal Code Section 3,779 (Minimum Number of Great Threads A Forum Moderator Must Initiate Per Month).

                      Martin
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                    • Profile picture of the author agc
                      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                      Caliban,

                      That's a possibility. To be fair, we have a LOT of anonymous people here who contribute and never get into that stuff. It's just far more likely for someone to take swipes when they're anonymous than when they're using their real names.

                      Paul
                      By the way, did you scroll back up yet and notice that you were the one that took the first swipe, Junior? ;-)

                      I wonder why, when I use Facebook (for example) people find it difficult to also recognize that I am also referring to myself (for example)?

                      Is it the lynch mob mentality out to hang whoever they can their hot hands on?
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                      One man's terrorist is another man's patriot

                      Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground - Frederick Douglas

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                      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                        By the way, did you scroll back up yet and notice that you were the one that took the first swipe, Junior? ;-)
                        Didn't need to. I knew exactly what I was looking to find out when I used that term. And you told me what I wanted to know. BTW, if you consider "junior" to be a swipe, you've got too many strings that are too easily pulled.
                        Is it the lynch mob mentality out to hang whoever they can their hot hands on?
                        I always find it interesting when someone considers a shared set of beliefs to be evidence of a conspiracy or a sign of irrationality.

                        The idea that the force represented by law is the only legitimate regulator of social interaction is an indication, in my mind, of a person who may not be worthy of being trusted with unregulated access to the property of others. This is more true online, because there are so few legal restrictions that are enforceable over national borders, and it's so easy for people to rationalize their way to abusing someone else's property.

                        It's also a moderately reliable indicator of someone who's prone to obsessive behavior.
                        I wonder why, when I use Facebook (for example) people find it difficult to also recognize that I am also referring to myself (for example)?
                        Already answered that. None of my business.

                        However, you did make it very clear that you're willing to invent lies (in the form of fake names) when it's convenient and will get you what you want. So, there's no special reason to believe you'd give Facebook your real name.


                        Paul
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                        • Profile picture of the author agc
                          Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                          Didn't need to. I knew exactly what I was looking to find out when I used that term. And you told me what I wanted to know. BTW, if you consider "junior" to be a swipe, you've got too many strings that are too easily pulled.
                          So you are saying that you intentionally bait people? Yet others are somehow expected to be held to some higher standard? Tsk Tsk.

                          Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

                          I always find it interesting when someone considers a shared set of beliefs to be evidence of a conspiracy or a sign of irrationality.
                          I seem to recall that at one time, the sun revolved around the earth, too. And how many were slaughtered in the crusades and burned in Salem?

                          And the single best way to run a company directly into the ground is to manage it by committee.

                          Are these conspiracies? Nah. But not all shares sets of beliefs are rational. If they were, we wouldn't have histrionics over health care, or gun control, or taxes, or Jesus in preschool, and so on.

                          As to matters of public policy and what can and can't be done with private property, my only real point is that these things are never nearly as black and white as people like to think.

                          People just love to make very subjective statements of opinion as if they were very objective statements of fact.

                          Sometimes they are reasonable people who are reducing the variables and complexity for the sake of discussion. Unfortunately, however, they are usually just one dimensional thinkers who get mildly uncomfortable when their oversimplifications have to map onto real world scenarios.

                          The degree to which I am or am not an honorable guy can not be reliably estimated through interactions where I may be playing devils advocate.

                          One could argue that the only really honorable person is the one who is willing to debate and explore _ALL_ the aspects and angles of an issue, not just the ones that suit his funny notions or don't make him uncomfortable and froggy.

                          By the way, Paul I have no real beef with you. I suspect you see my contribution for what it is... devils advocate and exploration of edge cases. If not, then I apologize for my unwelcome contribution.

                          Either way, I'm leaving this one behind.

                          John.
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      • Profile picture of the author George Wright
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        There are legit uses for proxies. I'm having a hard time thinking of one for marketing purposes, though. Anyone got any?


        Paul
        Yes a couple, So the webmaster won't know you are.... ooops sorry.

        George Wright
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      • Profile picture of the author webpromotions
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        There are legit uses for proxies. I'm having a hard time thinking of one for marketing purposes, though. Anyone got any?


        Paul
        Proxies are used by many CPA marketers, as you sometimes can't see the landing pages if you aren't in the country that particular campaign is targeted for.
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        • Profile picture of the author Elle Holder
          Originally Posted by Doug English View Post

          Proxies are used by many CPA marketers, as you sometimes can't see the landing pages if you aren't in the country that particular campaign is targeted for.
          Ditto!

          I'm in Canada, and I like to check my US offers before I promote them. In order to see the CPA offer, I need to use a US proxy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Steven,

    Google has policies about people using artificial methods to manipulate rankings. Believe it, if they had a problem with article marketing, places like EZA would not work well at all. Da Goog wants links to, and between, pages with real content that help their users find what they're looking for.

    I don't see the challenge there, as long as the content is useful. Of course, most of it is trash, but that's another story.

    As far as article spinning, I consider that the equivalent of littering. Really big littering.

    Here's another less obvious one: Automated backlink building. You could split all kinds of hairs with that practice. Is it as bad if you do the links only for yourself, and limit them to one per site? Maybe not, but it's still abuse if you're not going to participate. Offering it as a service for others probably does violate the terms of service of many sites. If the person for whom a profile is created, for example, never plans to use the site for anything but that link, I'd say it's a pretty clear cut case of abuse.

    Automated blog posting? Hard to see how you're going to do that in a way that adds value that's relevant with each post. More abuse.

    The fact is, most one-way automation of marketing functions is abusive. The vast majority of it is on a moral and ethical par with email spamming, and is every bit as destructive. If you doubt that, ask the people who own these sites how they feel about having their property used in those ways.

    Before any of you automation fans jumps in my face about that comment, ask yourself if you really believe that the people behind the sites would approve of your methods. If not, you've got no grounds to argue.


    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author ksandra
    I have been reading and observing and this is my opinion as someone learning IM.
    first I don't advocate anything BH as I really want to provide value with anything that I do.

    That being said, I have observed that there is a huge demand for activities that requires proxy because the people who use them get results and the only ones who say those results are short term are those who are already successful and have many point of leverage.

