IMPORTANT issue regarding the DCWW List!
If you subscribe to the DCWW list using a GMAIL address you may have been impacted!
Some DCWW members may have received an email stating they have been removed from the DCWW list.
The issue mostly affects members who subscribed using a GMAIL account.
If this has happened to you, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will resubscribe you.
To keep the DC Web Women community as productive, friendly, and useful as possible, a team of volunteer list moderators enforce our list guidelines.
Please send all questions, suggestions, and comments regarding these guidelines to email@example.com.
The list moderators monitor the lists to ensure that members follow the guidelines. If you don’t follow a guideline, a list moderator will send you a private email reminder. You may receive a reminder from more than one list moderator if you break more than one guideline in the same posting.
If you continue to violate the guidelines, you will be placed on probation for two weeks. During that time, you may read the postings, but you will not be permitted to post messages.
The goal of probation is to allow you time to review the guidelines. Continued abuse of the guidelines or severe violations will result in removal from the list.
Please respect our list moderators. They are working hard to ensure that our lists remain a fabulous resource!
The Tech List
The Tech List is really the heart and soul of DCWW. It’s a technical-discussion list geared toward helping women in the Washington, D.C. metro area stay involved in and current with new media and the business that supports technology. All postings to this list should be of a technology and/or business nature.
The Social List
The Social List was created when the Tech List started receiving a large number of off-topic postings. The Social List can be used as a way to maintain our wonderful sense of community. We encourage you to use the Social List to post roommate searches, non-technology job listings, notices about yard sales, ads for pet adoptions, and similar items of interest. The Social List has more relaxed guidelines and is community moderated.
If you want to read and post to both lists, you need to subscribe to both lists separately.
Before you post, please choose the list that’s appropriate for your post. Do not post the same message to both lists! If your message is technology-related, put it on the Tech List. If the topic is anything else, put it on the Social List. If you think it might apply to both, choose one. Only Steering Committee members are allowed to post the same message to both lists.
DCWW, your privacy, and you
Please note that DCWW leadership reserves the right to change or revise list policy at any time.
Pricing Discussion Policy
DCWW is a 501(c)(6)* not-for-profit trade association organization, so we are bound by federal antitrust laws. Antitrust laws prohibit price fixing. To avoid violating these rules, DCWW forbids any pricing discussions on both the Tech and Social mailing lists.
Here are some discussions that would be considered instances of price fixing:
- An employer posts a job to the Tech List and a member later posts a question about the salary she should ask for when she applies for the job.
- A freelance web designer discusses an assignment she has received from a client and asks about the price she should charge for the project.
- Questions arise as to appropriate price ranges for different tasks.
Each of these discussions is prohibited by our list guidelines. Each would be considered a violation of antitrust rules.
What exactly is price fixing?
The Sherman Act prohibits any agreement among competitors to fix prices, rig bids, or engage in other anti-competitive action.
Price fixing is an agreement among competitors to raise, fix, or otherwise maintain the price at which their goods or services are sold. The term “agreement” does not mean the same in antitrust law as it does, for example, in contract law. It is not necessary that there be a written or even an express oral agreement: price fixing may be inferred from actions or circumstantial evidence. The more contact there is among competitors discussing price, the likelier it is that agreement may be inferred. It is illegal even when it doesn’t work.
Are we competitors?
Yes. While DCWW tries to foster an informative, supportive community, members do compete for work or jobs. Many employers and recruiters post multiple jobs on the DCWW lists. Many of the jobs posted are for contract and freelance work as well as for permanent full-time positions.
The closed environment
A community of 3,000 women may not seem like a closed environment. However, as a not-for-profit trade association of technology professionals, DCWW is considered to be an industry group. Owing to the nature of the DCWW mailing lists, dissemination of information is rapid and the possibility that pricing information will reach people who will use the lists is high, which may facilitate the perception of coordination.
Salaries and freelance rates are essentially the prices we charge for our services to clients. Discussions on what to charge for services are as forbidden as are discussions on what to charge for products.
While the likelihood is low that the U.S. Department of Justice would file suit against two DCWW members who discussed pricing on the list, it could file against the group that hosted the discussion. For example, in Goldfarb vs. The Virginia State Bar, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a suggested price list published by the Fairfax County Bar Association for various tasks (e.g., drafting a simple will) constituted price fixing.
Claims can be brought by private third parties as well. It doesn’t have to be the government that brings suit. Suppose one member posts a question about pricing and another responds by stating what she charges. Others may change their charges with or without the knowledge of the first two members. The first two members, along with DCWW and its officers, could face charges of price fixing from other members.
So that is why most attorneys would recommend that there be no discussions of pricing and salaries on our lists.
- Antitrust Guidelines for Collaborations Among Competitors, April 2000, Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice (PDF).
- Gigalaw (an excellent resource for Internet law)
- “Horizontal Price Fixing in Cyberspace,” transcript of a speech by Jonathan Baker, Director, Bureau of Economics, Federal Trade Commission, before the 1996 Antitrust Conference, New York, NY, March 7, 1996.