For-profit businesses are always free to contribute, respond, and help maintain pages about their business on a wiki. These pages are maintained by the community as a whole, and the pages should be written in the voice of the community, not in the voice of the business. Pages about businesses should serve to inform and teach the community as a whole, not promote a particular for-profit business.
What's this mean? This means that adding stuff like promotional material (without any other value, e.g. it's not historical, newsworthy or otherwise interesting), advertising, and listing of prices is generally not okay on pages about for-profit businesses.
If something's educational then it is always okay, even if it might otherwise be considered promotional toward a for-profit business. But, hey, you might argue a dirty shoe on the ground is educational. This guideline was crafted to make the IRS happy. So what do they consider educational? "Instruction or training of the individual for the purpose of improving or developing his capabilities or the instruction of the public on subjects useful to the individual and beneficial to the community."
Don't stress over this.
Can business owners/employees of for-profit businesses contribute to the wiki?
Are you kidding? Yes! They can't use a wiki page as a promotional vehicle, though. The voice of the page should be that of the community, not the business. Businesses are free to contribute information of all sorts about their businesses and their businesses' services in an informational, not promotional fashion. One simple thing to look for is if the page is written in the first person, or the third person. Pages that say "We offer the following services" rather than "They offer the following services" need a second look.
Is it ok to list prices for apartments? This is information that isn't easily available elsewhere.
Yes. There is an educational need for that hard-to-obtain information. It also helps consumers.
Can I list items with prices for a for-profit business on that businesses' page?
No. Most businesses have their own websites. Link to their price sheets and so forth!
Can I list items with prices for a non-profit business on that businesses' page? You know... like a thrift store for charity.
Yes. The rules only prohibit using Wiki Spot to promote for-profit businesses.
How about a listing of services on a for-profit business page but without prices?
Yes! Of course! This helps people in your community learn about things that help them!
How about a comparison page that isn't specific to any particular for-profit business with price information?
You mean like cheap food? Yes, you can totally do that. It's educational. It's also not promoting a for-profit business. It also provides consumer protection.
What about a comment someone makes that includes a price of an item?
Yes, this is generally fine.
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2010-06-06 07:46:57 Can member wikis run paid advertisements for for-profit entities ? —WilliamLewis
That's a good question. —BrentLaabs
Wouldn't that make the member wiki a for-profit organization? Unless they did it via a "suggested donation", but that puts me WAY out of my comfort zone and just speculating on what I've seen done by non-profits. —JabberWokky (I didn't post this here because it was too speculative; I didn't intend it to start an open discussion. It was moved here by Brent. No complaints, but it's lightweight guessing at best.)
Not all that glitters is gold. Doing commercial activities does not eliminate someone's nonprofit status; even unrelated business activities can be done while remaining a 501(c)3. I was actually planning on for-profit ads on nagps (though I didn't get the bid), since it's a contractual requirement for them. And note, our software really does not facilitate advertising. After some reflection, there are a couple of ways we could go about this.
Ban all advertising outright, which would be pretty hard considering what we have on our local wikis and the fuzziness of the line between adverinfo and freeinfo.
Ban all advertising that pays the wiki in question. Cut off a potential source of revenue for some communities.
Require all communities that do use paid advertising to submit something to prove they're not profit. Maybe a constitution and a budget for an unincorporated association, or some proof that an organization is 501(c)/527 tax-exempt. It's good enough CYA, though this sorta kills our whole ad-free image. —BrentLaabs
I'd say definitely talk with us first. Some usage I can see being okay in certain circumstances. This is a hypothetical, though. Right now, if you want advertisements on your wikispot.org-hosted wiki, you should almost certainly look elsewhere. In the future we'll explore more coordinated relationships with local member wiki communities, and a case-by-case approach there is easier to imagine. —PhilipNeustrom
This question was motivated by a message on brix. Since they're not a non-profit org, their "ad partnership" is almost certainly not kosher. But that wiki seems a bit dead, so maybe it still is a hypothetical. —WilliamLewis
2010-11-30 00:11:32 Can we add to each description of a business information that pertains to the business's practices, such as (1) its answers to questions regarding sustainable business practices; (2) whether it has been certified by any particular organizations? —126.96.36.199
Answering questions from the community and adding factual information sounds fine. There is a difference between stating information and being promotional, and although it can be a fairly fine line, it's often obvious. —Evan 'JabberWokky' Edwards
2011-12-03 21:38:21 i want to do an activism wiki is this ok? —188.8.131.52