    When you are just starting, where are you supposed to get your leverage? I'am genuinely asking and would like an answer to this question because it will help people like myself more than just saying don't use proxy.

    I often hear people say create something great and people will help you promote it, but we've all been there so let's not forget; when you are just starting, whether online or offline, what do you have that is so great people will jump on board?

    Most of us start by searching themselves, and it takes time, hard times, to figure out who you are and what you have to offer. But we will never have the opportunity to go through those hard times unless we start the journey. And So we start the journey. The question again is where do we get leverage in the mean time to get the success that makes it so easy to say 'don't use proxy"?

    Please don't read this as me saying we should use proxies and do all those GH/BH marketing. I don't and so far it has led me nowhere, thus my question.
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  • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
    This is Marketing. Black-Hat and White-Hat ideals are irrelevant to marketing.

    I break rules, not morals. If its a rule, I'll find a way around it, because I can. I also don't give a crap about what anybody thinks of me. If I did, I wouldn't be making money.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by FaJeeb View Post

      This is Marketing. Black-Hat and White-Hat ideals are irrelevant to marketing.
      Only for some people, but at any rate, black hat is relevant to this forum. It's discouraged. Advocating it, if I remember correctly, violates the TOS of this site.
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
      Banned
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      • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
        Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

        What you do or don't do on your own and away from this forum is your own business. What you do on the forum becomes the business of a number of people.

        This forum has very few rules for very good reasons, something I struggled with for a long time. You will not find a way around any rules here, although you may think you have. Until someone notices

        Unlike a democratic society, no one here has any "Rights" or due process - and you can't "Clubhouse Lawyer" your way out of gaming the few rules Allen has implemented. If Allen or a Mod or even the members think you're doing so, it's going to escalate to a point where you'll learn that Allen will outgame you every time.
        Sure, but don't assume my own morals go against the rules of this forum.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by FaJeeb View Post

          Sure, but don't assume my own morals go against the rules of this forum.
          No one has to assume anything about your morals, because you said...
          "If its a rule, I'll find a way around it, because I can."

          and

          "Black-Hat and White-Hat ideals are irrelevant to marketing."

          It's your own words that are being challenged as they pertain to this forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheNightOwl
    @PaulMyers...

    Perhaps I've misunderstood this comment:

    >>> before you get into calling anyone a hypocrite,
    >>> I'll have to warn you... This really is my stone
    >>> to throw.

    Or maybe I understood it just fine and I'm wrong. But...

    Remember when those forum-backlinking packages first became all the rage? There was a thread at that time in which I voiced my opinion that it's nothing more than spamming the web. That it's "[r]eally big littering". I think I compared it to going round to someone's house, quietly pissing in the corner when they weren't looking, and then leaving -- never to return -- complimenting them with a smile on what a lovely place they have.

    Naturally, there was vociferous disagreement.

    On the other side of the coin, though, about 40 folks hit the ThanksButton on that post, too, so it's not as if everyone here just automatically thinks such practices are tickety-boo.

    That thread was -- surprise, surprise! -- nuked, for whatever reason.

    Anyway, what I'm getting at here is that I was a little taken aback when not long after that, you promoted one of those packages to your list.

    That confused me. (Although, perhaps, you've changed your position on the issue.)

    And, consequently, I was a little confused by the the stone comment, above, as well as this one about SocialBookmarking:

    >>> If the person for whom a profile is created, for example,
    >>> never plans to use the site for anything but that link, I'd
    >>> say it's a pretty clear cut case of abuse.

    But, hey, I guess I'm being a hypocrite; I don't use or outsource backlinking packages, I don't spin and submit junk articles en masse (or pay someone else to do it), but I do have SocialBot and run it occasionally.

    Speaking of which...

    =============================================

    @BigMike...

    I was also confused to see that you'd hit the ThanksButton on Paul's OP because your bots support proxy use. Then I read, further down:

    >>> I... sheepishly admit our software supports those abilities
    >>> because customers demand it. And it's why we no longer offer
    >>> those particular products as WSO's - we stopped doing it long
    >>> before Allen implemented rule #7.
    >>>
    >>> I can't, in good concious, make an offer to members and possibly
    >>> mislead them into buying and using a product based on my name or
    >>> post count here and leave them thinking it's the right way to do
    >>> things.


    This, too, confuses me.

    If you don't think it's right to do it, why make your products compatible?

    Surely, either one does stuff in good conscience... or not.

    If your bots support proxy use and you tell readers how to configure bots for proxies in the User Guide, then how is that not "leav[ing] them thinking it's the right way to do things"?

    Or am I being naive? Do we just do stuff in good conscience when it suits us and SAY we couldn't do XYZ in good conscience because we've convinced ourselves that we, otherwise, do?

    Let's say I were a convenience store owner who objected to any form of what might be construed as pornography and as such elected not to stock ANY kind of skin-mag (even the stuff that lotsafolks think of as vanilla-tame-o). If lots of customers asked me to stock it and I told them I would rather not (I don't need to tell them why or be judgemental about their choices; just state that it's not my cup of tea and I don't want to be part of it), would they stop using my convenience store?

    Maybe.

    Who knows?

    Maybe they'd use my convenience store due to its, ahem, convenience when it suited them and go elsewhere (out of their way, perhaps) for their skin-mag fix.

    Maybe they'd stop using my store altogether because they think I'm some moral crusader out to tell them how to live their lives (even if I did no such a thing).

    Hard to tell what the ramifications would be.

    Would I go out of business on account of that?

    Probably not, I reckon.

    Would you if your bots didn't support proxies?

    Probably not, I reckon.

    So where DO you stand on the issue? Hitting "Thanks" on a post about proxy use in marketing probably being BH? Or advocating, by proxy (no less), their very use?
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnHuizinga
      Originally Posted by TheNightOwl View Post

      Let's say I were a convenience store owner who objected to any form of what might be construed as pornography and as such elected not to stock ANY kind of skin-mag (even the stuff that lotsafolks think of as vanilla-tame-o). If lots of customers asked me to stock it and I told them I would rather not (I don't need to tell them why or be judgemental about their choices; just state that it's not my cup of tea and I don't want to be part of it), would they stop using my convenience store?

