From time to time, people get in touch with me to ask me for advertising fees on my website. In order to establish general guidelines, I’ll explain briefly the different alternatives I’m currently offering, its prices, payment methods, and restrictions on the types of ads.
Advertisement types and pricing
I’ve currently set up two types of banners. One is always at the top of all pages, and is currently served by Google Ads with the size 468×60. You can get it for US$100/month or the equivalent in Linden dollars (L$), currently set at about L$250 per US$.
The other is at the bottom of the list of articles on the homepage, just before the footer, and is currently served by the Google Affiliate Network. Its size is 728×90. You can get it for US$30/month. It does not appear on any other category page, nor on individual articles, but just on the homepage.
There are four buttons appearing in all pages, to the right of them, each 125×125 in size, and I consider them as either my own sponsors, or initiatives that I sponsor. These are more appropriate for affiliate networks, link exchanges, or similar kinds of mutual traffic direction. Each can be had by US$20/month but you will need to consult me first before applying for them, since I’m even more restrictive about the kind of links that go there.
Text links, all pages
Many advertisers only wish to increase their Google Page Ranking, and for some obscure reason, think that links from my website will benefit their own ranking. For that, they don’t need a very visible link anywhere, but just a small text link, forgotten somewhere on the page (usually on the footer), tied to a single or a handful of keywords. If these don’t conflict with my advertisement guidelines, I’m happy to run them for US$20/month. Sometimes I use commercial plugins and/or themes that, in exchange for such a link, forfeit payment. In those cases I will share the available space (as said, mostly on the footer) with many different advertisers. Running your own text link in exclusivity will cost you US$100/month (since I will have to cancel the agreements and/or pay licensing fees for those plugins/themes) and there might be a waiting time for some of the contracts to finish, so this option might not be immediately available.
Text links, one page
In some cases, advertisers don’t need links on all articles and pages, but just on a very specific section, from where they believe most of the ranking benefits will come from. Guidelines are as above, but usually the difference is that the text link is in the middle of the article itself, highlighting a few words. This will be charged US$5/month.
I’m not always available to write articles upon request, but if your product or service is within the guidelines below, I might agree to write an article on it. The price can be negotiated — it will depend on the size of the article and the depth of the coverage — but as a rule of thumb you can expect to pay something around US$250 for 500-1000 words. This is pretty much the same I also charge for writing for other websites, newspapers, magazines, and so forth. It’s deliberately expensive because I don’t have much time for that 🙂
Press releases and guest blogging
From time to time I get sent press releases to publish on my website. In almost all cases, I’m fine in just copying them over, and obviously I won’t charge anything. But there are no guarantees; my website is not really an “e-zine” or a “newszine” but a blog of essays on Second Life and related things, so I often don’t have time to deal with those.
Going beyond the press release and actually writing an article based on the press release is often beyond my time ability, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to do it — if time allows, and the topic is interesting, I’m usually glad to write something more!
I’m always open to guest blogging anywhere in the world 🙂 (subject, again, to the guidelines) If I’m free to write whatever comes to my mind, I don’t consider it a “sponsored article”, but a way to promote myself, my writing, and my website, so I will gladly accept. However, I cannot commit to become a guest blogger long-term, or to submit more than one article per month, for free. In the past I accepted some regular jobs for small opinion articles for US$20-30 per article.
I currently accept three payment methods:
- Linden dollar (L$) transfer in Second Life®. For any advert (or article) that is clearly Second Life-related, I’m assuming there will be an avatar somewhere willing to deal with me in-world. So I’m fine with L$ transfers for all those cases, using the current exchange rate, or L$250 per US$, whichever is highest. Sorry, currently I’m not using any other virtual world currency, although if you operate an OpenSim grid connected to VirVox, you might persuade me to accept your currency, since VirVox will allow conversion to L$ as well.
- PayPal payment. I’m not overly fond of PayPal as a company, but I will certainly accept US$ or € payments through PayPal, if that’s more convenient for you, except for huge contracts (because PayPal is keen on blocking accounts with a high volume of money transactions!). Since those are not likely to happen 🙂 I will deal with them on a case-by-case basis. If you wish to arrange for a different way of money transfer, it’s very likely that I will reject it; remember, PayPal works as a credit card payment gateway, too, even if you don’t wish to open an account with them.
- Goodies and vouchers for goodies. Some companies advertising on my website actually produce real world items that I might be able to use, like dresses or fashion accessories, for example. I’m willing to accept them as payment. In some cases, it means that the company gets a discount — since we will negotiate on the price listed for the item, and not on the cost of actually producing — and I get something nice to wear or use. An alternative is to get a voucher or something similar which at least covers the cost of ordering something (I won’t accept vouchers for things like “10% discounts” or “US$20 towards your order”). And I’m also at Amazon.com and eBay.com so I would gladly accept vouchers for those two companies as well.
