This article is from the Advertising on Usenet FAQ, by Joel K. Furr firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a product or a message that is specifically related to a
particular Usenet newsgroup, and you want to let people know about it,
it's *usually* all right to post *one* notice about it.
Note the word "notice." A notice is a brief mention of the product with
information about how interested persons can find out more. It's not a
sales pitch. It's not an advertisement. It's not a "BUY BUY BUY" sort of
message. It's a notice.
You are encouraged to make such postings one-time-only. When your polite
informational notice starts getting posted every week, people are going to
start getting irked at you.
You are also *strongly* encouraged to keep such postings hype-free. What
often works very well is to post information about your services or
product and include a contact address, World Wide Web site, or phone
number for people to use to get more information.
For example, if you want to post a notice about your immigration law
services, you could post a message to alt.visa.us or the various
misc.immigration.* newsgroups, where you'd find a large population of
people interested in that or related subjects. Posting the same ad to
rec.sport.football.college would *not* be appropriate because
rec.sport.football.college has nothing to do with immigration law, visas,
or becoming a citizen of another country.
One way to tell if a post is appropriate is to look at a newsgroup's
charter. The charter is the formal declaration of what is on topic and
what is not, and was generated at the time the group was created if the
group was created in the so-called Big 7 hierarchies of comp.*, soc.*,
rec.*, talk.*, misc.*, news.*, sci.*, and humanities.*. Some other groups
have charters as well, but not all -- and if they do, they're often one or
two lines in length. Where can you find a charter? Well, in some cases
the charter is regularly posted to the newsgroup or is contained in the
newsgroup's Frequently Asked Questions files. In other cases, the charter
has been all but forgotten. Charters can occasionally be difficult to
locate, so you may have to use your best judgment and/or ask someone who's
been reading the group for a while if a particular message would be
This is not to say that on-topic notices will always be welcome; the
proliferation of inappropriate advertisements (ads posted in the wrong way
to the wrong place) has resulted in *all* ads, even informational notices
posted to appropriate newsgroups, tending to get a cold shoulder. You can
help by limiting your ads to *informational* postings posted *only*
*where* *appropriate*, and abiding by any local restrictions a given
newsgroup's readers have placed on advertising.