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How Social Media Helped Me Get Unbanned from a Social Media Site in 1 Hour and 44 Minutes

Posted By Darren Rowse 1st of August 2008 Social Media 0 Comments

stumbleupon-unbanned.pngIn my last post I wrote that I’d just discovered that StumbleUpon had banned me.

I’m happy to announce that 1 hour and 44 minutes after posting that – I was unbanned.

How did it happen? I put it down to Social Media. Here’s the story:

  1. I had a number of people Tweet me 30 or so minutes before I posted my last post telling me that I was banned. I can only presume it happened around that times they all came at once.
  2. I reacted quickly by first emailing StumbleUpon using their contact form.
  3. I then posted my last post here at ProBlogger
  4. This post appeared moments later in my Twitter stream (this happens automatically)
  5. I plurked a link to the post.
  6. A few minutes later it was submitted to Digg (something I didn’t even consider doing)
  7. I received a heap of Twitter responses and the story was re-tweeted by quite a few of my followers
  8. I received a Direct Message tweet within moments fro a follower who gave me the email address of the community manager at StumbleUpon – I emailed him
  9. The post on Digg was at 90 Diggs within about half an hour
  10. Twitter was alive with the story (see this screen grab of Twitscoop which shows the tag cloud of what people were talking about on Twitter).
  11. Many readers emailed Stumbleupon
  12. I received an email and a comment on ProBlogger from the community manager at StumbleUpon an hour and a quarter after the post went live. He said that it could be resolved and that he’d like us to blog about the situation both here on ProBlogger and the SU blog. I emailed back that I would be happy to do so.
  13. ProBlogger was unbanned 1 hour and 44 minutes later.
  14. A few minutes later a story appeared on Digg about how I had been unbanned from StumbleUpon – linking to my Tweet about it.
  15. Now that I’m unbanned from SU the post saying that I’m banned is getting heaps of bookmarks…. ironically on StumbleUpon.

Here’s that Tag Cloud from Twitscoop


So what did I learn today?

  1. ProBlogger readers and Twitter followers are amazing. Between putting me in touch with the right person at SU and all your tweets, plurks and diggs you got this fixed really quick.
  2. StumbleUpon are responsive – or at least Walter their Community Manager is
  3. Social Media his powerful – while I knew this I don’t think I really had experienced it working so quickly on something that was personal to me
  4. When you’ve got a problem it can help to involve your friends, not completely lose it and blog a rant (while I was angry in my post I didn’t completely lose it – I tried to reach out to SU) and lastly – sometimes there is opportunity in when bad stuff happens. The buzz and traffic around this whole story has been quite amazing today. I think tomorrow I’ll get banned by Digg :-)

Thanks to everyone for your support, ideas, feedback and offers to help today. Thanks also to StumbleUpon for responding quickly. I look forward to hearing why all this happened and what we as bloggers can learn about it from your end. I’ll post more about this as Walter gets back to me.

The one thing that I do hope StumbleUpon will learn from and change is their ‘banned’ page. It has the potential to unfairly hurt reputations and tarnish sites that have not deserved that. I’m no lawyer but I suspect it could even border on some kind of defamation.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. It is so great to see you won this game, Darren! I was really surprised as I read about this in the morning, but somehow I knew you would win. May be just because you play fair game.

  2. If i had a website with you as part of the community … i would also ban you Darren!

    It could be a great Marketing Strategy for my website :-)


  3. it helps when the whole blogging world loves you. We all quickly complained to everyone we know that our superior person has been banned from a site we use to love.

  4. While I didn’t post on the original entry about being banned, I was one of those people who sent an email as well. :)

    Glad it worked out.

  5. Great news Darren. Why did you get banned in the first place though?

  6. Hi Darren,

    How great of a community have you amassed. I could only dream of one day having half of such a valued audience.

    I agree completely too with your last paragraph. They need to be careful.

  7. There has been a few sites I have stumbled that were banned. I thought that the community decided at StumbleUpon. I have had an account there for 4 years and I know some other Stumblers with long standing accounts that were also pre-early-adopters. You would think that Stumblers with a good history would be able to chose a page they like and let the community decide as it goes it rounds. I understand spam but you would have to have a massive amount of alter accounts to beat the views of the mass of StumbleUpon users.

