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Do you remember what the Lindens got us for Valentine’s Day this year? No? It was a very thoughtful gift, actually. It was the official banning of ad farms.

Who farms the evil in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood …

In case you live in a luxurious estate on a covenanted island and never go and see the other side of the tracks, an ad farm or ad tower is a gigantic, ugly structure full of advertisements, usually plunked on a small patch of land in the middle of stores or residences, often put up for sale at exorbitant prices. The owners of these things don’t have much to worry about in terms of tier, because the amount of land they’re using is so small, and they can make their money on the ads themselves or on selling the land to frustrated residents who don’t want to have to look at the gaudy things all day. Some ad farmers apparently plan their ads to be as annoying as possible just to sell the land for crazy prices. Others may trying to make a relatively honest, market-driven living. Frankly, I’m not too fond of either type.

Observing the property lines clearly shows this ad farmer’s
divide-and-blight approach.

But enforcement is tricky, as always, and it seems as though some ad farming may still be surviving, as Elwood Abernathy discusses here. Well, I say “seems”, but actually there’s no doubt of it for me. All I have to do is look out the door of my store in Kumarajiva, or flit down the street 50 meters or so.

It’s worth noting, though, that there’s also some enforcement going on.

So, with the understanding that these ad farms are against the TOS, there are a few things that in theory, a clever resident might do. Warning! Some of these might be a little TOs-conflicted themselves, so please consider carefully before using them. Others, however, might be perfectly legal.

So, the thing to consider is that the new anti-ad-farm rule in February bars marring other residents’ view. It does not, however, have anything to say against barring the visibility of a particular parcel from somewhere else.

Not the worst ad farm in the world, but I wish it
weren’t located out my front door!

“Hang on, Kate!” you might say. “Are you about to advocate griefing ad farmers?”

My response to that would be um … oh look, prim parrots!

Actually, my real response is this: if you really want to get rid of ad farmers, before taking any more drastic action, please offer the farmer a fair price for his land. You can try putting together a neighborhood anti-ad farming association to handle the tier, but of course *somebody* has to be willing to pay the tier to get the ad farmer out of there. If the ad farmer just abandons the spot due to your actions or anything else, another one is likely to come along presently and start things all over again! So the first rule of eliminating ad farms is, don’t talk about – no, wait, that’s a different rule. The actual first rule is “to get rid of ad farms, someone who is not an ad farmer needs to be willing to own the land.” An enterprising businessperson might offer to put up beautiful sculptures in those spaces that quietly, with only a small nameplate or something, make known her sculpture business. The same with painters or landscapers. But in most cases, neighbors will probably have to buy the thing. If you can put together a neighborhood association that dots the landscape with truffula trees and sculptie centaur fountains, I say do that. At worst, buy the land and leave it empty.

What’s a fair price? I’d suggest 150%-200% of the average per-square-meter price of land in the area. That may sound like a lot, but these are pretty small plots of land, and it’s important that the offer be fair. I’d suggest mentioning that the ad farm is against the TOS and you don’t like it in your neighborhood, so you’re offering to buy it to take it down, and if that fails, you may have to resort to “more creative measures.” Which are?

Blocking the ad farms, basically. There are two ways I can think of to do this, the second one more griefy than the first. Please use your best judgement.

So if tactic 1 doesn’t work, you can always consider

If you don’t own the land immediately around the ad farm, you’ll have to work with whoever does to accomplish this, but it’s easy enough other than that: just spend a few prims for a while and build around the ad farms, hiding the ads and making the farms worthless. Put something pretty on the prims, even blue sky, but conceivably images of towers or trees or whatever suits your build and your fancy. If you and your neighbors own all of the land around the ad farms, then you have the upper hand. The ad farmer can always elevate, expand, and take other nasty measures, but firm resistance may do the job. In theory, the walls should only need to be temporary.

But there are places where obstructing prims won’t work. For instance, in Kumarajiva, we have a wonderful Linden road going through our sim, which is why I chose to build there. Unfortunately, many of the ad farms in our sim are right on the edge of the road, so that at least one side of them, the most visible one, can’t be obscured by building. If you own land nearby, though, you have another option in theory, if you feel confident in your case that it’s not griefing: you poof them.

There are two kinds of poofing, and either one can work well, although both put a small additional load on your sim. One is temp on rez prims, and the other is particles. Temp on rez prims actually count against the prim limits for the simulator (although not for a particular parcel), so they may be best to avoid, but particle generators render on the client and may be a better and less laggy choice in some cases.

If you’re not familiar with them, particle generation scripts send out either glowing bits (as with fireworks) or floating textures (as with a bush that emits butterflies) in one or more directions, for a particular distance, at a particular speed. Both particles and temp on rez objects can be sent to a location, where they might unfortunately block the view of some blightful ad farm (such a shame). These could be in the form of a swarm of butterflies, a simple flat panel, a cloud of mist, will-o-the-wisps, or any number of things. Just whatever you do, don’t block an ad farm with something even uglier!

My “chest of bats” causes a bunch of particle bats to come screeching out when you touch the chest
Fly, my beauties, and do my evil bidding! model: the wittily gothic nox Pinion.

To learn about building and scripting these kinds of things, try the building resources on Second Links. One of the listings there is for a neat Web page by Zeja Pyle that will give you a particle generation script if you fill in details in a Web form.

Does anyone know of people or freebie objects that can help in poofing away ad farms? If something’s desperately needed, I’ll try to find time to cook something up and offer it at Kate Tease.

Does this mean I’m turning to the dark side? Why no! I’m just inciting bad behavior, not performing it. Really, I’m all for moral absolutism…under the right circumstances.

^^^\ Kate /^^^