From time to time some of our members enquire about whether they can promote a cause, issue, service, or product on Stitch. They may work as travel agents in their professional life, for example, and want to offer travel services to Stitch members. Or they run counseling workshops, or write a blog about human psychology, and want to raise the profile of a cause they believe in.
While this is a good idea in principle, experience has taught us that, in practice, it can create several problems.
For example, say you meet someone on Stitch whose profile you like. You start chatting with them, and you feel as if you've made a new friend. You meet them at a Stitch event, and you really think you're starting to form a personal connection. Then, suddenly, they start trying to sell you their services.
You'd feel a little duped, wouldn't you?
It wouldn't matter if they were still honestly interested in being friends with you: the idea that they were only doing it for commercial gain would ruin the experience.
That's why we have a strict rule about separating business from pleasure on Stitch. Members with regular member profiles on Stitch are prohibited from conducting promotional or commercial activity within the community. Note that "promotional" activity is not limited to commercial services or products, but can be anything that exists outside the Stitch Community that the member is attempting to promote.
End of story.
There are, however, several cases where things aren't quite so cut and dried. For example:
You might want to suggest an activity that includes a paid component, where you have some connection to the business in question (e.g. tickets to the theatre where you work)
You might have a service you usually provide for commercial purposes, but want to share it with Stitch members as a social experience -- but still need to cover your costs
To cover these cases, we have adopted the following rules regarding promotional activity within the Stitch Community:
If a member sets up an activity that includes a paid component, the primary purpose must be for companionship, not business. Typically this means the member is participating in the activity themselves, or else offering their services for the benefit of their friends in the community, not turning a profit.
If an individual, charity, organization, or business does want to conduct promotional or commercial activity within the community, they must subscribe to what is called a Stitch Pro account. Stitch Pro accounts are clearly labeled as promotional, and face some restrictions in order protect members of the community from abuse. If you would like to find out more about Stitch Pro accounts, please contact Stitch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is under no circumstances acceptable to gather contact information from members and add them to commercial marketing lists or other mailing services. Stitch does an enormous amount of work to maintain privacy, security, and integrity of communications for our members. This means that all communications should be through standard Stitch communication channels, so that we can continue to monitor and make sure that the guidelines are being followed. Not doing so is a breach of the community terms of service, and usually is grounds for suspension of membership.
These rules are in place purely to protect Stitch members. If you observe any member violating these rules, or have any other questions or concerns, please contact Stitch.