Originally Posted by greenland
Last thoughts on the subject.
If you go to the most used search engine on the planet, Google, and perform this test search. Plasma TV. Notice who comes up as a site to go to. Same when you search for LCD TV, and also when you enter DLP TV. The vendor that a lot of people wanted blocked from AVS, comes up on the return page on Google. I would imagine that generates a hell of a lot more traffic than AVS does. No matter how one gets linked to a vendor site, why would anyone feel that it is OK for them to let down their consumer awareness guard. If you OK a vendor to charge your account before they have the order ready to ship and provide a tracking number, then nobody can protect you from your own lack of caution. Buyer Beware, Buyer Beware, Online Buyer you had better be more alert than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Anyone care to pester Google to stop linking users to a certain site that some want to have removed from AVS. Sauce for the goose, you know.
I don't believe this is an 'apples to apples' comparison for the following reason: when I go to Google and do a search, I know that what I'm getting back as search results are the result of either: 1) search engine optimization on the part of TVA, 2) paid Google ad space by TVA, or 3) traffic flow by other people resulting in a higher hit rate. Or said differently, results at Google are very clearly not attached or affiliated with Google.
The AVS Forum is clearly not Google. Even making the comparison is a serious stretch of credibility. Why?
First of all, there is are a limited number of advertisers on the AVS Forum, making it a much smaller universe of discussion.
Second, for business model purposes, AVS Forum prohibits "price talk" to protect their advertisers and forum sponsors, which is perfectly reasonable to me, but in the context of a badly performing advertiser / sponsor who is allowed to continue being an advertiser / sponsor and enjoy a somewhat cloistered competitive environment even in light of their bad performance / behavior, this starts to make less sense (to me).
Third being a generic advertiser on Google is quite different (in my mind, and likely in most people's minds) from being a "forum sponsor" -- especially in light of the price talk restrictions. Whether intended or not, it implies some sort of endorsement of a "quality product or service" on the part of AVS Forum of it's sponsors.
And last, but not least, and this is related to my first point, not only is the "space" here smaller (i.e. limited advertisers and community members), the value this Forum provides is in the expertise of it's Forum members. That value is based on long-term credibility of their experience, shared opinions, and technical expertise. In this environment, the truly valuable forum members end up rising to the top of the heep based on . . . . . [wait for it] . . . the perceptions and endorsements of others. An AVS Forum member who has been widely discredited, behaves unethically, or in general exhibits exceptionally bad behavior, would either be totally and completely ignored, or would at some point (one would hope) be banned by the Moderators (or at minimum have their offending posts removed). What it sounds like is bothering some people (myself included) is that TVA has exhibited some of the aforementioned bad behaviors, and because they pay their ad space fee, are still allowed to continue to participate, which is, in effect, a tacit endorsement or agreement by the folks who run the AVS Forum, which in effect says: "As long as your check to us doesn't bounce, you can continue to be a forum sponsor / advertiser."
[steps off soap box, crosses fingers]