Re: Robin Advertising Policy
In a message dated 2/4/1999 7:11:57 AM Central Standard Time,
I am surprised you are asking the question regarding differentiating Robin
Journal Advertising policy. As an attorney and a former Journal editor, I
expected you would be the first to know the answer. Think about the IRS
Revenue Rulings and Interpretations regarding benefits to members of 501(c)
organizations, the relationship of those benefits to the purpose of 501(c)
organizations, and the fact that Journal advertisers pay for their ads! I
think you will reach your answers quickly.
First of all, as a lawyer, I would never rely upon an oral opinion of a
functionary of the IRS.
If you are correct in your interpretation of the IRS Rules, I would suggest
that you and the AHS might want to take a closer look at what the Robin
permits. It seems to me that the Robin rules are placing form above
substance.==It is taboo for the Robin to post a message from X that she has a
hosta that she will sell for $20;but, it is ok for X to post that she has a
bunch of hostas for sell and can be reached either at her website or e-mail
address or home (or business) address, where the prices, etc., can be
obtained. Also, as I read the Robin rules, it would be ok for X to call Y and
ask Y to post that X has a hosta for sale for $20, and Y complies with the
Also, X may post the Robin that she has a business and how to get her
Also, I found your explanation of what is forbidden very interesting and
helpful. ["Certain people" may benefit from allowing the mention of a hosta
for sale.] If anyone and everyone on the Robin has this privilege , then what
is the problem?
Also, if X informs the list that she has a special hosta for sale at $20, then
why would that not be in furtherance of the purposes of an educational
organization. I'd think giving the list such information WOULD further the
purposes of the AHS.
Questions: Why does the Journal publish pix of hostas and later (or in the
same issue) publish ads that refer to those pictures? Why is permissible to
publish articles such as Nursery Notes or similar type articles?
Why may WIP in his articles refer to certain hostas and where they can be
In sum, I see no difference, from a substantive point of view, between a post
which informs list members that X has a business, and that a catalogue can be
obtained---and simply publishing the list. If the former isn't advertizing, I
do not know what is.
I'd suggest that you obtain a formal opinion from the IRS.
Hope your trip to TN was a happy one.
Clyde Crockett z5
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