Basically, I will accept unrestricted advertising of the following things:
- Anything related to Second Life or OpenSimulator, including other sites, blogs, e-zines; offers for products and services, either provided in-world or as B2B for developing content and/or services in SL; announcements of events held in Second Life, either recreational, academic, or business. For all purposes I consider Second Life and OpenSimulator the same technology (they’re accessible using the same viewers, after all) — just implemented differently — so I’m fine with announcing anything happening on OpenSim-based grids.
- Software, tools, applications that work with Second Life and which are not against either the Linden Lab Terms of Service nor the Community Standards: this includes, but is not restricted to, image editors, 3D model editors, animation editors, sound/video editors, announcements for streaming services targeted specifically to SL or OpenSim, and so forth. Too generic-purpose tools (i.e. which only are remotely to Second Life at all), like, for example, a graphics conversion software (which obviously can be used to tweak images for uploading to SL), may not be acceptable. Get your audience elsewhere 🙂
- Online educational applications and services, even if they’re not strictly related to Second Life. If the purpose of the advertisement is way too unrelated to SL, I may not accept it.
- Charities and other non-profits, specially if they have a SL presence, or if they’re supporting a cause that will benefit SL in some way.
- Organisations of all kinds that support SL and/or OpenSimulator, non-profit or commercial. This means that I’d be fine with Novell promoting Mono 🙂
- Art galleries or real life events promoting art created in Second Life (machinima contests, for example).
- Fashion items 🙂 Ok, so these are not SL-related, but I like them anyway! Hah! Extra bonus if you pay in goods and not cash — lol
I may accept advertising on the following items, but you’ll need to ask me first, and I reserve the right to reject them:
- Telecommunication products, namely broadband services, or software to optimise the way you connect to Second Life. This might include things like caching software, for example.
- Hosting or co-location services that work well for integration with Second Life and/or hosting OpenSimulator grids (I might have to test them first!)
I most definitely will not accept the following ads:
- Competing products to SL and/or OpenSim. Sorry, IMVU and Blue Mars, you’re out of luck! 🙂 Get your own bloggers to promote you…
- Any product or service, even if related to Second Life, that violate the Linden Lab Terms of Service. So, no spamming software, CopyBots, or any kind of mechanism to illegitimately access other user’s content and/or login data.
- Products and services, even if specifically related to Second Life and/or OpenSimulator, which are clearly sexual in nature. This is something I’m actually very sad to forbid. I’m no prude and have absolutely nothing against what people do in their privacy. The hosting provider of this website (DreamHost) has absolutely no problem with mature content (I’ve asked them, and this was one of the reasons I chose them). Linden Lab, if the content is clearly labeled as mature/adult, has no problem either. So what’s the problem? Well, it’s mostly Google, Bing, and Yahoo, who still live in the Victorian era and are paranoid about mature content. If they see something even closely resembling a nipple, they will blackball your website and forbid you to place ads from their networks there. PayPal is even worse and will seize (again…) my account with all my meagre savings there from donations and ads. So unfortunately until those prudish companies open their eyes and enter the 21st century with a new attitude, I’m afraid I’ll have to reject your ads. Still, I encourage you to be very creative, and it might be enough. If you sell animated bed poseballs for a mature audience, instead of labeling your brand “XXX-Sex-Bed” and having your product announced as “The dirtiest, sexiest animations for anyone loving a wild ride with their lovers in SL”, you might consider doing a very neutral ad for “Entertaining beds for a mature audience”. We will all know what you mean, and that ad will not harm anyone’s puritan mind. These guidelines are not unlike what Linden Lab does for classified ads, and they can get away with it (and so do you!), so they will be accepted. Be prepared to do some editing…
- Maliciously crafted links/ads/banners which include Trojans or worms or any kind of software with the purpose of, well, breaking laws, cheating on Google PageRank, or any other similar illegal activity. Don’t even try. You can improve your PageRank honestly, and I’m ready to sell you some links for that purpose; you don’t need any “special software” which will almost certainly force my website to get shut down and myself to get kicked out of DreamHost.
Oh, and needless to say, all the above guidelines and rules are subject to change at a moment’s notice, at my exclusive whim. Nevertheless I will honour a contract or at least provide a refund if I change my policies and have to exclude you in the future.
Also remember that you will share advertising with other advertisers, namely, those using Google Ads or the Google Affiliate Network. Exclusivity is expensive, but offer me enough to leave my job, and I’ll do whatever you wish with my blog 🙂 (I’m cheap, I work for minimum wages in my country, which is the EuroZone country with the lowest wages hehe)