Linden Lab Official:Policy on ad farms and network advertisers
|Note: This article is about the mainland, and does not apply to private regions (islands), where the estate owners choose how they wish to run their own estates.
What is an ad farm?
For the purposes of this document, "ad farm" means advertising or content 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 prohibited; Legitimate advertising or using small parcels for promoting events or stores is allowed. But when advertising crosses the line into harassing behavior or "visual spam," and the intent is purely to compel another Resident to pay an unreasonable price to restore their view, it violates the harassment policy in the Community Standards. Although difficult to define exactly when advertising crosses this line, the intent is to be as consistent as possible and Linden Lab will remove offending content that is reported.
When you encounter an ad farm, please file an abuse report as you would for any other violation of the Terms of Service or Community Standards. Also, please keep in mind that this only applies to the mainland; it does not impact private estates or islands where the estate manages the land and its use.
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 the 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", means 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
No one wants to be subjected to unwanted advertising — whether in the real or virtual world. Be considerate of your neighbors and avoid "ad farms."
If you operate a networked advertising business on the 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.
- No more than fifty (50) locations containing advertising on the mainland may be owned and/or operated by any single individual or organization, whether through a personal account or a group account, unless you have obtained written permission from Linden Lab to exceed this limit.
- No more than one advertisement is permitted by any single individual or organization (whether through a personal account or a group account) in any single region.
- You should consider an "advertisement," as we’re using the term here, to be the common understanding of that term, including any content that explicitly promotes any space, good or service (whether in Second Life or elsewhere).
In addition, advertisements must comply with these requirements:
- They must be grounded to the terrain, not floating.
- They must extend no higher than 8 m from the ground.
- They must contain no rotating or flashing content and no particles.
- They must not dispense unsolicited IMs, note cards, landmarks or content.
- They must emit no light sources or glow (full bright is acceptable).
- Advertising hoardings must be Phantom.
- Ad content must be clearly General in nature.
- Ads must not contain sound or temp-on-rez content.
- Ad content may not be political in nature.
- Ban lines should be switched off.
All advertisers must 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 unacceptable advertising-related content. If you use alternate accounts, groups or other methods to attempt to create a networked advertising business that extends over 50 placements without express permission from Linden Lab, you will be asked to remove them.
Finally, if a review your land transactions shows 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
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?
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.