Merchant Listing Policy

Merchant listings are free to any merchant that is, in our editorial opinion, of interest to SCA folk or other medieval recreationists or reenactors. Note that our merchant listings, unlike news articles, are in a permanent, non-scrolling directory page. Note: As with all content on this site, your submission will be reviewed and may be edited before publication. It is normal for this process to take a few days, depending on our volunteer team's modern-world commitments.

How to Request a Merchant Listing and Link on SCAtoday.net

  1. Create a personal login account on SCAtoday.net, if you haven't already. Be sure you are logged into your account for the following steps. We disallow anonymous posting because of spammers, and because we may need to contact contributors with questions about their posts.
  2. Click on "contribute content" from our main menu, and choose a "weblink" as the content type. This is important! If you contribute your link as the wrong type (e.g., a story or a forum post), we will probably still accept it, but it requires us to manually convert it to the correct type. That will delay approval.
  3. Type in the text that you want to use to describe your business. We reserve the right to edit this per our editorial and style guidelines, but there is no limit to length, within reason. Style guidelines are listed below.
  4. Be sure to put your full URL, with the "http://", in the appropriate form field.
  5. Submit the weblink, and our staff will usually review, edit, and approve it within a day or two. Please do remember that we are run solely by volunteers, so sometimes work or family responsibilities prevent us from attending to link requests as quickly as we would prefer.

Finally, remember that all submissions get "queued" for editorial review before they are visible on the site. This is how we keep spammers from posting their garbage onto our pages (and yes, they try, several times a week). So don't be alarmed when you submit your link and don't see it right away. If the webform says "your weblink was created," then it is stored in our database queue.

Style Guide for Merchant Links

These are general stylistic guidelines, and we reserve the right to edit all content posted on our site. But if you follow these guidelines, we will try to preserve your content as much as possible within reason.

  • For your link URL, post the link for your main home page, not a sub-page.
  • The text should be written third-person, that is, written "about" the merchant rather than "spoken by the merchant".
  • We provide merchant links as an information service to our readers. They are informational, not advertising -- a subtle distinction. What this means is that the text needs to be factually descriptive rather than promotional. SCAtoday.net does not "take sides" and recommend one merchant over another, so we ask for a neutral tone from all merchant links. A lot of this really comes down to avoiding "comparative" phrasing.
  • The link you post will be permanent. It can be changed, but you have to email us to request this, and we'll only do it on an occasional basis (we are volunteer staff with limited time available). With that in mind, it is crucial to avoid time-sensitive material like special sales or holiday promotions, and never put actual prices in the link text because they could be outdated very quickly.
  • Your text can be as long as you wish, but keep in mind that the more detailed it is, the more likely it is to become outdated. The best way to link from SCAtoday.net is to provide a brief description of your business and let your company's own web site -- with pretty graphics, vivid text, and product photos -- tell the detailed story in a way that we can never do.
  • Don't put any contact info into the link that you do not want published. In general, we recommend that you just provide the link URL, and keep your mailing address and phone contact info on your own site, where you can update it and where you have control over your own privacy or publicity. But, if you want to put a mailing address or phone number in your SCAtoday.net link, we will publish it.

We don't charge for merchant links, not a dime. SCAtoday.net is funded out-of-pocket by the Publisher and Editor because we like doing this for our friends in the SCA. We don't accept paid ads, and we are pleased to help our readers find merchants of interest to this hobby. Your link stays up as long as you want it to, and as long as we continue to publish, though we will withdraw a link upon request. We also reserve the right to drop a link if the URL to which it points becomes unsuitable to our audience (that is, for example, if your domain is purchased by a company unrelated to our editorial mission).

Merchant Text Examples

With the above in mind, here are some examples of good and not-so-good descriptive text.

GOOD:

Honest Alan's Armoury provides high-quality chain mail, helmets, gorgets, shield blanks, rattan, and basket hilts for SCA fighters. They have been in business for 25 years, and each item is guaranteed to pass Marshal inspection for SCA combat. Custom orders are welcome to create armour specialized to your fighting style or persona.

Honest Alan's Armoury also offers combat-related items other than armour. They have SCA Marshal gages made from precision-milled aluminum and from high-grade epoxy resin. Durable metal-covering paints (spray and brush-on) are available in all the standard heraldic colors for decorating your shield. Honest Alan's Armoury has an extensive selection of rubberized axe heads and polearm tips, and combat archery projectile kits.

NOT GOOD:

Need the best armour available anywhere at the best price? Come to Honest Alan's Armoury! We've got a better selection and better prices than any other armourer you can find, and our quality is museum-grade. This month we are having our annual pre-Pennsic special, with 10% off on all helmets and shield blanks. That means you can pick up an SCA-legal STAINLESS STEEL spun-top helm for as little as $129.99!

If you need a Marshal gage, shield paint, or combat archery gear, we're the place to go because we've got it all! Forget the other guys, make us your ONE STOP SHOP!

You can call me on my cell phone at 555-555-1234 to order products! Order your armour today!

The "not good" example breaks almost all of our style guidelines! Notice how the "good" example conveys the quality and selection without sounding quite as...well, not sounding like a TV commercial. The "not good" example has time-sensitive pricing, first-person viewpoint, and an extremely promotional tone.

Opt-In Email List

The "commercial" email list is another venue that might be of interest to SCA-related merchants. Unlike most SCA lists that discourage merchants from advertising, this list is specifically created for that purpose. Subscribers fall into two categories: merchants, and prospective customers who have deliberately signed up for the list because they want to hear from SCA merchants. Thus, SCA merchants are welcome and encouraged to post any reasonable number of text ads, product announcements, sale notices, etc. Membership on the "commercial" list is free, but you must be a subscriber in order to post, and SCAtoday.net reserves the right to ban any merchant who abuses the list with excessive posts. As a general rule, we recommend no more than one or two posts per week per merchant, but that limit is flexible as long as common sense prevails.

Reciprocal Links ("Link Exchange")

As a policy, we do not participate in quid pro quo link exchanges. We appreciate other sites linking to ours, but it is not a requirement in order to have your merchant link approved. If your business is, in our judgment, on-topic for our site's editorial content, we will link to you. If your site is not on-topic, offering us a link exchange will not induce us to link to it.