      Maybe.

      Who knows?

      Maybe they'd use my convenience store due to its, ahem, convenience when it suited them and go elsewhere (out of their way, perhaps) for their skin-mag fix.

      Maybe they'd stop using my store altogether because they think I'm some moral crusader out to tell them how to live their lives (even if I did no such a thing).

      Hard to tell what the ramifications would be.

      Would I go out of business on account of that?

      Probably not, I reckon.
      This is somewhat relevant.
      washingtonpost.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Hey, use of proxies can be fun too!!

    Just watch some WSO's where the lack of sales turns into a self-talk with the use of proxies.

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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Kelsall
      Originally Posted by TheNightOwl View Post

      Or am I being naive? Do we just do stuff in good conscience when it suits us and SAY we couldn't do XYZ in good conscience because we've convinced ourselves that we, otherwise, do?
      I think that we would all be naive to think that in some way, shape, or form that all of us at some point have violated someones TOS.

      The guy that promotes forum marketing as a way to drive traffic in one of his products is ultimately encouraging some person to sign up to forums to get sig exposure - Which violates many forums TOS.

      The guy that tells the readers of his new super duper marketing guide to Go to Digg and bookmark his affiliate promotions - is encouraging that person to violate Diggs TOS.

      There are so many examples that can be pointed out here...

      BUT

      I think we all know that those are not the kind of things that Paul was talking about in his OP AND I don't think that anyone is naive enough to believe that people still are not going to do those things...

      BUT

      I'm curious to see where the "line will be drawn" on what is acceptable to be discussed in the open forum, and what is acceptable to be promoted via paid parts of the forum.

      BigMike would be an idiot not to include proxy support etc - If he didn't, he would probably have like 10 customers Just the same way that anyone that creates an affiliate marketing guide would be mildly stupid not to include the common main stream promotions methods - many of which are abused and result in many sites TOS to be violated.

      Hell, I threw my thanks up on Pauls post as well - Not necessarily because I agree with exactly what he is saying, but because I appreciate the fact that he is trying to keep the forum clean. The things I've learned from this forum, and the relationships that I've made here have made a HUGE impact on my life, and my ability to provide not only for myself, but more importantly for my family. I'd never want to see this place deteriorate to some 3rd rate BH forum whose major claim to fame was teaching people how to scam networks and affiliate programs out of money.

      I do feel that taking the phrase "breaking a site's TOS" too literally will cause many people to appear to be hypocrites though, and that people should definitely consider looking in their closets before springing into action in this thread though.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Kelsall
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Hey, use of proxies can be fun too!!

      Just watch some WSO's where the lack of sales turns into a self-talk with the use of proxies.

      Can you PM me the link? I need a good laugh this morning...lol
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    • Profile picture of the author Nigel Greaves
      You cynic Fernando
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
    Here's one good use for a proxy and I've used them for this purpose before.

    One day a while back I was blocking IP addresses from one of my sites and
    happen to block my own IP.

    I used a proxy to access my admin area where I
    then removed my ip address from the restricted list.

    The self inflicted problem was solved.

    Just my .02
    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Jeremy ... Well said.

    Caliban,
    I'm sorry, I thought "Nope" pretty much summed up some sort of denial that my position held water.
    Only the part I quoted. I was suggesting there was no "chicken and egg" problem, because there was no TOS involved to be either.

    FaJeeb,
    This is Marketing. Black-Hat and White-Hat ideals are irrelevant to marketing.

    I break rules, not morals.
    If you use someone's property in ways they specifically say are not acceptable, do you not see that as an ethical issue?

    NightOwl,

    An understandable confusion. I said there are legitimate ways to use those packages, as well as abusive ways. That's true of a lot of tools. For example, I have software to send bulk email. It could be used for spamming, but I only use it to send mail to customers and subscribers.

    Just like proxies. I mentioned that there are legit uses, but they're not the usual things that are discussed here.


    Paul
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

      I was suggesting there was no "chicken and egg" problem, because there was no TOS involved to be either.
      Ahh... I see. That's actually sensible.

      The chicken and egg problem isn't with the TOS, though - e.g. whether you were violating the TOS before you were subject to it, or something absurd like that.

      The problem I'm referencing is with the question of whether rankings make traffic, or traffic makes rankings. The former looks like a TOS violation, if you are subject to the TOS. The latter is definitely not. So whether you're violating the TOS (again, assuming you are subject to it) depends on your perception of which came first.

      There are a lot of weird theoretical things like this. I'm collaborating with another Warrior on a project, and very carefully checking through the TOS of the sites involved to make sure we're not leading people astray... and it's amazing how much stuff you can do that honestly isn't against the Google TOS. I keep thinking "okay, surely that's a violation" and then I look and it's not. In fact, I frequently see that these things are encouraged.

      There's often a subtlety, though. For example, Digg says it's against TOS "to submit stories or comments linking to affiliate programs" - but looking at this through the lens of someone who reads a lot of TOS documents, I think people misinterpret this. I think Digg is actually prohibiting links to pages which solicit people to join these programs... not any and all pages that may include affiliate links.

      Which begs the question, is it more productive to ask Digg, to play it safe (not Digging any affiliate links at all), or to assume permission (Digging your affiliate links in the expectation that you can ask forgiveness later)? And that's not an easy question.
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        Caliban,

        Yeah. There are a lot of situations like that, and they don't usually have obvious answers. They depend largely on the intent of the site owner, and two very similar sites can exist for very different reasons.

        There's also the fact that, in most cases, the written rules are the most basic, "Don't even think of doing this" sort of stuff. Any site owner can do whatever they want with their site, unless they've specifically said they won't in some sort of agreement with the users.

        That's where claims of "arbitrary behavior" and "censorship" come from. A lot of people refuse to accept that they don't have rights in someone else's property, and want to think the only rules that exist are the ones that are written. Then they compare forum rules with criminal law, which is absurd.

        I know... I'm going off on a tangent from your comments.

        For the folks who don't "get" it... The standards of evidence in criminal law (beyond a reasonable doubt) exist because the penalties are so potentially high: Complete loss of freedom. In civil law, the standards are lower - a preponderance of evidence. That's because the penalties are lower.

