Articles, Article Marketing, and Article Spam

We've received some feedback lately from users that have had documents deleted, or in some cases have had their accounts blocked, because their documents met Scribd's criteria for article spam. Here's an example of one such email, which is nearly identical to all the others:

All of my documents contained useful information, they were not "advertisements". Yes, they contained links to other websites within, although most of the sites in the documents were not mine anyway. Am I to understand that if a document has links to other websites that they are not allowed?

Given the consistent nature of the confusion, I will enumerate the differences between an article, article marketing, and article spam - at least as far as Scribd is concerned.

First off, Scribd is intended as a free service for non-commercial use. Scribd Terms of Service state that users may not:

post, upload or distribute marketing material, advertisements, spam, content designed to aid search engine optimization, content in HTML format with links or redirects, or other commercial content that detracts from the Scribd experience.

Despite this, we understand that iPaper can be a powerful enhancement to any website, so we're very accomodating to legitimate businesses that use Scribd to create iPaper documents to embed into their websites. Some examples Scribd include some real estate firms, magazines, and some catalogs.

We firmly draw the line, however, at documents that overuse or obscure links for the express purpose of diverting traffic to a sales point under the pretense of dubious 'useful information.' Documents of this nature dilute and diminish Scribd's content. Article spam is deleted as soon as it's located or reported.

The difference between an article, responsible marketing, and spam is fairly easy to discern. But an embedded document is worth a thousand words, so I'll illustrate with some examples.

This is an article:

<!-- document.write(''); -->

This is article marketing at a level that we find acceptable:

<!-- document.write(''); -->
Read this doc on Scribd: Stop Bitching

This is article spam:

Read this doc on Scribd: Fake Spam
var scribd_doc = new scribd.Document(2433913, 'key-1ighhqmxcx3gy1xluscu'); scribd_doc.write('embedded_flash_2433913_1hu853');