Advertising and Promotion



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Since BPN is a nonprofit whose mission is to support local parents, we must place limits on self-promotion. Subscribers may not use their free parent accounts to promote their own business or that of a friend or relative. Reviews of local business are accepted from parents only. They must describe first-hand experience and may not promote one's own business or that of friends, relatives, or colleagues. (See FAQ for Parent Q&A for details.)  

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 they 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 (businesses, schools, classes, organizations) can post announcements to let parents know about their family-friendly services and programs. Community subscribers cannot post advice or reviews. (Why?)  

These listings publish posts from community subscribers:

  • The Events and Announcements listings accept posts from community subscribers who are announcing openings in their programs, tours and open houses, and family-friendly events.

  • The Childcare listing accepts posts from community subscribers who are babysitters and nannies who are available to provide childcare to local families.

  • The Tutor & Teacher listing accepts posts from private individuals who have purchased a community subscription and who have availability as a tutor or teacher.

Posts and messages that are PROHIBITED on BPN

The following policies are intended to keep BPN ad-free and to maximize the value of reviews on the BPN website by minimizing bias and self-interest. 

  1. Reviews that benefit the person who posted, or their friends or family members.  BPN does not accept reviews of a business posted by the owner, or the owner's friends, family or colleagues. We also do not accept reviews posted in exchange for a favor, discount, or any type of compensation, including posting reviews of a school to fulfill a school requirement. If your review deliberately conceals your relationship to the business, your subscription can be revoked. In some cases all reviews of the school or business will be removed from the BPN website. See Compensated and Reciprocal Reviews and Deceptive Reviews.

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

  3. Sending a private message to a BPN subscriber offering paid services. It is a violation of BPN's Privacy Policy to use BPN's messaging system to an send unwanted message to another subscriber.  Unwanted messages include recommending or offering any type of paid service that you provide, or that is provided by a friend or family member.  Community subscribers may send messages about their business as long as they are offering a service that was specifically requested by the original poster. 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, 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.