Zynga Now Has Standards, Cashing in on Ads Again

Online gaming startup rewrites advertising guidelines, promises to police offers

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Jan 13, 2010  |  Updated 5:30 PM PDT
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Zynga Now Has Standards, Cashing in on Ads Again

John Adams / TechCrunch

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, left, makes up with TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, right, who helped expose the rash of scammy ads that the social gaming company cashed in on.

Zynga will allow advertisers to offer users points to spend in popular games like FarmVille again after profiting handsomely from, but ultimately banning, shady ads and offers.

But if you're pushing a get rich quick scheme, sex, misleading surveys or quietly signing players up for expensive subscriptions without their knowledge, you might be out of luck.

That's because the company's newly voluminous Advertising Guidelines prohibit those types of ads, and many, many more -- it reads like a list of all the "spammy or scammy" ads you have ever encountered online.

The eight offers the company has approved includes subscription services like Netflix and the New York Times, but as they offer "real value" and aren't misleading, they comply with the new guidelines.

The company has also put together a team and tools to assure that new offers and advertisements will meet standards. Facebook, which also profitted handsomely from early scam advertising by taking a cut of Zynga's business, had said that it had been policing its advertising partners all along.

Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus, who admitted to doing "every horrible thing in the book" to get his company off the ground and earn revenue, promised that "Looking forward, we hope to partner with the industry to develop standards and policies for advertising around social games and virtual goods" in a blog post.

Photo by John Adams / Tech Crunch.

Jackson West admits to doing every horrible thing in the book because they all looked like a good idea at the time.

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