In this follow-up blog post on Ad Farming, I will be talking about the new rules. As with my previous post, I’d like to then move the discussion into this thread on the forums so that as many of you as possible can give us your opinion over the next few days.
Please keep in mind that this post is about the Linden Mainland, and does not apply to private islands where the estate owners choose how they wish to run their own estates.
Thank you to everyone who provided constructive comments and feedback in the forums to my initial post. I encourage you to continue to add to the conversation.
I’d like to talk about the specifics of what we’re doing with respect to advertising on the Linden Mainland.
A number of you have raised concerns over going the formal license route, and we too have come to the conclusion that this isn’t the best option. So instead we are going to cover ad farming activities (and the operating of network advertising businesses) under our Terms of Service, specifically as Harassment under clause 4.1. By Networked Advertising, we are specifically talking about the use of multiple parcels, on multiple regions, for the primary purpose of advertising, usually on behalf of other inworld or real world businesses.
What does this mean? if you operate any such networked advertising business on the Linden Mainland, that breaks any one of the following rules or restrictions, we will consider it to be a Terms of Service violation leading to disciplinary action that can include account suspension and loss of land.
- We will allow no more than 50 advertising locations owned by a single individual, whether personally owned or via groups in which you are a member, unless you have written permission from Linden Lab to exceed this limit.Use of Alt accounts/groups to circumvent this restriction will be considered a violation.
- In addition to the cap, we will allow no more than 1 advertising placement by an individual in any single region.
The advertisements themselves..
- Adverts should be grounded to the terrain, not floating.
- Adverts should extend no higher than 8m from the ground.
- No rotating, no flashing content and no particles.
- No unsolicited dispensing of IMs, notecards, landmarks or content.
- No light sources or glow (full bright is acceptable however).
- Advertising hoardings should be Phantom.
- Adverts must be clearly PG in nature.
- No sound and no temp-on-rez content.
- Ban lines should be switched off.
We will expect that all advertisers make a reasonable attempt to fit in with the local area and to respect the wishes of Residents living nearby wherever possible. Linden Lab can and will, at its sole discretion, ask you to remove or modify any advertising related content that it feels is unacceptable. If you, using alternate accounts, groups or other methods, attempt to create a networked advertising business that extends over 50 placements without our express permission, we will consider that to be a violation and you will be asked to remove them.
Finally, if we review your land transactions and deduce that your primary purpose in placing the advertising content is to force the sale of land rather than genuinely advertise, this will be deemed to be a violation and dealt with accordingly.
Now to answer some questions that came up in the forum posts..
Q. I have several Mainland store locations, with signs above them, am I affected?
A. No, this policy change is not aimed at personal advertising of this kind.
Q. I run a business that places adverts inside clubs and malls, am I violating this policy?
A. We call this ‘affiliate advertising’, and it’s unlikely to be affected, especially when it’s inside venues and therefore not adversely affecting the local area.
Q. Does this policy include signs advertising Parcels for sale?
A. Yes it does.
Q. Why don’t you just disallow small parcels?
A. Whilst we might restrict parcel join/divide on new zoned areas in the future, for existing Mainland this isn’t practical. There are legitimate uses for small parcels and with such a limit in place, complex parcel shapes would be impossible to ever divide.
The issue here is not advertising, or parcel sizes, it is the way both are used together to the detriment of the Mainland as a whole.
Q. What about land cutting?
A. There is no doubt that this is also a problem. If the removal of ad farms doesn’t substantially reduce land cutting, we will look at other options.
Q. How do I appeal this decision or your enforcement of it?
A. We will be providing a new ticket route in the support portal specifically to handle questions related to this policy change.
Q. What are you doing about other forms of land extortion and harassment?
A. This concerns us very much, and we’ll be doing all we can to remove this behaviour. Deliberately misleading other residents, for example with doughnut shaped parcels, is unacceptable. You can expect that any practices that negatively impact the Mainland will be looked at, and where possible stopped.
If you are engaged in something that clearly has a negative and widespread impact on the Mainland experience, we will request that you stop.