Author Topic: What's with the Dealer Zone?  (Read 3588 times)

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Offline Ned

  • Posts: 1147
What's with the Dealer Zone?
« on: March 29, 2007, 10:44 AM »
What's the point of the Dealer Zone?

If it's just to allow the dealers to describe themselves, that's fine with me.  Let's close each "topic" after they've done so.

If it's for dealers and their customers to communicate back and forth, that's fine, but I can't see why any of the rest of us would care about exchanges over, for instance, shipping damage.  I think all dealers have their own email addresses and telephones.

If it's to ask dealers questions that could have been asked in a more general part of the forum, that's not good.  I don't want 4 (or more) more places to check for answers on the FOG.

An example of the worst case scenario:  everyone starts posting all questions to Dealer X.  Dealer X's Dealer Zone then becomes the forum, with the surrounding forum becoming static.

Conversations with Dealer X about Festools can result in a post to FOG, if the topic would be of interest to others.  I've had conversations with dealers and Festool employees that resulted in all of us learning something, and I've tried to post that information.  I won't post it in the Dealer Zone, but someplace more appropriate.

Conversations with Dealer X about dealer-customer relations are private, and should remain so.

So, what's the point of the Dealer Zone?

Ned

Offline Dan Clark

  • Posts: 545
    • talkFestool
Re: What's with the Dealer Zone?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2007, 10:57 AM »
Ned,

The unfortunate issue is that for some people, Dealer posts especially with promotional content, are offensive.   For others, it's not a big deal and they ignore them.   The Dealer Zone is an attempt at finding a middle ground which will meet both needs.   

Check out my post here: http://festoolownersgroup.com/index.php?topic=540.0.  That should help explain it.   

Regards,

Dan.


Offline Ned

  • Posts: 1147
Re: What's with the Dealer Zone?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2007, 09:42 PM »
OK, Dan, I've read the thread you pointed me to.  A thorny problem. 

But my concerns about the Dealer Zone still stand.  How is it supposed to work?  Giving the dealers space to be more overt in their self-promotion would work--how?  Will they just be announcing to an "empty virtual room"?  Will they respond in other threads with "step into my parlor"?  Or will they encourage discussions in their parlors?  Would some of these discussions then perhaps be moved to the greater forum?  Would those moved discussions be edited to remove the self-promotion that was legit in the parlor?  I just see nothing but questions like this, which tells me the Dealer Zone is not a good idea unless it's simply billboards or business cards.  If you believe it can work, please tell me how.

FWIW, I have noted the slightly overboard self-promotion of McFeely's, and at the same time I value Shane's contributions.  All in all, I'm willing to live with things as they were.  Perhaps these discussions will encourage a slight cooling of the hype.

But back to my questions...

Ned

Offline Dan Clark

  • Posts: 545
    • talkFestool
Re: What's with the Dealer Zone?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2007, 11:58 PM »
OK, Dan, I've read the thread you pointed me to.  A thorny problem. 

But my concerns about the Dealer Zone still stand.  How is it supposed to work?  Giving the dealers space to be more overt in their self-promotion would work--how?  Will they just be announcing to an "empty virtual room"?  Will they respond in other threads with "step into my parlor"?  Or will they encourage discussions in their parlors?  Would some of these discussions then perhaps be moved to the greater forum?  Would those moved discussions be edited to remove the self-promotion that was legit in the parlor?  I just see nothing but questions like this, which tells me the Dealer Zone is not a good idea unless it's simply billboards or business cards.  If you believe it can work, please tell me how.

FWIW, I have noted the slightly overboard self-promotion of McFeely's, and at the same time I value Shane's contributions.  All in all, I'm willing to live with things as they were.  Perhaps these discussions will encourage a slight cooling of the hype.

But back to my questions...

Ned


Ned,

Unfortunately there's a fairly large number of people who are on the opposite side of the issue.  To be VERY clear on one point, this issue came to a head because a lot of people on the other side of the issue complained loudly, but not publicly.  What to you is a "slightly overboard promotion" is a slap in the face to other people.   I.e., it doesn't bug you, it bothers me slightly, but it bothers some people a lot!
 
Quite frankly, neither Matthew nor I have the time or energy to do this if it wasn't driven by user requests.   

