Industry circles

This page outlines the general procedures and recommendations for an Industry Circle at Supporter level or above.

Opening a circle

Circles are created when you join at Sponsor level or above. Please first read and follow the information in Getting Started.

Once created, you must write a Welcome/Guidelines thread in the new circle to "kick start" it, and make it a sticky. This thread will be linked from the home page under a "Please welcome" banner, so make it good. Any existing threads that you have started in Industry Introductions (or Industry/Sponsored Threads if you are already an Industry Contributor) will also be moved to your new circle.

You will need to make sure that your current customers and prospective customers are aware of your circle:

  • Add a prominent link to your circle on the homepage of your website
  • Send an email invitation to join your circle to all existing customers

Guidelines and restrictions

Your circle is there to help you promote your audio business. You are also welcome to host more general audio discussions, topics about music, and so on. "Off topic" discussions are welcome but should constitute a fairly small proportion of the activity on your circle.

You are expected to conform to the same general principles as all other members and Facilitators. Items that you must read are:

Special note: please do not engage in:

  • STARTING THREADS WITH ALL CAPS TITLES. This is generally considered a cheap attention-getting tactic, and you will either be asked to stop it or the threads will be changed for you.
  • Constantly bumping threads for no good reason. Same as above. Let the discussion be "organic" is the most productive way to go.

Here are some specific things that are not allowed:

  • Religion and politics - these topics are strongly polarizing and little positive benefit is likely to come of it.
  • Posts or threads specifically intended to create controversy or pit members against each other.
  • Defamatory or disparaging remarks made about anyone.
  • Insulting or "calling out" anyone.
  • Disparaging remarks made about any audio product or its or manufacturer. (Verifiable facts of a technical nature are not considered disparaging. A measurement, or an analysis of a circuit, for example. However, any "interpretation" or "embellishment" with your opinion may be in violation of this rule.)

At Level 3 and above, other members of the audio industry can post in your circle with your approval (implicit or explicit). They are not permitted to promote unrelated products in your circle, but only products with a "substantial connection" to yours, and only if they are themselves an Industry Contributor. Resellers of your products, and your employees, are of course welcome to post in your circle about your products, whether they are Industry Contributors or not.

Please be aware that, while you are not directly responsible for bad transactions arising from a member's dealing with another vendor who is posting in your circle, you are nonetheless expected to accept responsibility for activity in your circle. In effect, you vouchsafe for the integrity of any industry member who posts in your circle.

You are encouraged to post classified ads for specific products in Industry Ads. The benefit of doing this is that these ads appear on the home page of the site, and do not scroll off as quickly as the regular list of topics.

It is assumed and expected that starting a circle means that you are committed to maintaining activity in it. If you are not posting in your circle weekly, then you should consider whether you can use it more effectively. If you have not posted in your circle in a month, we may contact you to discuss how to make it more active, or whether the Advertising level would be more appropriate for you.

Tips for effective use

The primary factor in making your circle successful is activity. Each time a post is made in your circle, people who have already posted in that thread will be notified, either by email, or if not, by the thread appearing in their "unread threads" list. Furthermore, the thread gets pushed onto the home page so anyone reading the site will see it.

You should be prepared to initiate discussions of interest to customers and potential customers, and respond to comments or questions in your circle. If a question goes unanswered, people will start to lose interest quickly. You don't have to be authoritative and substantial all the time, even a quick response or an expression of interest in the topic is far better than nothing.

Online vendors often find that their email load increases dramatically as business increases. Use your circle to make more effective use of your time, by:

  • Requesting that the person use your circle to ask the question
  • Posting questions and your answer in your circle
  • Asking other community members to assist in responding to questions

You should also use "sticky" threads to post key information that is repeatedly requested. We advise that such threads are not locked, as often members will ask clarifying questions in the thread, and often other members of the site will help. (Think of your circle as multi-way communication, not just one- or two-way.)

Closing your circle

If you decide not to continue as an industry contributor, your circle may be archived, deleted, re-purposed, dissolved, or merged, at the discretion of the Site Owner and Site Admin. The primary determinant for this decision is the effect on the community of users - in general, it is better for active contributing members that threads be allowed to continue where possible.

If you are planning to discontinue your contribution because you are not receiving benefit from your circle sufficient to justify its cost, you can contact us about keeping your circle open at a reduced rate for a specified period. A condition of any such arrangement will be that you take steps to promote activity in your circle, and that you intend to resume normal contributions after the specified period.

In rare circumstances, the Site Owner and Site Admin may determine that a circle shall be unilaterally closed. Examples of why this may occur would be that it has been neglected, is the source of serious member complaints, causes on-going administrative issues, or the industry contributor has been barred from or had their access to the site restricted.