        The rules for private property are much less rigid. Barring certain forms of Isms, they pretty much amount to, "Because I said so."

        Mike mentioned that people don't get away with list-lawyering here. That's true largely because we have always openly acknowledged that the moderators have to make subjective decisions, and that their purpose is the good of the group as a whole. We have relatively few rules, substituting a set of standards in their place.

        Guessing what's allowed here based on the written rules would create the kinds of confusion you describe. Still, anyone with experience in normal social interaction would understand most of them intuitively.

        Gets messy.


        Paul
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        • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
          Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

          That's where claims of "arbitrary behavior" and "censorship" come from. A lot of people refuse to accept that they don't have rights in someone else's property, and want to think the only rules that exist are the ones that are written.
          It's actually the exact opposite: the only RIGHTS that exist are the ones that are written. If you own a forum, and you don't have an explicit written policy that says "you are allowed to say the word 'buburuboo' on this forum," you are entirely within your rights to ban someone for saying it.

          Where a lot of people get upset is in the confusion of having a right to do something, and doing that thing being right. It's just plain not right to ban someone for saying "buburuboo" unless they can be reasonably expected to know they shouldn't say it.

          But at the same time, you have to accept that in any enforcement of a set of rules, rank has its privileges. Because moderators can (and must) use their own judgment, and human beings frequently make mistakes, there will be a few decisions that are not right - but that the moderators have a right to make.

          It only seems arbitrary when you're on the sharp end of the stick, really. A good rule of thumb for people who complain about arbitrary censorship is to think about how they'd feel if the stick were pointed elsewhere... and if they're honest about it, chances are they wouldn't give a flying leap. I see a lot of people banned from forums for spamming when I think they're probably just a little clueless and could be educated... but I just plain don't care enough to make an issue of it.
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          • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
            Caliban,
            It's actually the exact opposite: the only RIGHTS that exist are the ones that are written.
            I think we're saying the same thing, but from different perspectives. That quote pretty much says what I meant with the last part of:

            "Any site owner can do whatever they want with their site, unless they've specifically said they won't in some sort of agreement with the users."

            We could quibble about whether those are rights or privileges, and how the difference between paid and free services affects that. That's not a nit worth picking here, though.

            As far as mods making mistakes... Hell yeah. We all do. The best we can hope for is that we don't make too many, or make the Really Big Ones. And we don't always agree on how things should be handled.

            The thing that makes it possible to do this and not go crazy is that we're not dealing with anything life-and-death. As big a place as it is, the WF is just a blip on the Internet. Only 1 person in 10,000 who has Internet access has an account here, and that's probably a high guess. Probably only 1 in every half million or so are active here.

            It's a lot more influential than those numbers make it look, but it's still a small part in the grand scheme of things.


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          • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

            It's actually the exact opposite: the only RIGHTS that exist are the ones that are written. If you own a forum, and you don't have an explicit written policy that says "you are allowed to say the word 'buburuboo' on this forum," you are entirely within your rights to ban someone for saying it.

            Where a lot of people get upset is in the confusion of having a right to do something, and doing that thing being right. It's just plain not right to ban someone for saying "buburuboo" unless they can be reasonably expected to know they shouldn't say it.

            But at the same time, you have to accept that in any enforcement of a set of rules, rank has its privileges. Because moderators can (and must) use their own judgment, and human beings frequently make mistakes, there will be a few decisions that are not right - but that the moderators have a right to make.

            It only seems arbitrary when you're on the sharp end of the stick, really. A good rule of thumb for people who complain about arbitrary censorship is to think about how they'd feel if the stick were pointed elsewhere... and if they're honest about it, chances are they wouldn't give a flying leap. I see a lot of people banned from forums for spamming when I think they're probably just a little clueless and could be educated... but I just plain don't care enough to make an issue of it.
            Let me be perfectly clear about this... I would definitely ban you
            for saying buburuboo on my site as a matter of principle...

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    • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
      Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

      FaJeeb,If you use someone's property in ways they specifically say are not acceptable, do you not see that as an ethical issue?
      You ask me how I feel or see a subject, but ask if I see it as ethical. In some countries, copyright theft is not illegal, and not unethical. In my current country, copyright infringement is very illegal. I do not condone copyright theft, I do not even download music. Very few from my generation can say that (and I have a CD collection to prove it). Despite a significant amount of WSO's I have purchased and read that contained watermarked stock photos, I do not agree with it's author having used these photos without obviously paying the person who really owns these photos. This is very common on one of the largest forms of media right now, YouTube. Despite this being common, thus almost challenging it being ethical in the sense that so many people don't care, and that's what ethics is. A collective judgment of moral standards.

      I morally do Not believe in people stealing copyrighted images and content and using it without permission, in fact, it pretty much pisses me off. However, it would be wrong for me, morally, to state my ethics and morals as law to someone else in the world living in a different society, and think poorly of them if they do not think the same that I do. I uphold my feelings.

      Like I said, do not assume that because I govern myself through my own morals instead of the ethics of my country as me saying that I choose to go against all ethics. It just so happens that I agree with most of them, even the small ones.

      For example, despite the legal specifics, if a marketer says:

      "Hello [Your Name Here]
      Check out my friend Bill Bobbings new and revolutionary new eBook on earning money through CPA and Adsense building micro niche sites. It's awesome! I went through it, it's amazing. Go buy it!"

      - some people take this as morally wrong, most now do not.

