Should all third party contributions (even commercial ones) be allowed here?

  • 9 December 2012
  • 6 replies

Userlevel 2
Right now moderators enforce, that

Promotion of commercial products is not permitted here.

Forum policy is not to allow the explicit exploitation of these forums for any commercial purposes outside of Sonos. This includes sales and support activity. To permit such operations could lead to conflicts of interest and a potential free-for-all.


Personally I think this is a policy which actually hinders Sonos to grow for specific target groups.
Any third party contribution (regardless of being paid or not) will fill some perceived gaps/limitation of the current Sonos offering thus increasing the overall market appeal of the system.
This forum is probably the only place where users looking for answers travel by to make an informed decision whether to invest into the Sonos ecosystem or not.

For instance it took me a long time until I realized that there were Windows Phone Apps (and it's a pain to find their names and there's also no reasonable discussion or comparison among them). There also seem to exist commercial extensions for home automation systems, which are hard to find.
I'm biased too of course: I'm about to release an alternative iOS App and of course loved to have it mentioned here officially in the future.

Don't get me wrong: allowing commercial contributions here of course is cheap advertisement for the author and I'm fully aware of that.
On the other hand - as written above personally I think this is a fair symbiosis. We third party authors (hopefully) do fill gaps and make the system more attractive so in the end also push Sonos sales. Furthermore we do our own advertisement on different channels which pushes Sonos as well.
Just as an example: once my Sonos App is published, I'm sure there will be a notice of that in the corresponding Squeezebox App some time 😉 I'll probably also will setup some Google Adwords.
It's the same with the other authors: I'm pretty sure people looking on the Win7 App Store searching for multiroom will also stumble about the name Sonos which they wouldn't if there weren't people like ControlAV doing appropriate marketing there.

Obviously I don't know about the past of the forum, where there have been some trouble probably:
In the past, certain vendors used these forums for not so thinly veiled spam, mentioning their brand of device in every thread that asked for advice on that type of device, whether it met the user's wishes or not. It got monotonous and annoying, so the mods/Sonos made the rule about commercial products.

So of course there should be some rules to have a nice living side by side.

Here is a suggestion for a policy. Don't know if it's complete, but lets treat it as a start for a discussion:
  • Commercial contributions should only be mentioned in the Unsupported Area. Authors of such contributions should confine themselves to one forum thread about their own contribution.
  • Contributions that are allowed in the Unsupported Area should be dedicated to extending the Sonos experience. I.e. adverts for multipurpose speaker cables / speakers / DACs still would be disallowed here.
  • If your contribution get's mentioned on other threads or is a perfect fit for a user question, do try to route discussion back to the Unsupported Area and the corresponding thread.
  • Be a kind citizen and don't try to market your product in each and every other thread outside the Unsupported Area. Moderators will watch closely and tell you if you go over the top.

How do you (community and moderators) think about it?
Would you feel uncomfortable if third party additions are allowed here?
Or do you think as well that this forum would be the right place to collect all information about the Sonos ecosystem regardless of whether additions are commercial or not?

Should third party contributions (even commercial ones) be allowed here?

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6 replies

I think if people could be trusted to abide by the rules you describe, then it would be a great addition to the forum. Unfortunately, people cannot be trusted to follow those rules. They will in fact push the rules to the limit (and beyond) and then cry foul on the Mods when they enforce them, causing more drama than it is worth. Sorry to say for those people offering commercial products that do follow the rules: You are judged by the lowest common denominator, and allowing your "well within the rules" posts only gives ammunition to those who willfully break the rules, then cry foul at your posts being allowed. The Mods have better things to do.
I don't think that I was here during the period where vendors of complementary products made a nuisance of themselves, alluded to by jgatie above and elsewhere, but I can imagine how it could easily happen.

I do think that Sonos, and the community of users, would generally be better off if there was a thriving ecosystem of add-ons and enhancements to fill the many gaps left in the official offering.

I don't think that Sonos does enough to facilitate, encourage, support or reward people trying to enrich the Sonos experience.

I don't feel that it is a good idea to invite vendors of paid products to operate in the Unsupported form, but perhaps a forum could be opened where this was invited.

I understand that the Mods probably could do without the associated hassle, but I think that the general community would benefit.
Userlevel 2
180 views of this thread and only 5 votes?

Well - I guess this way a lively and inspiring Sonos ecosystem is far far away.

Badge +5
jgatie expresses my opinion about this.
on the other hand, if its a separate part of the forum i can easily skip those threads.
Userlevel 2

on the other hand, if its a separate part of the forum i can easily skip those threads.

Would "The Unsupported Area" be good enough as a separate part of the forum?
Badge +5
I would prefer more separation, something like "Commercial discussions".
There people can advertise for their own apps, their excellent rip software and their tools for mounting your play5 onto the wall.