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ProBlogger is Banned from StumbleUpon

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

banned-stumbleuponThis story has been updated at the bottom of this post.

This morning a number of readers have emailed or tweeted me to let me know that when they try to bookmark a post on ProBlogger that it leads them to a page saying that ProBlogger has been banned from StumbleUpon (thaks to @Fussypants on Twitter who was first).

You can see a screen capture of the page here – subtle isn’t it!?:

Picture 2.png

The page says that we’ve either been banned for abusing the service or have been asked for the site not to be included.

I can tell you that it was not the 2nd option (and if it had of been I would be pretty upset to see it presented as ‘banned’).

I’ve sent off an email using Stumbleupon’s contact form to ask for more information on this – but to be honest I’m pretty shocked and a little angry at this.

I can’t think of any way that I’ve abused StumbleUpon and if I had I would have thought that they’d have banned me as a user of it as well or instead of banning my URL.

I’ve got two theories as to why I may have been banned

1. ProBlogger does get a reasonable amount of traffic from StumbleUpon and perhaps the powers at be at SU think I’ve manipulated the system to get it. This is not the case and I’d suggest that perhaps I get more traffic from SU than some other sites because:

  • I’ve written about StumbleUpon many times. Writing about any bookmarking site tends to get people who use that site to bookmark those posts
  • I write to an audience who use social media a lot – ProBlogger readers are a very social media savvy lot and probably bookmark more than the general web user.

2. My recent social media love-in and list of bloggers who use StumbleUpon might have been interpreted abuse.

Perhaps I should have checked with SU before running that social media love-in but my motivations for doing it were not abusive. All I was hoping to do was to build community here on ProBlogger and give readers an opportunity to connect with one another in mediums other than here on this blog.

If anything I thought it would promote and build traffic on the social media sites that we developed lists for. If SU don’t want bloggers to use their service and don’t want sub communities within their user-base then this is their prerogative – but I’m a little put out that as someone who has actively promoted and used their service and even encouraged my readers to advertise on them that they simply banned me.

Some articles I’ve published on StumbleUpon for bloggers include:

I’m also a little angry that people voting for my posts get led to a page that accuses me as the owner of this site of abusing their service. If that’s not a slur against my character then I’m not sure what is. If this upsets you I’d encourage you to Stumble a ProBlogger page, click the ‘contact us’ link and let them know what you think (that’s what they’ve asked for on the page anyway).

Dear StumbleUpon

I am obviously feeling a little put out by you banning my blog from your service.

I do love StumbleUpon and hope that you’ll reconsider your decision and I’d love to hear from you with how I can remedy any actions that I might have inadvertently taken that don’t fit with your terms and conditions.

update – just heard from StumbleUpon’s Community Manager (who I emailed) – he’s also commented his email in comments below. We’re going to work on sorting this out and then I’ll post about the results in the coming days so we can all learn a thing or two about why this happened and how we can avoid it happening to others. Fingers crossed that this is resolved soon.

update 2 – 1 hour and 44 minutes after I posted this post I’m no longer banned from StumbleUpon. I put this down to you – my amazing readership who reacted with emails, Diggs, Tweets and more. I’ve never seen first hand what a blog community can achieve like this so quickly. Now if only we could pull ourselves together and work so hard to do something that REALLY matters like doing something about poverty or the environment…. :-)

update 3 – Check out this post that I’ve written the full story of how I got banned and unbanned from StumbleUpon in under two hours.

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. Yeah…I don’t see how you could have possibly abused the system. Even the building of the names shouldn’t be considered abuse. You weren’t saying “everyone, click I like it on anyone who is on the list.” All you were saying was “network with these people, they share similar interests with you.” I’m definitely going to go contact them now.

  2. Sorry to hear @ this, Darren. My guess would be #2- maybe all of the traffic, etc., triggered some kind of automated ban. I understand your getting upset based on the wording of their message. Hopefully this will get worked out. I will be giving SU my thoughts on this as you suggest.

  3. That’s shocking. I’m sure it’ll sorted out soon.

  4. I am stunned. I will write an email to SU and see if there is anything your readers (me as one) can do for you. This just can’t be.

  5. I’m sure it’s just a temporary mistake, you’ll be in business in no time!

  6. I hope they fix that soon. That is pretty messed up considering all of the publicity that you gave them.

  7. You know, this has to be a mistake. What concerns me, at the very least, is that no one had the courtesy of contacting you. I’m sure they are not banning people all the time, so a few minutes to type up a direct email to the person would have been a better approach I think.

