Advertising and Promotion on BPN

Policies

See Also

See Also


Overview

Since BPN is a nonprofit whose mission is to support local parents, we have placed limits on advertising and self-promotion on BPN.  Parent-to-parent advice and recommendations may only be posted by parents, and may not promote one's own business or that of friends, relatives, or colleagues. (See FAQ for Parent Q&A for details.)  Local businesses in the community that are parenting-related can purchase a community subscription which allows them to post some types of announcements and events, but not reviews.


Promotional postings that BPN accepts

Parent Subscribers can post advice, reviews, and recommendations on BPN. All reviews and recommendations must describe a parent's first-hand experience, and may not promote one's own business or that of a friend, relative, or colleague.  (See FAQ for Parent Q&A for more info.) 

Community Subscribers can post announcements about their services and programs to certain listings. Community subscribers cannot post advice or reviews. (Why?)  All announcements and events must be local to the SF Bay Area, and must specifically target families, parents, or kids.

  • The Events and Announcements listings accept promotional postings from schools, preschools, childcare facilities, camps, classes, and other local businesses and organizations that provide services for children, parents, or families

  • The Childcare listing accepts promotional postings from babysitters and nannies as well as agencies that place pr refer childcare providers.

  • The Tutor & Teacher listing accepts promotional postings from private tutors and teachers who teach one-on-one as well as larger tutoring businesses.


Promotional postings that are prohibited on BPN

Reviews can only be posted by parents. However, many parents who subscribe to BPN also work for local schools and businesses that stand to benefit from having good reviews on BPN. The following policies are intended to maximize the value of reviews on the BPN website by minimizing bias and self-interest. BPN moderators are responsible for reading each post before it is published to make sure it meets these and other policies. 

  1. Posting a review of your own business, or that of a friend, relative, or colleague. BPN doesn't accept recommendations for oneself or one's friends, colleagues or relatives. All reviews must be posted by a parent who has first-hand experience with the school or business being reviewed, and who does not have a relationship to the business. If you post a review of your own or someone else's business without disclosing your relationship, your subscription can be revoked and all reviews of the business can be removed from the BPN website. See Fraudulent and Deceptive Posts.

  2. Multiple reviews of the same business posted by the same subscriber  Since reviews can be submitted anonymously on BPN, multiple reviews of a business by the same person are difficult to ascertain, and can give the false appearance that a business is more widely regarded than it really is. Subscribers that persist in recommending the same business repeatedly, after a warning from the moderator, will be unsubscribed.

  3. Messaging BPN subscribers about your business. It is a violation of BPN's Privacy Policy to use BPN's messaging system to send a message to another subscriber offering any type of paid service that you have not purchased a subscription for.  If you have purchased a community subscription, you may send messages about your business but you must be responding to a request for something that has been specifically requested. For example, a nanny who is a community subscriber can send a message to a parent who has posted looking for a nanny, but a parent subscriber cannot offer her gardening services via messaging. Your subscription can be revoked for violating this policy.

  4. Posting a question asking how to market your business.  BPN doesn't accept questions asking whether there is interest in your product or service, or seeking advice about how to market your product or service.  These posts conflict with BPN's policy about advertising and promotion. (Note: BPN does accept paid subscriptions from child-related business that are seeking parents for marketing research. See Research Queries on BPN for more information. )

  5. Posting about Multi-Level Marketing. BPN does not accept reviews or announcements about goods and services that are sold using multi-level marketing.  Per Wikipedia: "Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit." (see Multi-level marketing and Wikipedia's list of multi-level marketing companies.)


Why we have this policy

Since its founding in 1993,  BPN has never accepted advertising or any other type of paid promotion. Thanks to hard-working volunteer parents, along with donated technical resources from UC Berkeley, BPN has remained a free network for local parents for more than 20 years.  Reviews and recommendations on BPN have a higher value for parents because they are not influenced by paid advertising, corporate sponsorship, or editorial viewpoint.  Over the years, as BPN grew from a dozen grad students at UC Berkeley to more than 30,000 Bay Area parents, we began accepting subscriptions from schools, classes, childcare providers and others "who work with children" in the community. These community subscribers were able to post information about their child-related programs on BPN for no cost, and these postings also benefited parent subscribers. When BPN became a non-profit in 2015, we decided to charge a fee for community members to continue subscribing to BPN and posting about their programs, so that BPN can become a self-sustaining organization while still keeping subscriptions free for parents. See About Community Subscribers for details.