General Guidelines

Aquaponicsassociation.org allows users to contribute different kinds of content, including reviews, photos, videos, events, votes, tips, private messages, and more. Playing nice isn’t rocket science, but just in case, we’ve put together these general guidelines. Please also read the guidelines below for specific types of content that you might contribute to the site.

  • Inappropriate content: Colorful language and imagery is fine, but there’s no need for threats, harassment, lewdness, hate speech, and other displays of bigotry.
  • Conflicts of interest: Your contributions should be unbiased and objective. For example, you shouldn’t write reviews of your own business or employer, your friends’ or relatives’ business, your peers or competitors in your industry, or businesses in your networking group. Business owners should not ask customers to write reviews.  Please see below.
  • Promotional content: Unless you’re using your Business Owners Account to add content to your business’s profile page, we generally frown upon promotional content. Let’s keep the site useful for consumers and not overrun with commercial noise from every user.
  • Relevance: Please make sure your contributions are relevant and appropriate to the forum. For example, reviews aren’t the place for rants about a business’s employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don’t address the core of the consumer experience.
  • Privacy: Don’t publicize other people’s private information. Please don’t post close-up photos or videos of other patrons without their permission, and please don’t post other people’s full names unless you’re referring to service providers who are commonly identified by or commonly share their own full names.
  • Intellectual property: Don’t swipe content from other sites or users. You’re a smart cookie, so write your own reviews and take your own photos and videos, please!

Additional Guidelines

 

  • The best reviews are passionate and personal. They offer a rich narrative, a wealth of detail, and a helpful tip or two for other consumers. Here are some additional thoughts for conscientious reviewers.

    • Personal experience: We want to hear about your firsthand consumer experience, not what you heard from your co-worker or significant other. Try to tell your own story without resorting to broad generalizations and conclusory allegations.
    • Accuracy: Make sure your review is factually correct. Feel free to air your opinions, but don’t exaggerate or misrepresent your experience. We don’t take sides when it comes to factual disputes, so we expect you to stand behind your review.
    • Review updates: Review updates should reflect a new experience or interaction with the business. Don’t tell the same old story you’ve already told. If you’d like to add new insight to an old experience, just edit your review instead of creating a new update.
  • Business photos and videos should be broadly relevant to the business and reflect the typical consumer experience (e.g., what the business looks like, what the business offers, etc.).

    If you post a photo or video that showcases a more unique personal experience with a business (e.g., your smiling group of friends at the bar, the fly in your soup), we may remove it from the photo gallery for the business, but it still may appear alongside your review if you write one about the business.

  • Don’t be shy — use your account profile to let people know who you are and what makes you tick. Users want to read reviews from people they know and trust (not those with profiles that are empty or laced with inappropriate content).

  • Talk is a place for fun, open, and honest conversations about what’s going on in your community. While it’s easy to engage and post on Talk, take care with what you post since you can’t subsequently delete it. A dash of common sense goes a long way. And since user trust and transparency are important to us, anonymous users who are disruptive to the community will probably be dealt with more sternly than those who stand behind their words.

  • Aquaponicsassociation.org has a handy messaging feature to keep you connected with your fellow Aquapons. First off, please don’t use this feature to harass other users or send other inappropriate content. Second, user accounts are for personal, non-commercial use only. Business owners should message reviewers using their free Business Owners Account. In order to do so, we ask that they upload a clear photo of themselves to help personalize their message.

  • Heard about a great event in the neighborhood? Great! Post it to the Events tab on Aquaponicsassociation.org. Please don’t use Events to post your recurring promotional announcements and sales. We also like to keep the content fresh, so please don’t post events more than 6 months in advance.

