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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. Nice to have you back Darren! :)

  2. I reckon you should get yourself a shirt…
    ‘I was banned from stumbleupon’

    good that your back


  3. Congratulations on all Problogger readers/fans. :-)

    Being the person who first stumbled that Love-In post containing links to stumblers’ profiles, I felt very disturbed when I found out about the banning. I’m really happy that all has ended well. *sighs in relief*

  4. That was amazing Darren.

  5. I am glad that I plurked twittered and blogged my friend. After all , why wouldn’t I , you helped me a lot.

    Also want to say thanks in my name to every single plurker, twitter and stumbleuponer that helped Darren get this issue resolved ASAP

  6. Wow! Congratulations Darren. Your readership pull is amazing! I don’t think Digg is ever going to pull this on you after this incident with StumbleUpon.

  7. I’m glad you are back, Darren.

  8. “Plurk, Twitter, and Blog” sounds like an upset stomach to me! :) No, really, social media is awesome, and it was interesting to see this unfold. I hope this draws some attention to your blogging and social media in general. BTW, my link on this post is to an HTML page with all of my social media contact info. I put it together myself, so the layout isn’t all that great, but it works. Love-In Round 2, anyone? ;)

  9. I’m so glad everything worked out, and so quickly. Without sounding too arrogant, you must love us! lol

  10. It was impressive to watch it unfold on Twitter – almost as impressive as how quickly you wrote a post covering it (even including a custom graphic!).
    Pro-blogger indeed…

  11. I predict this may become your most stumbled post ever :)

    I would be very interested to know why this happened, and what StumbeUpon plan to do to remedy it. As such an influential and connected person, it appears it was relatively easy for the matter to be resolved. However, for almost anyone else also banned by the SU automated system, there would be little hope.

    The best thing that could come out of this would be if SU improved their obviously broken auto-ban system, and re-examined anyone else who may have been auto-banned in the past.

    Congratulations, and thank you for becoming a voice for SU users, even if it wasn’t deliberately :)

  12. I’m glad it was speedily resolved.

  13. That’s great to hear, that’s why people should use social media, because not only does it generate traffic for your blog, it also turns into help people in times of crisis.

  14. Thanks to Darren, twitter and, of course, stumbleupon for a very exciting Thursday evening. What a great show…!

  15. Congratulations, Darren!

    That’s what community is all about: Helping friends!

  16. Great to hear that you have been unbanned. Social media really works wonders. :)

  17. WOW! At the moment only problogger’s society can do that :)
    PS: When I clicked the post’s title, there were 9 comments. When this post displays fully, 15 already

  18. It’s great that the ban has been lifted, Darren.

    Social Media is, indeed, an ultra powerful means of communication and mobilizing people into action.

  19. Twitter is just amazing. Saw the tweet, read, stumbled, wrote a nice letter.

    Build a resource like ProBlogger with the skills needed to create a community.

    Social Media belongs to Us.

    Whatta Blast.

    Modern Musings

  20. If there’s ever been a better case study of the power of a social media community, I’d like to see it.

  21. What a relief, though we still demand an explanation from SU. Thumbs up!

  22. I was just at the site a while ago and I read the story about being banned by SU.
    Now, I am sitting here hitting my stumble button and this post pops up!

    Well done on getting unbanned so quickly!!

  23. Wow! Congrats… How fast you can write content and how fast you get responses and bookmarks… the real problogger’s time to relax now…


  24. Good job, Darren! I’m happy everything got sorted out. No doubt this gaffe by SU just created more publicity for Problogger. The power of Twitter, indeed! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go Tweet…

  25. When you figure out a way to get un-banned from Facebook’s absurd security system and even worse customer service in regards to said bannings, please let me know. It’s run by some kind of automated system. Somehow I got flagged by posting a single event related to a political group I am part of (a very mainstream one at that). Multiple emails to Facebook over several weeks only produced the information that they will not tell me A) what I did wrong in the first place, B) That I should not post any events again for a certain period of time C) That they will not disclose to me the exactly length of that time, D) Further “abuse” before my probation is up will only extend the period for which I am banned from posting events and may lead to my membership being revoked. And finally, the coup de gras, E) They will not inform me when the ban has been revoked.

    So basically I can’t post events and I can’t even try to in order to see if I’m still banned or I risk being expelled from Facebook. All for violating a rule they refuse to inform me of.

