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Unread 03-21-11, 06:14 PM   #1
Cairenn
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Reminder for Authors re Blizz's AddOn Dev Policy

Given the reports we have received from a number of authors concerning an email/PM they were sent today, we felt that this would be a good time to remind authors of Blizzard's UI AddOn Development policy. It is as follows:

With the continuing popularity of World of Warcraft user interface add-ons (referred to hereafter as “add-ons”) created by the community of players, Blizzard Entertainment has formalized design and distribution guidelines for add-ons. These guidelines have been put in place to ensure the integrity of World of Warcraft and to help promote an enjoyable gaming environment for all of our players – failure to abide by them may result in measures up to and including taking formal legal action.

1) Add-ons must be free of charge.
All add-ons must be distributed free of charge. Developers may not create “premium” versions of add-ons with additional for-pay features, charge money to download an add-on, charge for services related to the add-on, or otherwise require some form of monetary compensation to download or access an add-on.
2) Add-on code must be completely visible.
The programming code of an add-on must in no way be hidden or obfuscated, and must be freely accessible to and viewable by the general public.
3) Add-ons must not negatively impact World of Warcraft realms or other players.
Add-ons will perform no function which, in Blizzard Entertainment’s sole discretion, negatively impacts the performance of the World of Warcraft realms or otherwise negatively affects the game for other players. For example, this includes but is not limited to excessive use of the chat system, unnecessary loading from the hard disk, and slow frame rates.
4) Add-ons may not include advertisements.
Add-ons may not be used to advertise any goods or services.
5) Add-ons may not solicit donations.
Add-ons may not include requests for donations. We recognize the immense amount of effort and resources that go into developing an add-on; however, such requests should be limited to the add-on website or distribution site and should not appear in the game.
6) Add-ons must not contain offensive or objectionable material.
World of Warcraft has been given a “T” by the ESRB, and similar ratings from other ratings boards around the world. Blizzard Entertainment requires that add-ons not include any material that would not be allowed under these ratings.
7) Add-ons must abide by World of Warcraft ToU and EULA.
All add-ons must follow the World of Warcraft Terms of Use and the World of Warcraft End User License Agreement.
8) Blizzard Entertainment has the right to disable add-on functionality as it sees fit.
To maintain the integrity World of Warcraft and ensure the best possible gaming experience for our players, Blizzard Entertainment reserves the right to disable any add-on functionality within World of Warcraft at its sole discretion.
The official announcement is here.

Accepting 'sponsorship' of your addons in exchange for a popup in game saying that your addon is "sponsored by [X] company" would be in violation of this policy. Blizzard would immediately be asking you to remove the popup in question &/or preventing your mod from working in-game &/or whatever else they felt appropriate.

Also, we'd like to apologize for the fact that a number of you were contacted by this particular company through the use of our Private Messaging system. The account has been banned and the PMs all deleted.

Last edited by Cairenn : 03-21-11 at 07:50 PM.
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Unread 03-21-11, 09:26 PM   #2
Crissa
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What skeeve sent the message, though?

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Unread 03-21-11, 09:40 PM   #3
Xinhuan
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If you must know, the message said:

----------------
Hello <author>,

I am contacting you to offer to sponsor your addon <addon>. We have recognized how useful your addon is and how much time and work goes into creating and updating it. We currently advise all the members who purchase our <Blah> to download and use <addon>.

We are offering to pay you every time you update your addon (our company pulls in a good amount of revenue so we can afford to pay you well). All you have to do is make it so when someone logs in for the first time after updating your addon a window will appear stating that <addon> is sponsored by <Blah2> and have one or two lines of text about our <Blah> with a link to our website. This only has to show up the first time you login after an update NOT every time they login.

The sponsorship window was just an idea if you don’t want to do that and have another suggestion I am willing to negotiate. If you are interested at all please email me back with any terms or conditions you might have and also how much you would want to get paid for this sponsorship.

<Blah's website address>
----------------

It quite clearly violates the addon policy as it is paid advertising, and thus I applaud the quick action to delete the messages - however, email copies of the message (wowi sends emails on PMs received with the contents) do remain.

Can you imagine if 10 addons you use suddenly popped up a box after patch day? Disastrous.
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Unread 03-22-11, 12:05 AM   #4
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I wouldn't do it at all, but imho there's a small difference between sponsorship and pure advertising.

What if the title bar or whatever of an addon shows (let's say on first start) something like "Sponsored by clickmeandibiteyou.com"?


Originally Posted by Xinhuan View Post
It quite clearly violates the addon policy as it is paid advertising
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Unread 03-22-11, 01:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Duugu View Post
I wouldn't do it at all, but imho there's a small difference between sponsorship and pure advertising.

