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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Mentioning app without being accused of spam?

Hi!  As you all know, one of my apps is near release now.  Obviously I need to get the word out here and there, submit to Download.com and Softpedia.com etc.  Fun times coming.

One major marketing avenue, though, is when I see people asking in forums how to do what my app does (and believe me, there's LOTS of people wanting to know).  So, it's natural for me to want to reply with "try my app".  But, because it's not free, I'm concerned that it'll come across as spam.  Most forums actively prohibit such behavior, too.  So, how can I recommend it, knowing that it'll truly solve their pain, without spamming?

I'm thinking of using a reply something like this:

"You can do it all for free yourself manually, which involves modifying the Registry at one point if you're happy to risk that, but if you want a paid solution that does it all seamlessly for you at the click of a mouse, then I'd recommend my own product.  Just PM me if interested."

What do you think?  I'm not linking to my website and therefore not directly advertising it, nor generating hits for Google Analytics, etc; so I'm hoping that sort of comment might be okay.
PSB136 Send private email
Monday, February 03, 2014
I would

* write a page showing someone the step by steps on how to do this manually - make it really good, lots of pics, maybe a video so aiming to become the 'the best' reference on how to do this on the web.

* Include unobtrusive adds on that page to your app - along the lines of what you've got already

* Bonus points for listing competitors as well (this will help calm down over excitable forum moderators - look, its just a resource telling people how to do this).

Then you can link to this with some teaser text - "This page shows you how to do this manually and gives you more info on my product X that does it for you automatically if you would prefer"

You will never win over everyone with this and will still have people occasional calling "the 2nd coming of Hitlers devil spawn in spammer form" or some such you but in my experience if you are providing real value most forum mods won't mind if you do it low key enough.

The key here is "providing real value"
Ryan Wheeler Send private email
Monday, February 03, 2014
Oh - should have said that purpose of linking rather than just including text is -well linking/seo etc.

For every 1 person asking on a forum there are still X people searching.

If you do a good job on your page you will also get other people posting links to it for you.
Ryan Wheeler Send private email
Monday, February 03, 2014
Well now I want to know what it is. :)
Mike Dixon Send private email
Monday, February 03, 2014
Don't most forums allow people to link to their home page and say a little about themselves in their signature?
Drummer Send private email
Monday, February 03, 2014
+1 Ryan

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Monday, February 03, 2014
Forums are a Powder Keg.  Especially when you have paid products.  The forum is the turf of the Moderators.  Step on their turf and you will pay the consequences. 

Interrupting conversations to mention your product will quickly make some powerful internet enemies.  Forums can rank high and fast.  If you piss off a forum mod,  the web can quickly be filled with pages bashing your product. 

I am a member of a forum called Polycount.  It is mostly a CG artist forum but there are a bunch of software companies in there as well. 

In that forum, Software Vendors catering to the industry keep open threads on their product and invite forum members, to make suggestions, offer feedback, and discuss their product.  Here are some examples:


I have also seen similar practices on forums like a abestweb and others.  Where reps of a company have an open dialogue with the community in a clearly marked thread so you know you are talking directly with the company. 

I think that is a great practice, but you should start with the moderators first.  Make sure they are cool with what you want to do.

However, I never see reps from a company in that forum or other good forums interrupting conversations and saying "Oh my product XYZapp can solve that for you" . 

As tempting as it sounds.  I really would not advise doing that.  And whatever you do don't sneak in and act like a user recommending it.  Any good forum Mod will spot you from a mile away.  The pattern is always the same.  New user, few posts, starts plugging a product.  This will really infuriate them.  Even if your product is good if you are caught sockpuppeting it.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sockpuppet_(Internet)

I have seen this a bunch of times.  A mod is pissed off, and they start bashing.  They go on other forums and bash there as well.  And anytime your product is ever mentioned even years in the future.  They will bash it again.  Sometimes for years.
C. Stark Send private email
Friday, February 07, 2014

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