IPVM discussions are going great. In the first full month, we had 15,000+ reads, over 700 comments and 70 discussions posted. We have one problem that I simply will not tolerate - manufacturers promoting their products.
LinkedIn is the perfect example of a once-useful site becoming filled with self-promotional static. For that very reason, I have "unjoined" a number of groups and cut way back on both reading and posting.
Don't warn people! some of my favorite threads/posts are reading and watching manufacturers reps crash and burn into the ground after the 2nd failed "undisclosed" response from their corporate registered IP address.
As entertaining as it is, I'd rather concentrate on fighting for major issues. It's one thing if a company is running an irresponsible marketing campaign, it's another if it's just a dopey RSM posting a one off comment.
When they post following your two guidelines of "(1) disclose their affiliation up front when recommending their product and (2) explain why their product actually fits the needs of the discussion", I see the benefit.
When manufacturers (or integrators, etc), spend two minutes to promote themselves with relevant information, I see that they care. When all they do is post "Use ABC from XYC.com", then I don't see that they care. Which are people more likely to buy from, especially on a dedicated form like this.
While some idiocy can be entertaining, I don't want to see such here. There is little enough time in the day to waste any of it, and plenty of other places to get entertainment. I applaud IPVM for this stance.