You may notice some members with the "Merchant" tag on their name. If we notice users posting "reviews" or other information that shows bias toward or against a company and we confirm after investigating that they are actually representing a company, we will slap the "Merchant" tag on their account (if we don't just ban them). The tag will be located under their username/icon to the left of their messages within a thread and looks like this:
NOTE: These "merchants" aren't tied to the forum in any official way and they're not approved or vetted by us. This tag is simply to allow our members some transparency so they're not fooled by biased information.
It is against our rules for a member posting on behalf of a company to misrepresent themselves as a regular user and/or post biased information without disclosing that they represent a company - but sometimes this type of thing is accompanied by useful information and/or other useful/positive activity by the user that helps the community. Those are the cases where we don't ban right away and you may see this tag and we'll typically warn the user. We will also follow these users for a while and about half of these accounts quickly rise to the level of misleading self promotion where we'll ban them, so feel free to report this type of activity if you feel you see it.
If we wanted a lot of advertising on the forum, we'd insert banners in every nook and cranny like other forums =)