Advertising

[Updated 2021-09-17]

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, their prices, payment methods, and restrictions on the types of ads.

Advertisement types and pricing

Banners

I’ve currently set up two types of banners. One is always at the top of all pages, and is being 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.

My apologies, but the current theme/template layout prevents me to offer those two options at the moment. If you really want something like that, we would have to negotiate a theme/template change, which I will do only on a case-by-case basis (in other words, there would be an additional cost for changing the theme/template or developing a new one). Also note that the homepage is currently set with ‘infinite scroll’, which means that placing ads in the footer is pointless!

Currently, there is just one vertical banner on the right sidebar (120x600px), which is served (and sold!) via Google Ads. You’re welcome to contact Google to advertise through them specifically on my blog. I’d be willing to dump Google and run your own banner instead, but I would have to consider your offer very thoroughly — it has to really make sense for you to go with that route (going via Google will be cheaper, trust me) — and, for now, I’m not open to discussing that option.

You can persuade me to add an additional vertical banner just for you, either above or below the Google one: this will make sense as the homepage is currently on infinite scroll, and each article I write (except for the ancient ones from the mid-2000s) is really long — guaranteeing that people will scroll down the page and see your ad.

Above the Google ad banner: US$100/month

Below the Google ad banner: US$75/month

Buttons

There are (at least) four buttons appearing on all pages, on the right sidebar, each 125x125px in size (twice that for Retina displays), and I consider them as either my own sponsors or causes/initiatives that I support. These are more appropriate for affiliate networks, link exchanges, or similar kinds of mutual traffic direction. Any one of them can be had for US$20/month, but you will need to consult me first before applying for those since I’m even more restrictive about the kind of links that go there.

Text links, all pages/articles

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, single page/article

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.

Sponsored articles

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 🙂

(NB: this is for me to write something that endorses your product/service/brand; see also the next item)

Publishing someone else’s sponsored article

When I first started this advertisement section, most people just wanted a regular ad here or there. These days, however, thanks to the way Google has been fine-tuning their ranking engine, the bulk of the advertising requests I get are for publishing someone else’s article, which will sponsor a product/service, while trying to write in the spirit of the overall website, so that it feels ‘genuine’ enough for Google to rank it accordingly.

In general, I will refuse any such requests. My website is quite personal and opinionated, and I’m the sole person in absolute control of all content published here; this is a commitment I have made long ago with my audience. Also, it feels a bit like cheating — it’s not my content, so why should it be published on a website that carries my name?

I now understand why so many people are keen to ask me for this particular form of advertising. You see, my website’s domain address has been around for a very long time (‘Internet time’, that is). Google & friends have been constantly crawling my content and finding it genuine and of reasonable good quality — consistently so, year after year. There is a reason for that: because I never intended to make a living out of this website, it was not tailored to become clickbait or some sort of ‘fake’ website which only exists for the sole purpose of attracting visitors and selling ads. Rather, here, content is queen — if my site looks so attractive for marketeers, then it’s for a good reason: it has a lot of content, and all of it is genuine — not ‘forged’ to look ‘genuine’ in order to boost my rankings.

As a consequence, it makes no sense for me to abandon my original purpose of this website in exchange for a handful of coins. You can always place ads.

(Note: everybody has their price; feel free to tempt me with a proposal I cannot refuse!)

Press releases

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!

Inviting me as a guest blogger

I’m always open to being a guest blogger 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.

Payment methods

I currently accept the following payment methods:

  1. 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 (this might change, though).
  2. 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.
  3. 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”). I will also gladly accept vouchers for eBay, Amazon or the Apple Store.
  4. Stripe. I’m not really familiar with Stripe, but I do have an account there, and, theoretically, I can accept transfers. If that’s your only option of payment, I’m willing to give it a try.
  5. Cryptocurrency. To be very honest, I’m not really a fan of crypto; the more time passes, the more it seems to exist only for the purpose of wild speculation — far more crypto is transacted only on the exchanges than being used for its original purpose, namely, buying products and services. However, on this day and age, not even I can avoid having access to a wallet able to accept some cryptocurrencies. Contact me first — I will deliberately avoid those which fluctuate far too wildly for my tastes, but I may accept some of the less speculative ones.

At the moment, I don’t accept cash, checks, SEPA or Bank Transfers of any sort.

Payment will be expected in advance and paid quarterly; I’ll put your ad(s) down otherwise, no questions asked, but I won’t delete it from the database immediately: they will stay around for a while (without being displayed), in case that you wish to pay for then again.

