Well, Wizards is never going to get off their lawyered up asses to release a new GSL, let alone a fansite policy. But White Wolf has a new one!
I don’t usually play WW games myself. It’s not a fault of the games usually. I feel like the people out there that play White Wolf fall into three categories – the gothy goth ‘take it real seriously’ pagan types (not my crowd), the teenagers in Dr. Seuss ‘Cat in the Hat’ hats (definitely not my crowd), and the normal gamers that play WW games like they’re D&D, all about the combat no roleplay (pointless, there’s better wargames). I’d like the opportunity to do some WW gaming with normal-but-deep-RP people.
But while researching my article on RPG site Web traffic, I went to look at the WW site to see if I could figure out why their traffic has dropped off 54% in 3 months. Not sure this is the answer, but I came across their new fan site guidelines (the “Dark Pack”). They try to make them reasonable, but the resultant list of rules is a mess that will inhibit fansites substantially.
They do a good job of separating the carrot from the stick. If you do the things at the top of the page, you get to be listed in the Dark Pack links on their site, which is a good incentive-based approach. Unfortunately, this section is just “use this standard Dark Pack logo and link.”
Then once you get into the “restrictions for all sites” section it gets a lot harder.
1. No revenue of any sort – including no ads or Google Adwords – they specify that even your hoster can’t put ads or AdWords on your pages. That’s a problem. Sure, it’s WW’s “right” to be the only one making money of their content but it’s problematic when many fansites have gone over to hosted blogs or free-for-ads Web hosts. Even LiveJournal is now inserting ads into their Basic accounts. This effectively excludes lots of people who rely on free Web hosting or blogs of one stripe or another.