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My apologies for singling Cynthia out (perhaps unfairly).  This message 
generated a couple of complaints and struck me as good example for 
conversation's sake (albeit off-topic).  Thank you, Cynthia, for 
clarifying your innocent, good intent and for marking your message OT 
(off topic) in the first place, which is an admirable practice.

At the risk of belaboring the issue, the Nikon binoculars announcement 
is apparently a tip to what was discerned to be a good deal on optics by 
the contributor, who clearly disclaimed any affiliation with the 
seller.  The Cornell Club is a non-profit announcing an event that is 
free to the public.  Personally, I don't mind (but am also not very 
interested in) Cynthia's message about the photography workshop.  Others 
do mind and would rather not see any advertising on VTBIRD, even if it's 
the finessed kind of advertising done by photographers who share links 
(occasionally way too many) to their web site.

In an attempt to clarify the bounds here, I've added the following 
instruction to VTBIRD guidelines:

     Fee-based events and services should NOT be advertised on VTBIRD except
     by non-profit organizations.  Professional photographers are 
encouraged to share
     their work to the extent that it supports legitimate subject matter 
but should refrain
     from explicit self-promotion.

How about that, VTBIRDers?  As always, I'm interested in your feedback.

Starting to feel like a lawyer,
Ernie

On 8/11/2010 6:07 PM, cynthia crawford wrote:
> Hello Ernie
>
> My apologies-I have no monetary investment in this-quite the contrary- 
> -just thought it might be of interest.   I do know some photographers 
> who post links to their bird pictures on this site, and when you get 
> to their pages, there are offers for classes, workshops, trips, and 
> photos for sale.   So yes, I guess I think it is rather a gray area.  
> What about the "Nikon binoculars" announcement, or the "Cornell Club" 
> event, which does not sound like a non-profit benefit.... though I 
> could be wrong about that. (I hope I am!).  I have absolutely no 
> objection to any of these, but I do feel a bit unfairly singled out.
> Even so, I am sorry if this was offensive. I will remove it if you wish.
>
> Regards,
>
> Cynthia Crawford
>
> On 8/11/10, *Ernie Buford* <[log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>> 
> wrote:
>
>     I'm not entirely certain of the motivation for this announcement,
>     but it seems to stray into the area of commercial advertisements,
>     which are not allowed on VTBIRD.
>
>     Several of our subscribers attempt to make a living photographing
>     birds, leading tours or workshops, etc., and they generally do not
>     overtly advertise on VTBIRD (although one could argue that sharing
>     a link to a blog, online gallery, or other promotional web site
>     constitutes advertisement.... admittedly, it's a bit of a gray
>     area).  In the interest of fairness and reduced list clutter,
>     please do not post this type of advertisement unless it's for a
>     non-profit organization.
>
>     Best regards,
>     Ernie Buford
>     VTBIRD List Owner
>     http://www.uvm.edu/~ebuford/vtbird.html
>     <http://www.uvm.edu/%7Eebuford/vtbird.html>
>