  8. The power of social networking at its best. Great story!

  9. Glad you are back and the bets aspect is, someone high up on Stumbleupon had the balls big enough to correct the ‘WRONG’ and make it right.

    No doubt those pussies in charge of digg, led by Kevin ‘NO Balls’ Rose . . . would never un-ban you if this happened. All they do is give you a bullshit reply which is scripted.

  10. I Dugg both stories and I am pleased to see the situation taken care of so quickly.

    Yay for the community you have surrounding you!!!

    cheers ~

  11. I’m slow – just heard about this, glad you got it sorted out.

    Best wishes, Barbara

  12. “2. StumbleUpon are responsive”

    Hmm, maybe they shouldn’t have slurred your name and site in the first place. I’ve never been a great fan of SU and this incidence (despite having been resolved) does not encourage me to bother with them any longer. It’s not worth the risk.

  13. That happened really fast. I’m amazed.

    Maybe this is a study in negative publicity. Look at the traffic generated to your site and to stumble upon. I’d have to think that there was no harm done to either.

    BTW – I heard about it on Twitter.

  14. Sheesh, go shopping and I miss all the excitement! Darn!

    I would really like to hear their explanation of how you ended up banned in the first place though. I don’t think it is sufficient that they just let you back in without explaining what happened.

  15. Thats shows the potential social media has. It can be used positively and can be abused as well. Less than 2 hours was fast.

  16. social media is powerful as long as what needs to get done is virtual and not actually something important. at the moment, Taiwan is being forced to participate at the Olympics as “Chinese Taipei” a fiction required by China at every event. i’d like to see social media fix that issue – or any other important issue for that matter. i’m not convinced of the power of social media. social disobedience, yes. but not social media itself. people just don’t get as upset over real issues as they do about ProBlogger getting banned from StumbleUpon. sad.

  17. Wow, that is pretty exciting stuff. Glad you are back!

  18. tell em to fix account ravetildon also! :)

  19. That’s awesome! Power to the bloggers!

  20. I’m missing something, though. Why did they ban you in the first place?

  21. Unfortunately, that is not the way Digg treats users. If they decide to ban a site – it is for good and without any human touch, they made a decision and that is it!
    I am glad to hear that StumbleUpon respond in such cases… and fix their mistakes.
    You can read about my case with Digg, they are very robotic comparing to Stumbleupon – http://www.dev102.com/2008/06/27/digg-the-worst-community-driven-site/

  22. OK . . . . why were you banned?

    And why so grateful? If someone bans me unfairly, I want some grovelling, a case of wine, you know something to say sorreee!

  23. What did you learn today #5 – You’re more popular than batman in the world of twitter.

  24. That was amazing Darren.

  25. ok, I’m a bit behind but Wow! What an eye opener!

    I’m a rookie in the whole Social Media world. Could someone enlighten me on how and why this whole banning thing works?


  26. I’d say getting Walter’s email was key to dealing with your situation so quickly. I remember when my site was first Stumbled (unexpectedly), and the user to stumble us listed our site as adult material or something of the likes. It took us 2 or 3 months (after filing a misclassification, and emailing them several times about it) to be listed properly.

    It must be a hard task dealing with moderating a community like that.

  27. SU put a ceiling on the traffic to my blog http://www.beyondmegapixels.com. I contacted them and Walter replied in an email and while he replied and was polite, it was the usual ambiguous, vague corporate response.

    Don’t they read what the stumblers write on the reviews? They think me being on SU and stumbling some of our articles influenced the SU response to our articles. I don’t even know most of the people stumbling us. I feel like I’m being punished for existing on StumbleUpon. Or for having content that’s worth stumbling often.

    And they probably think that just because we’re new and don’t have millions of readers the way you do, they can just shrug us off. I feel like I’m being pressured into being a sponsor and I don’t like it one bit.

  28. well…great boss

  29. Hi there social community, could you please help me out in un-banning my Google Adsense account please?! I’ll check back in two hours! ;)

    No, seriously. Although I love to hear that Problogger is back on StumbleUpon, I very much doubt that this is possible for every blogger in that fast way. I think Darren has a lot of influence in the blogosphere (and he has deserved this popularity) and is therefore treated kind of “special” in my opinion. No offense frmo my side, it’s just what I think about it.

    See you,

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