For the purposes of OzBargain, it's posting a deal or commenting on a deal without declaring affiliation with the company. Otherwise, it's voting on a deal for a company you are affiliated with.
- A person posts a deal pretending to be a customer when they are actually associated with the company.
- A friend, family member, or employee comments on a deal or posts a deal without declaring affiliation.
- A friend, family member, or employee votes on a deal.
- The OP creates ghost accounts1) to vote and/or comment on their deal.
Reporting your suspicions is a good idea but as moderators have a multitude of sockpuppeting detection tools, it's best to leave the investigation to them rather than making public accusations. Please submit issues by either reporting the suspicious post/comment2) or by starting a topic in the Talk With A Moderator (TWAM) forum.
If you are caught sockpuppeting, then you will be banned. The length of your ban (e.g. permanently or 1 month) depends on:
- the severity of the incident
- initiating a dialogue with us through the TWAM forum
- a truthful explanation of the sockpuppeting
- what policies you set to prevent this in the future
- whether the sockpuppeting was intentional
Whilst many users & stores have been permanently banned for sockpuppeting, some have come back. These companies have imposed a strict social media policy and have become valuable members of OzBargain.
- working for the company? (all tiers - including management!)
- on the companies payroll?
- designing the companies website?
- working as a marketer for the company?
- designing/making/producing the product being sold?
- related to someone mentioned above?
- a contractor for the company?
- been asked by someone to post on this site?
- been offered money/prizes/incentives to post this deal?
If yes, its okay! All you need to do is declare your affiliation when posting a deal or making a comment.
Simply tick the 'I am associated with the store' check box when posting a deal or 'I am associated with Store Name check box when commenting on a deal for your store that you didn't post. You can also mention your affiliation at the bottom of the deal post; Example: “Disclosure: I worked here over the holidays” or “I am a employee at one of the stores”.
- been asked by someone to vote on their deal(s)?
- been offered incentives to vote on a deal(s)?
- decided to vote on someone's deal(s) who you know or a company you are associated with?
If so, do not vote. Not only will your voting result in a ban on your account, it will also result in a ban for that store from posting on OzBargain in the future.
Whilst we punish users for sockpuppeting, we understand that some reps may forget to check the rep box when posting. This may be due to a language barrier or simply forgetting to check the box. In cases where it's obvious that it is a rep posting, the moderators will check the rep box.