      To build a form of trust with somebody, tell them to buy a product you probably didn't even see a digital cover of, call this person your friend when you have never talked to them before in your life.. and then tell them to go buy their stuff because you make a decent commission... that could very well be morally wrong to a lot of people. Soon enough, the FTC could make this completely unethical, and thus, illegal.
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    One thing you need proxies for in CPA marketing is the following: Say you live in the US, and you are testing a Canadian offer. It will redirect to a different offer when you try to test it as you are in the US. So, you need to get a Canadian proxy to see how the offer will look to your targets. Same thing if you need to test a UK offer, etc. Sometimes it's not needed but sometimes it is; depends on the network. Most likely, it will be needed most by those outside of the US targeting US offers, and they need to see how the offer looks if you are in the US of A. So, yes, definitely some valid, non stinky blue fart reasons to use proxies.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by redicelander View Post

      One thing you need proxies for in CPA marketing is the following: Say you live in the US, and you are testing a Canadian offer. It will redirect to a different offer when you try to test it as you are in the US. So, you need to get a Canadian proxy to see how the offer will look to your targets. Same thing if you need to test a UK offer, etc. Sometimes it's not needed but sometimes it is; depends on the network. Most likely, it will be needed most by those outside of the US targeting US offers, and they need to see how the offer looks if you are in the US of A. So, yes, definitely some valid, non stinky blue fart reasons to use proxies.
      Beating Paul's original point like a rented mule...

      How often do you see legitimate reasons for using proxies, such as you gave, discussed on marketing forums? Very rarely, unless someone challenges people to list them.

      More often, you see tactics offered on how to get around safeguards to game things without regard to the various site owners. Like using proxies to set up multiple accounts on social sites or to spam Craigslist.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    A TOS is where a site owner clearly spells out what is allowed and what isn't in writing.
    Technically, that's true. There are things which are pretty uniformly considered Bad News, but may not be spelled out. This forum is a good example of that. There's nothing written about not signing up and dumping ads in your posts, but it's pretty clearly not welcome. Almost anywhere.

    People tend to forget that any system can be broken by the wrong kinds of abuse. Automated link building is that kind of abuse and, when it gets bad enough, the owners of the sites involved will have to change things. Those changes almost invariably hurt the people using the system in the ways it was intended to be used and which provide the most value.

    Yes, automated profile building may sound like a petty thing to gripe about. Back when I first joined this place, people said the same thing about email spam. I predicted that the problem would keep growing and eventually get to where it is now. I was told that was impossible. Those arguments were ridiculous comments by people who wanted to believe what was convenient, rather than what was obvious.

    If I turned off my filtering systems right now, the amount of spam that would hit my main mailbox would be at least 1500 messages a day. Probably closer to 2500.

    The fact that I don't have a TOS to send me email does not mean that I'm okay with every idiot in the world spamming the hell out of me. Or even sending me one piece of the wrong kind of unsolicited mail. There are too many such idiots in the world. As proof, consider that better than 90% of email traffic globally is spam.

    I know a guy who runs an ISP and says that his email infrastructure is 10 times what it needs to be to deliver legitimate mail. The rest is overburdened keeping the spam to a manageable level.

    We all pay for that.

    The lack of a written TOS or other proof that a thing is not welcome is not an indication that it's acceptable. The answer to that question has to be in line with, "What if everyone did this?" If automating a one-way marketing process would be destructive, you can rest assured that it's not a Good Thing.

    There are things so small that they don't matter. Many of them are forbidden only to keep larger abuses from getting started. I don't quibble over much of that, as long as what's done is not destructive and is within the spirit of the site. That's their business. For the most part, those things involve direct human activity, done by the person who benefits from it. They rarely involve automation.

    If your actions - speaking generically here - threaten to destroy a system I use and support, for your benefit and at my expense, you are The Enemy. Do not be surprised if the lack of a written TOS fails to protect you from the consequences of that status.


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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Razer,
    If someone can point out how these backlink packets can be used in a non-abusive way, or how they actually do good in some way (and can prove it), I would be delighted to hear about it.
    Simple. Pick sites where you can deliver value and do it.

    Is that the way they're mostly used? Not likely. But that's the way I advocate using them, and only manually.

    As far as me advocating them, you're missing something. My newsletter has a consistent context. People who read it and aren't members of the various IM forums see what I mean and how I think things should be done. They know my approach. They might not agree with it, but they know what I'm suggesting.

    I've also quit referring people to any of them since this whole business of automating them has gotten bigger. Once I noticed it promoted within one of the products, that was the end of it for me.

    Here's another example. I regularly suggest that people use bulk email. You know the context in which I use the term, but a lot of people who haven't been here for long or who don't get my newsletter may not. To them, it could sound like I'm promoting spamming.

    Can bulk email be abused? Of course. Is it an inherently bad thing? No.

    Context, my man. Context.


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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
      Originally Posted by Razer Rage View Post

      It may interest you to know that your "Empires" ebook contains a short promotional blurb near the end that promotes them. Maybe it's just an oversight? Or am I missing something else? (very likely).
      and Paul said

      I agree that no-one is completely innocent. The system is built to handle the small and/or unintentional transgressions gracefully. There's "give" in it. There has to be in any human-involved process. The problem becomes big when there's an economic incentive, easy automation, and low cost of entry.
      We have all recommended something (or someone) and later rescinded that recommendation as we learn more or because that something or someone has joined the dark side of the Force.

      I think there are two key points in this discussion.

      1. Intent

      We cannot prove someone's intent, but we can have a damn good guess. As a site owner, that's all you need to ban someone from your site.

      Sometimes site owners make errors when they ban users.

      Tough titty.

      It's not like they sent you to prison or murdered your firstborn.

      You just can't use their website.

      There are another 6 quidrillion zillion websites on the net - go and play on those.


      2. Damage done.

      The more experienced you are, the more you should be aware of the damage you do to a website by breaking its TOS. If you choose to go ahead, you are making a conscious decision to be a vandal. You can justify this to yourself by saying, "Oh, that's a stupid TOS".

      And I can say my friend's rule that guests shouldn't spit on his carpet is a stupid condition, too. He can always clean the carpet after my visit or buy a new one, can't he? Why is he so anal?

      As for the wider issue of littering the web with spun articles, spam links, spam blogs . . .

      I've been in a couple of those arguments before. Apparently, I'm a bleeding heart liberal and luddite who doesn't understand the finer points of manifest destiny.

      I think we have a duty to nurture the internet and keep it 'clean'.

      It's not just a question of ethics. It's good business practice. Because of all the shysters, hucksters and spammers online you are getting more and more restrictive government regulation.

      These people are giving the government excuses to introduce more laws so Chinese-style censorship in the USA, Europe and Australia is looming closer every day.

      And just because people think "That's a stupid TOS . . ."