How is it supposed to work?  Good question.  The intent of the rules is very clear - Dealers should provide help and advice in the User Zone.  And, it's even fine to post a link to one of their pages when someone asks a question about a product.  However, in the User Zone, it's not fine to extend a topic to try and sell people on other products.   

Frankly, if I was a Dealer, I'd see the Dealer Zone as a perfect place to promote the heck out of my company.  I'd have a weekly (daily) post about new products, tips on how to use the products, why I'm a great Dealer, etc.  Each and every post would have links back to my site.   But that's just me.

So what happens in the User Zone...

- If a Dealer started a highly promotional thread in the User Zone, the entire thread would be deleted.   

- If a Dealer writes a purely promotional post, that post would be deleted completely.

- If a Dealer post that is partly promotional, that part might be deleted.

The change in rules has done NOTHING deter Dealers from posting to help users. 

On another point, you challenged me to to prove to you why it will work.   Above, I described why and how.   If you don't like the solution, that's OK, but the problem still exists for users and has to be solved. 

If you know of a better solution, that's great.  But remember that both Matthew and I are volunteers.   If you want a different solution, then you would need to research it, flesh it out in detail, write up a description, and explain why it's better.  Be prepared to support and defend it when questioned by other users.

Regards,

Dan.


Offline bill-e

  • Posts: 504
  • Rindge, New Hampshire, USA
    • New Hampshire Woodworker
Re: What's with the Dealer Zone?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2007, 11:33 PM »
I don't see much happening in the DZ other than some of the multi-product dealers promoting things other than Festool. 

The Festool business model is such that dealers only compete on service anyway and the more active ones in the UZ zone are the ones who are going to draw more customers.

Personally I could care less where the Dealers post or if they self promote.  From my experience (other than on SMC) the reason commercial posts were restricted was because the message board bill payers didn't want to provide a free forum for businesses to make money.  Most of those boards eventually went to paid advertisements and dealer forums and they are indeed used as a public email of sorts to ask questions about the store's product and customer service.

Lastly, 99% of the time when dealers try to solve a customer service problem in public it goes bad for the dealer...no matter what the problem or how well it was solved.  I would urge all dealers to handle customer service off line in private.

Offline Daviddubya

  • Posts: 704
  • Arizona, USA
Re: What's with the Dealer Zone?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2007, 09:21 AM »
The Dealer Zone looks more like the "Dead Zone".  There is simply no activity there.  Thankfully, the recent controversy has gone away.  Perhaps the Dealer Zone also deserves to go away?  Thanks.
David W. Falkenstein
in Cave Creek, AZ, USA

Offline Rob McGilp

  • Posts: 430
  • Curmudgeon
    • Damn Fine Furniture
Re: What's with the Dealer Zone?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2007, 05:31 PM »
I'd like to say that a Dealer Zone is a good idea, currently underused. I find blatant promotion of product in a general, or advice forum to be offensive. Sure it's fine to promote yourself in your signature space, but other commercial or semicommercial posts should be included in the Dealer Zone. Maybe call it the "New and helpful Products and Dealer zone". Obviously if it is necessary to point to a page in answer to a question, this falls under the advice category. I'm sure people here can self regulate.

Rob
« Last Edit: August 23, 2007, 05:31 PM by Rob McGilp »

Offline Eli

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Re: What's with the Dealer Zone?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2007, 05:45 PM »
I think the dealer zone is a good idea, and it works well for me the way it is. I think it's been up long enough that it's obviously working the way it's intended. I like having a place to check advertised specials, and I think we don't have a problem with dealers not posting advice within the user forum. Thumbs up.
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Jesse Cloud

  • Posts: 1723
  • Festooling at the end of a dirt road in New Mexico
Re: What's with the Dealer Zone?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2007, 07:01 PM »
Hey Dan and Matthew,
Thanks for offering the Dealer Zone.  I have no problem with commercial promotions as long as they are clearly identified as such (by putting them in a separate area) and you choose whether to read them or not (as opposed to paid advertising you have to see like it or not).  Keeping commercial promotions out of the other areas is great and I think that practice solves 99% of the problems.

I think part of the reason the DZ is so quiet is that Festool's policy against cutting prices makes it hard for dealers to offer promotions.  What are they going to say "Extra good service this week - order now!" ???

And Bill-e is absolutely right, customer service/problem solving is best done off line. 

Having said all that, I'm a fan of the DZ, wish it was more active!