I’m not really in the ad business, so don’t expect that I follow all relevant rules and regulations on all countries on Planet Earth. Generally speaking, I will abide by the laws of the Republic of Portugal (consumer protection laws are more-or-the-less similar across all member states of the European Economic Area — EU + a handful of non-EU countries, including the UK). This means, for instance, that you’re entitled to break out of your initial agreement with me up to 15 days after the first day your ad is displayed and get a full refund (no questions asked). We all have a right to change our minds, and these 15 days ought to give you a good idea if the advert is generating revenue for you according to your expectations.

Guidelines for advert acceptance and rejection

Basically, I will accept unrestricted advertising for 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!). Occasionally, I promote those kinds of services I actually use and like with a badge on the sidebar for no charge at all.

I most definitely will not accept the following ads:

  • Competing products to SL and/or OpenSim. Sorry, IMVU & friends, 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 (i.e. obscene/pornographic). This is something I’m actually very sad to forbid. I’m no prude and have absolutely nothing against what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms (and with whom). The provider of the server running this website (a German company) has no problem with adult/erotic content, but draws the line at obscene/pornographic material (the question is where to draw the line….). 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, Yahoo, and their ilk, as well as the companies placing adverts through their services, which still live in the Victorian era and are paranoid about spo-called 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…
  • Similarly, ads for gambling (online or otherwise), casinos, anything that can be considered prostitution (and outlawed somewhere in the world), sale of illegal substances for consumption (narcotics, prescription drugs), sale of weapons of any sort, and any form of hate speech or discrimination of any person or group of persons in any possibly way will be rejected — no matter what language they might be written in, and whatever jurisdiction the person lives in (some are far more restrictive than others). This means that I cannot accept, for instance, ads for products with cannabis — even if it’s legal to sell them in several countries and many states in the US — simply because others forbid such products, and Google probably will block everything out of an abudance of caution — independently of what I think about those activities! So, sorry — but no.
  • 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, sending out spam, mining cryptocurrency (aye, you can do it in Javascript), phishing attempts, impersonating a bona fide organisation (or person), participate in a DDoS attack, adverts for a scam (‘make money fast!’, illegal pyramid schemes such as Ponzi, or selling products, goods or services that are nothing more than ‘snake oil’ but which will always attract gullible victims), or any other similar illegal activity. Don’t even try.

In other words, as a guideline, I will refuse to show any ads for anything that someone, somewhere, is legally forbidden to provide; as well as ads for anything that will almost certainly force my website to get shut down and myself to get kicked out of my current provider.

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. 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)

Final considerations

As mentioned above, I’m not in the business of selling adverts. I only do it occasionally because some very nice, kind people get on their knees and beg me to allow them to place their ads on my website.

Therefore, don’t expect business-class customer support or any kind of service that you might expect from professional click-bait hosting services and similar media, which only exist for the purpose of driving traffic — they have teams of people working full-time just for that purpose, while I barely manage to scrap a few minutes per week just to keep this website up and running.

By buying ads on my website(s) [the same conditions apply to the other, SL-related websites I host], you agree that I shall not be liable for any loss of profit on your part or even a failure to meet your own expectations.

You are also the sole responsible person for actually measuring the number of visits/click-throughs/whatever your favourite metric is. While I keep some rudimentary tools to calculate those metrics (some of them redundantly calculating the same data, but differently — and often reaching completely different results, as expected…), and I will occasionally be willing to share such data with you, I will not provide you with a ‘turnkey solution’ for you to estimate your revenue based on the traffic I generate for your ads. I do use some internal statistics, but mostly to evaluate performance (and not advert rentability), currently limited to the following tools/services:

  • Raw ad statistics and metrics, provided directly by the WordPress plugin I use to manage ads
  • Google Analytics (integrated into WordPress via the Site Kit)
  • WordPress Jetpack analytics
  • New Relic instrumentation (web server/PHP performance measurements, including database accesses)
  • Cloudflare statistics (mostly to figure out how much bandwidth was saved)
  • Extensive server logs, raw and unprocessed

Because the overall application stack includes a lot of caching mechanisms (starting with static page generation at the WordPress level; Google PageSpeed as a web server module to deal with some optimisations; internal web server caching; image caching provided by WordPress Photon; and Cloudflare caching… all working simultaneously and in conjunction with local storage at the browser level), it’s also very difficult to give exact measurements for very trivial cases, such as the number of times your ad was displayed to different visitors. The multiple caching levels were designed to minimise outgoing traffic, keeping performance up, and saving bandwidth and precious resources (CPU, memory). As a consequence, all the above statistical services do not agree on the same numbers (and sometimes are really way off!), and that’s the best reason for not offering to show them publicly — they’re more confusing than useful for the purposes of measuring the success of an ad campaign (but tremendously useful for my task of the overall network, server & application maintenance and performance tuning!).

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