The University's website advertising policy is intended to apply to all University of Virginia Web pages signified by the address "virginia.edu" or those within the range of Internet and addresses assigned to the University of Virginia. University departments or units with websites based on non-University servers must comply with the terms of this policy in order to be linked from the University's home page structure.
Consistent with University and state policy on the appropriate use of University-owned equipment, the University's Web page must not be used for commercial, non-mission-related purposes.
In practice, this means that advertising space cannot be sold at any level of the University’s websites. "Advertising" refers to any situation in which the University or one of its units receives payment or in-kind gifts in exchange for a link or brand placement on a University Web page. Please see definitions below.
While advertising cannot be sold at any level, links to commercial vendors may be made in the following specific situations:
- Licensed software required for Web viewing
The logo or graphic represents licensed software on which a core function of the page is based, e.g., Adobe Acrobat Reader, VeriSign, Facebook, YouTube.
- Links to separately contracted vendor
The logo or link is to a vendor or other entity separately contracted to provide services to the University; e.g., ARAmark, TIAA, Fidelity Insurance, Nike.
- Sponsorship Recognition
Within a unit's Web page, a logo or link can be displayed at that unit's second level page or below to acknowledge support of the unit's mission-related activities through sponsorship. Such logos or links are deemed to be in recognition of corporate or other external sponsorship; payment may not be accepted for such links or logos.
- Educational Purposes
The text link provides information for educational or other mission-related purposes and the University has received no consideration for incorporating that link.
Guidelines for Linking and Presentation
In all of these cases, a link should provide information for educational or other mission-related purposes, and the University cannot have received consideration for incorporating that link.
Such links should in no way imply endorsement of products or services offered by the external entity. Any descriptive text accompanying the link should be value neutral. Acceptable language might include: "For more information: [link]." Unacceptable language: "Check out this great website [link]."
Such links should go to the home page of the entity's website, and wherever possible, links should not go to pages on which products or commercial services are offered for sale. The logo, text or graphic should not include any qualitative or comparative language or descriptions of the non-University party's products, services, facilities or company, including but not limited to price information, inducement to purchase, endorsements, savings or value.
Particularly in cases where a group of external hyperlinks is included, it is recommended that the following language appear on the page: “Links to websites external to the University of Virginia should not be considered an endorsement of those websites or any information contained therein.”
In all cases, the design of departmental or unit pages that incorporate commercial links must be consistent with established graphic and placement standards for University Web pages. For example, commercial or text logos or display material may not be placed in the "banner" area, roughly the top quarter of a page, and pop-up notice of sponsorship will not be allowed under any circumstances.
Links to sponsors or other corporate recognition on a unit's home page (i.e., the third level off the University home page) will not be allowed except under special circumstances considered on a case-by-case basis by the University's Network-based Information Systems (N-BIS) editorial board. Examples of such might be the University Bookstore or the University Press (selling merchandise).
The following definitions should be considered general and applicable to this policy only.
University of Virginia Web Page
A page created or maintained by or on behalf of the University of Virginia or an office, department or division of the University of Virginia and located within the University of Virginia's information technology environment; i.e., signified by the address "virginia.edu" or within the range of Internet addresses assigned to the University of Virginia. [Note: Web page and website may be used interchangeably.]
Link, Hyperlink or Hypertext Link
A logo, text or other identifier incorporating a link to a website external to the University of Virginia, placed on a UVA Web page without compensation.
A logo, text or other identifier incorporating a link to a website external to the University of Virginia, placed on a UVA Web page in exchange for remuneration or gifts in kind, where that placement is intended to promote or market a service, facility or product offered by the entity's website for a commercial purpose. Advertising includes messages containing qualitative or comparative language, price information or other indications of savings or value, an endorsement or an inducement to purchase, sell or use any company, service, facility or product.
A logo, text or other identifier incorporating a link to a website external to the University of Virginia, placed on a UVA Web page to acknowledge donation of services, products or financial or research support to the University of Virginia or an office, unit, center, department or division of the University of Virginia.
The IRS defines sponsorship as "a payment for which there is no expectation that the sponsor will receive a 'substantial return benefit,' [and] the income received by the sponsored organization is not subject to tax as unrelated business income."
An advertisement placed on a website above, below or to the side of the site's main content area.