Commercial ads - reply

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Sun Jun 2 10:50:08 CDT 1996

There has been a lot of discussion of commercial products on Taxacom: paper,
computer programs, etc.  Everything discussed has been useful to one segment
or another of the readership. I'm not sure how Rifkind's post differed,
except in two respects: 1) He was the purveyor of the software he mentioned,
and 2) he made a point of addressing the issue of commercial messages. He
certainly didn't announce the availability of the software as an
advertisement, but instead responded to a specific query.

If we are to reject announcements of commercial products when the purveyors
are Taxacom subscribers, but not reject them when the products are sold by
"faceless corporations", aren't we punishing enterprise by members of our
own community, enterprise that in the broad sense should make our lives
easier, since it is directed at our needs?

If we reject Rifkind's "ad" because he told us it was his product, aren't we
punishing honesty? How do we know that members of Taxacom have no financial
stake in the products mentioned here? How many of us can say for sure that
our retirement programs (if we are lucky enough to have them) don't have
stock in any of these companies?

IMHO, commercial messages in response to the solicited systematic biology
needs of the readership always have a place on Taxacom.

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