      Martin
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Jeremy,

    Nobody intends to talk past other people. It happens when communication breaks down for whatever reason. Usually because one or more people are more intent on making their point than in understanding the other guy's.

    Get a little ego invested in an argument, and we're all potentially stupid in that way.

    As far as your main point... I agree that no-one is completely innocent. The system is built to handle the small and/or unintentional transgressions gracefully. There's "give" in it. There has to be in any human-involved process. The problem becomes big when there's an economic incentive, easy automation, and low cost of entry.


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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    Razer,

    I'd forgotten about that. The revised version is uploading now. Thanks.


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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    The thing is ....

    I personally don't care if we can discuss black hat techniques, automation that violates a site's TOS, proxies, etc., but this rule is not enforced in the WSO section. Just checking right now and it's full of techniques that would violate site's TOS.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      First, to Paul...

      If I turned off my filtering systems right now, the amount of spam that would hit my main mailbox would be at least 1500 messages a day. Probably closer to 2500.
      When we moved from Nebraska to Florida, there was a gap of a few weeks in my Internet access. So I had to rely on the public library. During that time, someone scraped some old posts on Usenet or something and added some of my addresses to a popular spam list.

      At the height, right before my host shut down the email function, I was getting over 100,000 emails per day. We couldn't delete them fast enough.

      Moving on...

      People advocating profile linking as harmless because it's just a few bytes that don't use bandwidth, etc. may not realize the consequences when 50 or 100 or ??,??? drop those 'harmless' links.

      What happens to the ranking of that programmers' forum and its Pagerank when it suddenly sprouts thousands of links to ED, dating, get-your-ex-back, pharma, porn, organ enlargement, and so on sites? Any chance it might lose some of its relevance in the search algorithm? What happens if the algo decides that some of those harmless, out of the way links are to bad neighborhoods?

      The abusers - automated, semi-automated and otherwise - have their hands firmly around the golden goose's neck and they're squeezing hard...
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      • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
        Banned
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

          That's OK John because the rest of us are squeezing the Golden Goose's ass as fast as we can to grab all the golden eggs she's dropping.
          Mike, I wasn't talking about you. Incansoft builds and sells the tools - if you check your records, I have several of them. Whether I use those tools responsibly is up to me.

          Just because some nimrod makes a pipe bomb is no reason to stop making plumbing supplies. Or plumbing tools.

          We just don't need to be instructing idiots on how to use plumbing supplies as a weapon of destruction, even though most of the idiots who do so are absolutely convinced of their right to do so.

          Goosing the golden goose to make her lay golden eggs is one thing. Wringing her neck in an attempt to get all the golden eggs at one time is another...
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  • Profile picture of the author Deepak Media
    People who cross the line a.k.a. use black hat techniques are building a sand castle. They think of themselves and not about the customers or the value that they should be creating to the world which has given so much to them. In plain words they are greedy - which is defined by wanting to get something more by providing little or nothing in return.
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  • Profile picture of the author MKing75
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    • Profile picture of the author sanssecret
      You know this started out looking like it was going to be a great thread, (even though I still don't have much idea of proxies, I'm of the opinion I'm best left that way) so how come a lot of the posts just got to be a slanging match?

      @BigMike - I think your reply to the misinterpretation of your comment is one of the best posts I've read. Maybe you shouldn't have to go to such lengths, but hell it made for good reading. And I apologise, I thought it was a dig as well. In hindsight I think it was because of the previous squabble or maybe just my age or something. Who knows? Anyway, I'm sorry.

      @Paul - great to see the quick response in relation to instantly uploading an 'updated' version of one of your books. Big Kudos in my eyes.

      As for this:

      Seriously? Are you really trying to say that you lack the simple intelligence required to figure out that there may be LOCAL LAWS against doing whatever I want in your house? Really?

      Or was your point that it's the laws where I am at "at the moment" that matter? Because in the context of this thread, it's the same exact set of laws. Your local laws are of no concern to me when I'm in my living room accessing the internet.

      If I ELECTRONICALLY come into your "home", and I happen to live on the sovereign island of bumbleferk where there is no law against it, then yes, I need have no concern for your TOS. Perhaps you can get your panties sufficiently twisted that you lobby and convince your government to declare war on bumbleferk. At which point my local government will likely enact some local laws. At that point I just might care.

      And again, all of this is entirely 100% grade a academically consistent, even in the intellectual cesspool of the internet, with my very simple original statement.

      You may now untwist your panties and sit down. You are dismissed.

      God how I do so love teh intarwebs.
      I find this totally offensive. Which button do I hit, 'report post' or 'hit infraction'?
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        San,
        how come a lot of the posts just got to be a slanging match?
        That will happen any time you question someone's way of making money. You should have seen what it got like years ago, when we kicked out the spammers and the people who sold them their tools and lists. That went way beyond name-calling.
        I find this totally offensive. Which button do I hit, 'report post' or 'hit infraction'?
        As a general thing, you'd report the post. If you see me responding to something, there's no need. The poster reported himself.


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        • Profile picture of the author sanssecret
          Thanks Paul.

          Had to stop myself going off on a rant of my own lol. Now there's a use for a proxy thing. :p
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      • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
        Banned
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        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
          For the record, agc, if this were my forum, you'd be history by now.

          I now return you all to your regularly scheduled forum thread.

          (walks away shaking head at the attitudes of some people*)

          *word used very loosely in this case.
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  • Profile picture of the author Floyd Fisher
    Look, there is zero reason to violate a sites TOS.

    If you don't like how they do business, just take your business down the street to someone you like better.

    Why keep ramming your head against a wall when all you get for your troubles is a concussion? Search for a door, open it, and walk through it. Now you are doing the same thing, and you don't have that nasty splitting headache bothering you.

    Sheesh, is it that hard?
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  • Profile picture of the author manning
    Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

    Enough with the BS about proxies and the like.

    If you need to use proxies to do something, the odds are very good that you're using the site in a way the people who run it don't want. They're almost as high that you're explicitly violating the site's TOS. Advocating that in this forum is not allowed.

    Yes, I know it happens. It's very widespread, in fact. So is shoplifting, and I'm not in favor of that, either.