    In my final e-mail exchange with them I simply asked what they are doing to fix such an obviously flawed and broken security system. I received no response.

  26. Outstanding! Glad I was able to be a small part of it! Of course, I haven’t heard back from them.

    Now what about other, less influential people who have been subjected to stumbleupon banning for no better reasons?

  27. Glad to hear the problem’s been corrected. This is definitely one for the social media case files.

  28. Yes! I want to know what the issue was. And I’d love to see StumbleUpon change their “banned” page. I think you are correct in assuming that their wording could indeed get them into trouble in the future. If it had happened to me, I would certainly have been upset. Glad you got a speedy response.

  29. Nice to have you back and also to read that SU responded positively.

  30. Glad you got unbanned buddy :)

  31. Thank goodness!! I’m so happy to hear of the unbanning. Wow, what a night! I was like if it could happen to you, so well known, it could happen to anyone.

  32. Well then this is the ultimate proof that social networking has a huge amount of power!

  33. OMG – I go to sleep, wake up and find out that the whole world has gone crazy and then back to normal again!….lol. Social media is so fast.

  34. I am still wondering WHY something decent like problogger can be banned.
    I am really angry on SU… :x
    They have so many spammers running freely in their system and when it comes to banning how come they go after problogger. They are insane…
    sorry if I sound badmouth but SU deserves a protest from blogger so that this won’t happen to other nice bloggers in future.

  35. it is amazing, isn’t it?

    we could all start a revolution!

    wait… i think we just did.


  36. The second time this week Twitter has shown its power. First with the news spreading about the LA earthquake. Now this.


  37. Master Investment says: 08/01/2008 at 7:27 pm

    You are professional blogger..

    how dare they banned yours?

    I solute you Darren.

  38. Congrats on your unbanned….

  39. That’s great Darren,
    But I look at it this way: What about lesser known people who could get banned, or may have already been banned that don’t have the following that you do. Does Stumble Upon restore those folks? I am not pleased about the fact that they just ban someone like that, and am willing to bet my paycheck, you were restored so quickly because someone caught wind of this story spreading, and the follower on twitter that gave you the email address to get in touch with the proper person at SU. Would I have been taken care of so quickly?
    thefencepost on twitter and plurk

  40. it’s nice, but what will happen if you were not Darren?
    I meant if some Avg. Joe were banned and blogged+plurked+digg etc.. about it? it will result nothing.
    IMHO: you’re well known person and this is enought,
    social media is not working for unfamouse ppl.

  41. Two thoughts:

    Glad you weren’t on vacation and away from your computer so you could act quickly.

    I wonder what Seth Godin will say.


  42. Great work Darren! It’s always nice to see the social media/blogging communities come together to help when something goes astray.


  43. It is no surprise that SU reconsidered their previous banning. Now whether it was a human initiated action or a “bot” action, I think this calls to attention the personal element that SU may want to look into.

    The impersonal nature in which Darren was informed that he was “banned” was both humiliating and insulting. For those of us that follows Problogger, no harm, no foul. But for those that have not been around to know Darren through Problogger, does it put doubts in their minds? Perhaps question what he does?

    SU needs to reinvent their model of “banning” perhaps put some better measures into place, or change the metrics by which they measure those that deserved to be “banned.”

    Kudos to SU for being open enough to welcome a blog about it on both Problogger and the SU blog site. SU seems truly sorry for this incident, and hopefully an incident like this can be avoided in the future for sites that fully utilize SU, not abuse it.

  44. Why did you get banned?

    Seem’s stumbleupon wanted some free publicity, and boy did they get it, even on their competitiors websites :)

  45. That’s awesome Darren, great job to all the readers for reacting so quickly. Some props to Stumble as well for fixing their mistake too I guess.

  46. Kudos to StumbleUpon for their quick resolution of the problem – that’s the definition of good customer service!

  47. Darren,
    You run a clean shop. You deserve the public respect.

    And kudos to Walter @ SU for stepping in and getting it right,
    not doing the corporate wall thing.

  48. Glad this got ironed out quickly!

  49. It seems like you were a victim of your own success, which is what I thought was the point of SU in the first place.

    And yes, I do think they should change the wording on their site, and check on automated bans- I could see other really popular articles that get hot fast getting banned for no good reason.

    Kudos on handling this professionally and getting it sorted out!

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