Linden Lab Official:Policy on ad farms and network advertisers

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We'd like to explain the specifics of what we're doing with respect to advertising on the Linden Mainland.

Note: Please keep in mind that this article is about the Linden Mainland, and does not apply to Private Regions (islands), where the Estate owners choose how they wish to run their own Estates.

Contents

What is an ad farm?

For the purposes of this document, "Ad Farm" applies specifically to advertising or content that is intended solely to drive an unreasonable price for the land parcel it is on, usually by spoiling the nearby visual environment for others. Advertisements themselves are not the issue; we don't want to stop legitimate advertising or the use of small parcels for promoting events or stores. So, advertising is okay, but when it crosses the line into harassing behavior or visual spam, and where the intent is purely to compel another resident to pay an unreasonable price to restore their view -- it violates the Harassment policy in our Community Standards. Such cases should be abuse reported as you would any other Terms of Service or Community Standards violation, so that our governance team can take the appropriate action. It is difficult for us to define exactly how one specific example is abuse when compared to another, but our intention is to be as consistent as we possibly can and to remove offending content as it is reported to us. Also, please keep in mind that this only applies to the Mainland; it does not impact private Estates or islands where the Estate owner is able to manage their land themselves.

Summary

Using content, particularly advertising, to deliberately and negatively affect another Resident's view so as to sell a parcel for an unreasonable price, is deemed unacceptable and shall be dealt with as a violation of our Community Standards.

How to most effectively abuse report Ad Farm situations

When filing an abuse report, please stand beside the offending content before choosing Report Abuse from the Help menu. Use the Harassment category and include the phrase Ad Farm in the summary line. Enter the parcel owner's name, if you know it. If the parcel or object is group-owned, then enter the owner or an officer of the group. If you can't find any of these names, enter "Governor Linden" (yes, we're asking you to abuse report the Gov, it's okay, she won't mind...) and enter as much supporting detail as you can. Our first action when we come across cases of ad farming is usually to return the content and warn the person responsible. Repeated violation may bring further action, including suspension. If you are suspended and feel our decision was wrong, you can submit an appeal.

What is networked advertising?

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're 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.

Note: By "networked advertising", we're specifically talking about the use of multiple parcels on multiple Regions for the primary purpose of advertising, usually on behalf of other inworld businesses or organizations outside of Second Life.

Advertising rules and restrictions

If you operate a 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. The use of alt accounts/groups to circumvent this restriction will be considered a violation.
  • In addition to this cap, we will allow no more than one advertising placement by an individual in any single Region.

The advertisements themselves should conform to the following rules and restrictions:

  • Ads should be grounded to the terrain, not floating.
  • Ads 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.
  • Ads must be clearly File:Parcel_lght_G.png General 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 we feel 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section answers some questions that came up in the forum posts following the initial announcement of this policy change on the Official Second Life Blogs.

I have several Mainland store locations with signs above them; am I affected?

No. This policy change is not aimed at personal advertising of this kind.

I run a business that places ads inside clubs and malls; am I violating this policy?

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.

Does this policy include signs advertising parcels for sale?

Yes it does.

Why don't you just disallow small parcels?

While we might restrict parcel join/divide on new zoned areas in the future, this type of restriction isn't practical for existing Mainland. 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's the way both are used together to the detriment of the Mainland as a whole.

What about land cutting?

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.

How do I appeal this decision or your enforcement of it?

Read about submitting an appeal.

What are you doing about other forms of land extortion and harassment?

This concerns us very much, and we'll be doing all we can to remove this behavior. Deliberately misleading other Residents (for example, with donut-shaped parcels) is unacceptable. You can expect that any practices that negatively impact the Mainland will be looked at and stopped where possible.

If you're engaged in something that clearly has a negative and widespread impact on the Mainland experience, we will request that you stop.

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