    I also know that there are legitimate uses for proxies. They don't really have much to do with creating multiple accounts on various sites, which is the big thing people relate them to in the discussions I'm talking about.

    Feel free to discuss these topics. Just do it somewhere else.


    Paul
    Breaking a website's TOS is not illegal. Shoplifting is illegal. Why are you comparing them?

    I'm 100% against marketing techniques that require to do illegal activities, like spam. I'm also obviously against outright scams.

    And I'm NOT against breaking a website's TOS.

    If you choose to respect every site's TOS, then it's unfair competition, because, most probably, 95% of your competitors don't respect them.

    SEO is the main reason why people break a website's TOS. Is there a particular business model or a particular niche in which you can do well without SEO? How about without spending a 5-, a 6-, or even a 7-figure investment to create a great website, with great content, and pay for upfront marketing costs to get some buzz about the website and *hope* to get enough backlinks to rank well?

    Then their is the paid advertising option. But is it really an option in a market where you are competing against people who rank well in Google? They can sell a product for $7 and make a profit, while you'll still be struggling to break-even selling the same product for $20.

    It is sad, but most people are not playing by the rules, so if you want to have a chance at winning, you need to play the same way.

    Or you need a lot of money

    Oh, and by the way, the same thing applies to real-life, brick-and-mortar businesses.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Originally Posted by manning View Post

      Breaking a website's TOS is not illegal. Shoplifting is illegal. Why are you comparing them?

      I'm 100% against marketing techniques that require to do illegal activities, like spam. I'm also obviously against outright scams.

      And I'm NOT against breaking a website's TOS.

      If you choose to respect every site's TOS, then it's unfair competition, because, most probably, 95% of your competitors don't respect them.

      SEO is the main reason why people break a website's TOS. Is there a particular business model or a particular niche in which you can do well without SEO? How about without spending a 5-, a 6-, or even a 7-figure investment to create a great website, with great content, and pay for upfront marketing costs to get some buzz about the website and *hope* to get enough backlinks to rank well?

      Then their is the paid advertising option. But is it really an option in a market where you are competing against people who rank well in Google? They can sell a product for $7 and make a profit, while you'll still be struggling to break-even selling the same product for $20.

      It is sad, but most people are not playing by the rules, so if you want to have a chance at winning, you need to play the same way.

      Or you need a lot of money

      Oh, and by the way, the same thing applies to real-life, brick-and-mortar businesses.

      You are certainly free to break any site's TOS that you like...just as it
      its the right of that site to ban you from using it for doing so, or in the
      case of Google, to deindex every single one of your sites that it chooses.

      So sure, by all means play that game if you want.

      Just be ready to accept the consequences if you get caught.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by manning View Post

      And I'm NOT against breaking a website's TOS.

      If you choose to respect every site's TOS, then it's unfair competition, because, most probably, 95% of your competitors don't respect them.
      And then there's the very smart WHATEVER% (very small) that use the network within the guidelines that were intended for their businesses by building interactive, fun, well-branded pages for their customers. These are the companies that know how to market ... they don't need to rely on the old "throw a bot a site and wreak havoc" model.

      These companies know how to use social networking sites to their advantage and they have tons of followers and friends because they offer something people want ... the same thing that drives people to social networks to start with .... being social. These companies know what competitive advantage is.
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        Manning,
        Breaking a website's TOS is not illegal.
        Oh? You may want to check into that. There's a thing called contract law. And then there's conversion. And probably others that I'm not thinking of at the moment. Any/all of them may apply.
        Shoplifting is illegal. Why are you comparing them?
        Because they represent the same thing: Actions that are usually small in impact when taken in isolation, which can add up to a threat to the existence of the target entity.
        If you choose to respect every site's TOS, then it's unfair competition, because, most probably, 95% of your competitors don't respect them.
        If you can't find a way to operate a business and provide value for people that does not depend on stealing, you don't belong in business. That goes for you and your "competitors" in the parasite game.
        Is there a particular business model or a particular niche in which you can do well without SEO?
        Yep. Bunch of 'em. If you're clever, I suspect that could be changed to "all of 'em."

        You make the spammer's mistake when you describe things as "unfair competition." What you're talking about is uneven competition, which has nothing to do with fair. It is simply a fact of reality.

        What's unfair is stealing someone else's resources for your own benefit, and especially to their detriment, and claiming that's okay. That's exactly the same logic applied by the amateur email spammers back in the early days. They claimed that any attempt to stop them was unfair, and a plot on the part of the big players to keep the little guy out of the competitive ring.

        The definition of "unfair" is not "failing to let us have whatever we want, whenever and however we want it."


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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
    didnt this thread start out as...

    WE DONT CARE WHAT YOU DO OFF THE FORUM, YOU AINT DOING IT HERE

    Seems a simple rule to me, and hardly going to kill people or drown them in any unfair competition and all the rubbish printed up here.

    Pauls just saying you want to be a dick, be a dick somewhere else
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      Originally Posted by nichemarkets View Post

      Question..

      If posts that advocate breaking a site's TOS aren't welcome here on the WF, then why are WSO's that encourage black-hat techniques allowed to be posted on the WSO board for a $20 fee?

      :confused:
      Pretty much that exact same question was asked in post #107 and answered here in post #108.

      Cheers,
      Becky
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Since I did not quote anyone's posts, my post was simply my own observation and I'm sure this thread would have been toast some time ago if it had come down to these types of attacks on others started by someone else. In particular, I don't debate with you, since I was personally attacked by you for expressing my opinion in a thread ... one that was somewhat similar to this one in that is was discussing WSOs that violate the TOS and calling people out publicly on this forum. In case you haven't noticed, Paul addressed the violation of WSOs already in this thread, and while he cannot elaborate on it, the WSO forum is being "worked on" and I'm sure that resolving the WSO problems is in completely capable hands.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      John,
      Feeding people pork rinds is perfectly legal here, I believe.
      It is not legal to distribute deliberately mislabelled food products in the US, and that's where the flaw lies in your argument.

      If you snuck such things into a country where they were forbidden by mislabeling them, that's illegal. If you sell them to people who know what they're really buying, that is also illegal, but not unethical.


      Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
    So you are saying that you intentionally bait people? Yet others are somehow expected to be held to some higher standard? Tsk Tsk.
    If the bait is that small, sure. There are plenty of people in this thread who've chummed the waters with much larger and bloodier samples than "junior." You may have noticed that they haven't been hassled for it.
    As to matters of public policy and what can and can't be done with private property, my only real point is that these things are never nearly as black and white as people like to think.
    Make that "not usually" and I'd agree with you on that point.

    On the issue of shared belief systems and rationality, the examples you give are pretty far off the subject matter. It's not especially irrational for a group of people to advocate respecting the rights of others by NOT stealing their resources without permission, or against a specific statement of intent by the owner.
    I suspect you see my contribution for what it is... devils advocate and exploration of edge cases.
    I have no particular reason to believe that statement.
    John
    Or that one.


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  • Profile picture of the author Doug
    Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

    Enough with the BS about proxies and the like.

    If you need to use proxies to do something, the odds are very good that you're using the site in a way the people who run it don't want. They're almost as high that you're explicitly violating the site's TOS. Advocating that in this forum is not allowed.

    Yes, I know it happens. It's very widespread, in fact. So is shoplifting, and I'm not in favor of that, either.

    I also know that there are legitimate uses for proxies. They don't really have much to do with creating multiple accounts on various sites, which is the big thing people relate them to in the discussions I'm talking about.

    Feel free to discuss these topics. Just do it somewhere else.


    Paul


    Paul,

    Shine a little light on things and all heck breaks out...so basically you pretty much want people to take their 'proxies' the @#$% outta here.

    Me thinks your point was missed to some degree.

    Doug

    PS - Totally agree with you on, "If you need to use proxies to do something, the odds are very good that you're using the site in a way the people who run it don't want, " as it seems obvious to me this is the case.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fallen_Angel
    I have a huge list of proxies, they are good for some things. Like blocking your ip, getting on sites that network forbids etc...
    For purpose of spamming forums or bookmark site id agree not a very tasteful practice but proxies but they can be handy like when your offline jobs network blocks facebook. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author sylviad
    Boy, I sure feel out of the loop on this issue. Proxies? The only use I've ever seen for them is when you can't be at an important meeting and have to send a proxy in your place so you don't lose your vote. :rolleyes:

    Sylvia
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  • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      There were some comments made in this thread that got way out of hand. Some fairly nasty stuff was said that doesn't need to be left hanging around. Especially since most of it wasn't true, and the rest wasn't important.

      I went through and removed everything that I found that contributed to that section of the thread, along with a few extraneous comments that just didn't add much. End result: over half the thread went away. It's a shame, since there was a lot of useful discussion amid all the heat and smoke.

      If you notice any inconsistencies in references, that's the cause.

      No-one was banned as a result of this. However, I should note that a person or two would be well served to ensure that this was a one-time slip on their part(s), and not a regular mode of discussion.


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      • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
        Paul, I apologize for my contribution to the hullabaloo. I don't believe I made it to the "take warning" stage but I'm sure it wasn't useful to the thread.

        I know that some people don't think it's that big of a deal to break another site's TOS "here and there" but most of us know there will always be those that take a mile when you give them an inch.

        When you think about it, we are contributing to shutting down some pretty good avenues of promotions, backlinks and exposure. Look at how many people don't allow do-follow links on blogs because the spam is just overwhelming. Or how many places now are simply not allowing links at all because some have abused the privilege so badly.

        I know that if I don't do it, there will probably be someone else that does, but maybe it will slow things down a bit so that new things stay useful for longer. It's worth a try.

        Tina
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          Tina,
          I know that if I don't do it, there will probably be someone else that does, but maybe it will slow things down a bit so that new things stay useful for longer.
          Maybe. That's hard to tell.

          The value I see in getting legitimate people to avoid these things is a bit different. In addition to the obvious intention of respecting the property of others, there's the impact on the industry in general. If the majority of the abuse comes from the kinds of dreck that's burying email, that creates one type of impression. If there's enough of the abuse coming from people with normal products, that turns the venom against everyone who sells online.

          There's also the long term impact on folks who avoid these approaches and learn more constructive ways to market. They aren't as likely to end up having the problems that come with sweeping changes in the way these sites handle things.


          Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Paul This is not in reference to any previous discussion which I said I would and did withdraw from but coincidentally I came across something that I think is VERY relevant to your OP and I thought of it instantly. I was browsing through the front page or the War room and came across this thread

    Web 2.0 Resources - Get (. I'll leave the rest out. I've never referenced or linked to a War room post before and don't know the policy)

    You can look it up. Its at this moment on the front page. The PDF within that offer advocates using links on third party sites, it gives SEVERAL sites AND it also endorses the use of proxies. I think you will understand why I reference it for this discussion when you see who made that post.

    NOt ANY KIND OF INDICTMENT AT ALL - It wouldn't be I am a backlink package seller

    BUt I think it might give you an understanding of why things can be spelt out a little better so people KNOW what is acceptable and not. At this point I do not know whether you consider backlink packages okay or are just referring to proxies. In light of that post I think it fair to know so that I and other backlink package sellers and service providers are given the chance to comply not just be banned without warning.

    Incidentally John I have no recollection of what you are talking about. . As anyone can check my post history I haven't been involved in any off topic subject in a LONG time. Just saying that to let you know I hold no ill will . I don't even remember any such thing but we can both leave it there.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Mike,

      Thanks. I'll take a look after I get some sleep.

      We haven't got that all ironed out yet, but you may be sure no-one who's selling something now will get banned for it without notice of the policy adjustments and the opportunity to end/not renew the offers. That would be grossly unfair.

      We're not looking to punish people. Just clean up some stuff that's gotten out of hand.


      Paul
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Mike,

        Thanks. I'll take a look after I get some sleep.

        We haven't got that all ironed out yet, but you may be sure no-one who's selling something now will get banned for it without notice of the policy adjustments and the opportunity to end/not renew the offers. That would be grossly unfair.

        We're not looking to punish people. Just clean up some stuff that's gotten out of hand.


        Paul
        Great to hear. Thats quite fair. Thanks
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