4. How to advertise on Usenet

There are acceptable ways to advertise in Usenet newsgroups.

  1. The on-topic notice

    If you have a product or a message that is specifically related to a particular Usenet newsgroup, and you want to let people know about it, it's usually all right to post one notice about it.

    Note the word "notice." A notice is a brief mention of the product with information about how interested persons can find out more. It's not a sales pitch. It's not an advertisement. It's not a "BUY BUY BUY" sort of message. It's a notice.

    You are encouraged to make such postings one-time-only. When your polite informational notice starts getting posted every week, people are going to start getting irked at you.

    You are also strongly encouraged to keep such postings hype-free. What often works very well is to post information about your services or product and include a contact address, World Wide Web site, or phone number for people to use to get more information.

    This is not to say that on-topic notices will always be welcome; the proliferation of inappropriate advertisements (ads posted in the wrong way to the wrong place) has resulted in all ads, even informational notices posted to appropriate newsgroups, tending to get a cold shoulder. You can help by limiting your ads to informational postings posted only where appropriate, and abiding by any local restrictions a given newsgroup's readers have placed on advertising.

  2. *.forsale and *.marketplace newsgroups

    There are many newsgroups directly involved in selling. You can generally spot them by the word "forsale" or "marketplace" in their names.

    For example, the misc.forsale.* hierarchy is full of newsgroups for buying and selling various computers, monitors, printers, devices, and so forth, as well as misc.forsale.non-computer.*, for selling stuff that's not computer-related. However, the misc.forsale.* policy is rather resistant to *commercial* ads - the hierarchy is intended as a place to post classified-style ads.

    Many parts of the Net have local hierarchies as well where you can post for-sale and want-to-buy ads.

    For example, Oxford has the ox.for-sale group, where classified-style ads are the order of the day.

    It's generally considered rude, though, to crosspost a notice about your product to every forsale newsgroup, even ones on the opposite side of the country or world. Post your notice only to your local forsale newsgroup, if one exists.

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