Sunday, March 2, 2008
Linden Lab bans extortionate “ad farms"
SECOND LIFE, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Linden Lab has banned “ad farms,” the small plots of land with gaudy advertisements that are designed to extort neighboring landowners.
“Whilst advertising in itself is okay, where it crosses the line into harassing behavior or visual spam, where the intent is purely to compel another resident to pay an unreasonable price to restore their view - then this will be covered under Harassment in our Community Standards,” Jack Linden wrote in a blog post.
“It will obviously be difficult for us to define exactly where example A is an abuse issue as compared to example B where it is not,” he added. “‘Ad Farm’ will apply specifically to advertising or content that is intended solely to drive an unreasonable price for the parcel it is on, usually by spoiling the view of others.”
Early reaction from Second Life residents was largely positive, but concerns over what will be considered an “ad farm” linger. “It’s imperfect, but it’s a start,” said Taran Rampersad, who writes about Second Life under the avatar name Nobody Fugazi. “Linden Lab taking this step indicates a willingness to deal with the harder questions to come.”
Jeff Strohman, a Second Life land trader known in-world as Stetson Rail, was so exasperated by ad farmers he said he considered a lawsuit, but opted not to take action due to the costs of suing an avatar physically located in another country. He estimated ad farms lower the value of adjacent land by 20 percent.
Beyond the economic damage ad farms cause, there’s also the aesthetic one, Strohman said. “They only hurt Second Life and make it look like a damn junkyard,” he said.
(Image courtesy of Carl Metropolitan)
By Eric Reuters