Originally Posted by Olivier
First of all, the moderators have to deal with a constant stream of spam. It comes in tons daily. We set rules for this, and one of them was no links to commercial sites (except poly-oriented). We could possibly start discerning between established users linking to sites, and non-established users linking to sites. However, there might be folk that try to 'blend in' and then link. I also understand that a link to a site like google is pretty harmless, but we have to draw the line somewhere. Macbeth's thread about the wooden 'toys' is a nice example. He does not link to his sales page, but if people want to contact him to get one they can. It will be up to the moderators to discern if he's actually here to just sell his toys or not. Not being allowed to link or requiring users to look up an item forms a bigger barrier to prevent potential spam. The more effort it requires, the less effective spam becomes.
I want to add that we are especially prone to spam due to the quasi-sexual nature of this forum. When combining that with links coming FROM here (with the site being linked to being able to track referred links), it makes us DOUBLY susceptible to spam. Despite the fact that these may be the most awesome sex toys evah and you want to help everyone else have access to the great orgasms they can provide, that does not change the fact that "adult" sites are notorious for spreading spam, spyware, and other internet flotsam. If you run your own forums, you know I am right about this.