  • Business owners should be getting in on the act, too. Some words of wisdom:

    • From the Business: You can use the “From the business” tab to tell people a little something special about your business. Please keep it relevant: don’t use this feature to attack your competitors, reviewers, or Aquaponicsassociation.org, and don’t use it to seed keywords or post special offers or promotions — we’ll remove them if we see them.
    • Public Comments: Private messaging is often the best way to resolve a dispute with an unhappy customer, but business owners can also address issues publicly by posting a public comment. As with private messaging, we ask that business owners upload a clear photo of themselves to help personalize their message. Don’t use public comments to launch personal attacks, advertise, or offer an incentive to change a review.
    • Video: Videos are a great way for advertisers to promote themselves on Aquaponicsassociation.org. Be as creative as you can, but please keep it clean. We’re not big fans of imagery showing violence, drug use, nudity, near nudity, or suggestive acts. Also, please don’t use your video to disparage other businesses, users or Aquaponicsassociation.org; request or solicit reviews from users; or respond to user reviews.
    • Don’t ask customers for reviews: Don’t ask your customers to review your business on Aquaponicsassociation.org. Over time, solicited reviews create bias in your business listing — a bias that savvy consumers can smell from a mile away.   On Aquaponicsassociation.org, people read and write reviews about their favorite local businesses. So it might seem counter-intuitive that we actually discourage business owners from asking their customers to write reviews.

      Why does Aquaponicsassociation.org discourage businesses from asking for reviews?

      Would-be customers might not trust you. Let’s face it, most business owners are only going to ask for reviews from their happy customers, not the unhappy ones. Over time, these self-selected reviews create bias in the business listing — a bias that savvy consumers can smell from a mile away. No business is perfect, and it’s impossible to please 100% of your customers 100% of the time.
      Solicited reviews are less likely to be recommended by our automated software, and that will drive you crazy. Why aren’t these reviews recommended? Well, we have the unfortunate task of trying to help our users distinguish between real and fake reviews, and while we think we do a pretty good job at it with our fancy computer algorithms, the harsh reality is that solicited reviews often fall somewhere in between. Imagine, for example, the business owner who “asks” for a review by sticking a laptop in front of a customer and smilingly invites her to write a review while he looks over her shoulder. We don’t need these kinds of reviews, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when they aren’t recommended.
      Aquaponicsassociation.org exists to connect people with great local businesses. We do this by providing people with as much trustworthy information as we can. If consumers don’t trust our content, people stop using Aquaponicsassociation.org, and everyone loses: consumers don’t have a resource they can trust to make spending decisions, and would-be customers stop visiting your business.

      There’s no silver bullet for a great reputation: the best way to succeed on Aquaponicsassociation.org is by focusing on great customer service. Also be sure to claim your business on Aquaponicsassociation.org, and use our free tools to keep your business listing up to date.

      How, then, can I get more reviews on Aquaponicsassociation.org?

      There are ways to let your customers know you’re on Aquaponicsassociation.org without being overly solicitous. There is an important distinction between “Hey, write a review about me on Aquaponicsassociation.org,” [BAD] and “Hey, check us out on Aquaponicsassociation.org!” [GOOD]. It’s the difference between actively pursuing testimonials and simply creating awareness of your business through social media outlets.

      The latter allows consumers to review your online reputation without feeling like they’re being forced to write a review. To an established Aquaponicsassociation.org community member, a reminder of your Aquaponicsassociation.org presence can act like a dog-whistle prompting them to share their feedback about your business with fellow Aquaponicsassociation.orgers.

      Here are some ways to remind customers that you’re on Aquaponicsassociation.org without being pushy:

      Put a badge and link to your Aquaponicsassociation.org listing on your website using Aquaponicsassociation.org’s review badges – we provide the code, you just paste it into your website. The review averages and counts even update automatically as new reviews come in!
      Put a “Find us on Aquaponicsassociation.org” sign in your place of business, on the front counter or window. These have even been spotted on business-branded vehicles. You can make your own using our brand assets, or request one from Aquaponicsassociation.org using this form.
      Include a link to your Aquaponicsassociation.org business listing in your email signature with the words, “Check us out on Aquaponicsassociation.org!”