What if the title bar or whatever of an addon shows (let's say on first start) something like "Sponsored by clickmeandibiteyou.com"?
There's definitely a point where it becomes advertising. If you pay money / offer support, and you get your icon/logo shown on the user's screen, then the line's been crossed. Which is kind of the point of sponsorship, to get your brand/product displayed, so perhaps it could be said they're one and the same.

Now, if you kept your sponsor's branding on the website/page where users downloaded your addon, then that would be perfectly fine.

Last edited by Nibelheim : 03-22-11 at 01:08 AM.
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Unread 03-22-11, 02:24 AM   #6
Zyonin
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Originally Posted by Nibelheim View Post
There's definitely a point where it becomes advertising. If you pay money / offer support, and you get your icon/logo shown on the user's screen, then the line's been crossed. Which is kind of the point of sponsorship, to get your brand/product displayed, so perhaps it could be said they're one and the same.

Now, if you kept your sponsor's branding on the website/page where users downloaded your addon, then that would be perfectly fine.
Exactly. Remember, Blizzard works to keep WoW clear of such commerical messages which detract from the enviroment that Blizzard strives to create. Keep the third party adverts (of any kind) on your website and out of the game. We, the players thank you for it.
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Unread 03-22-11, 03:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Nibelheim View Post
There's definitely a point where it becomes advertising. If you pay money / offer support, and you get your icon/logo shown on the user's screen, then the line's been crossed. Which is kind of the point of sponsorship, to get your brand/product displayed, so perhaps it could be said they're one and the same.

Now, if you kept your sponsor's branding on the website/page where users downloaded your addon, then that would be perfectly fine.
I totally agree with you that there is a line. But to tell the truth I can't follow you definition of sponsoring and advertising.

I can't see why showing a company's name on my webpage is considered as sponsoring and showing a company's name inside my addon should be advertising.

Imho sponsoring is supporting someone or something with money, services, or whatever to get certain things done and to provide something for the users.
Advertising is to purely promoting something without any value for the users.
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Unread 03-22-11, 03:57 AM   #8
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It's a matter of semantics. Sponsoring has a positive connotation, and is used to indicate that you support and endorse an event/action/product.

Advertising on the other hand, has a neutral to negative connotation, and is used to primarily raise awareness of an event/action/product.

The thing is, sponsorship almost always has the effect of advertising - raising awareness of said event/action/product.
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Unread 03-22-11, 05:07 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Duugu View Post
I totally agree with you that there is a line. But to tell the truth I can't follow you definition of sponsoring and advertising.

I can't see why showing a company's name on my webpage is considered as sponsoring and showing a company's name inside my addon should be advertising.
Well, they're kind of separate entities. Let's say a company sponsors a particular event. They do this by providing financial support and services. Their motivation for doing so could be purely financial, or they could have vested interests in the event's topics, or simply find that it's a good cause and want to help out. This is the sponsorship. However, as part of their sponsorship deal, they place their banners around the event in order to advertise for their company. So now we have an event that's being sponsored, but is also displaying advertisements.

It's ok to place advertisements on websites because the AddOn policy only restricts advertisements in game. So, feel free to sponsor and be sponsored, just don't place advertisements / logos / symbols etc in game

Last edited by Nibelheim : 03-22-11 at 05:09 AM.
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Unread 03-24-11, 01:46 AM   #10
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Isnt that what GearScore is doing with TenTonHammer or whatever that name is?
Or hell, Bejeweled with Popcap :P
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Unread 03-24-11, 02:55 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Siku View Post
Isnt that what GearScore is doing with TenTonHammer or whatever that name is?
Or hell, Bejeweled with Popcap :P
Or - strictly speaking - LightHeaded which shows the wowhead logo.
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Unread 03-24-11, 04:31 PM   #12
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True. So obviously there are some edge cases. Blizzard doesn't want to stop you from using WoWhead resources, so banning their logo (icon) would be silly. Nor do they want people's UIs to be bereft of imagery or back links to the source website for support and attribution.

It's a fine line to walk.

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Unread 03-24-11, 06:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Siku View Post
Isnt that what GearScore is doing with TenTonHammer or whatever that name is?
Or hell, Bejeweled with Popcap :P
Popcap already got permission from Blizzard to release an obfuscated addon, I haven't actually looked at TenTonHammer but I don't think they do any direct advertising. You can always email Blizzard if you think an addons crossing the line though.

Originally Posted by Duugu View Post
Or - strictly speaking - LightHeaded which shows the wowhead logo.
LH is crediting WoWHead for their data, not advertising it.
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