Inspired by this question I saw over in the "First answer" que at SO, I can see the possibility of people coming to this website simply to advertise their product. Should this be allowed, and if not, how do we tell if it's advertising or if they're genuinely trying to help?
Every site that serves the need of a producer will be ripe picking for them to come in and suggest sells.
What we've done on [dba.se] is to ask them to only share their links to their software as part of a comprehensive usage strategy on our site. If every answer they provide is a link to their software, we're not happy to have them, and will actually ban them often. But if they provide a link to their product maybe 1 in 10 posts, and the rest of the time they just provide solid helpful answers, I'm good with letting them be.
However, something to keep in mind is this: they are perfectly able to keep their links to their products in their profile. That is a perfectly reasonable solution to "I want people to be able to find my software". Good. Provide good answers and people will ask "where can I get something" and you don't have to linkbait them every time.
People abusing this are probably going to be outed pretty quickly by:
- Mostly mediocre answers
- More than a small percentage of their posts promotes their software
- They answer questions suggesting software that really at best tangentially relates to the question
They tend to turn up rather quickly, and we're going to be taking a close to zero tolerance policy when it comes to excessive self-promotion because it's one of the biggest problems that questions like this tend to generate.
If you see something fishy, flag it - we'll take a look.