    You’re right, to say that the person has been banned for abuse of the system does cast some doubt on your character. Luckily those of us that have been reading you for some time, and followed your work know better.

    I will definitely write to them via their “contact us,” I just hope in the future they have a more user sensitive approach to matters like this.

  8. I left a complaint on the form that shows up with the message that ProBlogger has been banned. I’ve been on Stumbleupon for over 4 years and I appreciate the lack of commercialism that, for the most part exists there. In this instance, the have made a bad error and I think it needs to be corrected.

  9. Wow. You’ve done nothing but PROMOTE StumbleUpon. If I had a user like you, I’d be trying to partner with them, not ban them.

    Very weird. It seems to show a real tin ear for understanding how online communities work. Stumble has really stumbled here.

  10. Darren,

    I am shocked to learn this as it was me who discovered your last post on SU. My SU profile has a Google Page Rank of 5:


    I look forward to an explanation from SU why they are depriving its users of your invaluable advice.

  11. I’m sure this will be sorted out soon. You’re not the kind of person I’d associate with the term “social network abuser” :)

    All the best Darren, and hoping that this minor hiccup will go away soon.

  12. That’s crazy. It was probably the love-in…they do limit friends and so on.

  13. SU banned a few high traffic sites. I’m not sure why. Maybe they want to give the smaller sites a better and more fair chance. Like they also banned Digital Point forums (a high-traffic tech forum).

    I don’t think you’ll get unbanned. See what they tell you.

  14. Considering how much traffic your site drives to SU, this is quite surprising indeed. Hope you can work it out with them.

  15. I can only say that this totally sucks. Whatever their reason for doing this, I certainly hope they see the error of their ways and correct this and soon! It’s just plain wrong of Stumbleupon to ban you!

  16. Ridiculous. And you’d think they might have the courtesy to EMAIL YOU and let you know you’ve been “banned” and why before they just accuse you that way. Hmph.

  17. They shouldn’t banned you cause what is that site for if their not like people to socialized there??

    Hope that SU will reconsider their banned program..!

  18. I am totally shocked by this Darren!

    I think you should check with Twitter and Digg now, we don’t want you banned off them now. Especially twitter.

    I will def file a complaint!

  19. I don’t like how they just ban you and don’t at least attempt to contact you first. And the wording on the “ban” page is certainly not good! That needs to be changed immediately!

  20. Darren,

    This is tragic for you and us. I have submitted the following to Stumble:

    I think the banning of ProBlogger from your service is a disservice to users and the social media sphere as a whole.

    Darren is not some spammer looking for a quick bump or buck. He consistently provides high value information worthy of Stumbles.

    I respectfully request you reconsider this decision.

  21. thanks all for the comments

    On whether they should have emailed me – I can see why they wouldn’t I’m sure that they ban quite a few sites for abusing them and can’t imagine how many people they’d have to email – so I understand that – however I’m a little shocked by the bluntness of their page and the accusations in it (and that they’d serve that page both to banned sites and to owners who asked not to be included in their index).

    Anyway – hoping it’ll be resolved reasonably soon as SU is an important site to me both as a publisher and as a user of the service.

  22. Omg, wtf …did they at least send you an email ? I mean come on!!! so unfair. What about all people that misuse SU and don’t get banned.

    Hope you will clear things with them.

  23. Hope it gets fixed up soon, Darren. That’s just crazy!

  24. I find this rather amusing that they would ban problogger as it is one of the most viewed blogs. Maybe we should all boycott stumbleupon until they lift the ban!

    This is ridiculous to say the least.

  25. Darren,

    Happy to help.Thanks for the link.

    You have fans all over the world who love your work. We will all work to make SU make this right!


  26. Darren,

    I am sorry that this is happening to you. This has to be a fluke for sure. I can’t imagine in a million years why OR even how anybody would single you out.

    Please keep us in the loop on this situation. I am curious as to what you possibly could have done to upset the more sensitive personalities at Stumble Upon.

  27. Ouch, that’s bad. But I guess they will lift the ban soon, must have be a problem with one of their bots.

  28. I honestly think it was something triggered by the Love-In, I’m sure the powers-that-be at SU weren’t even aware until it was brought to their attention. I’m sure they will get it fixed up for you.

  29. utterly ridiculous.


    did they even read your blog? anyone can see you are not an SU stumbler, but their biggest promoter.

    will let them know, too.


  30. It has to be some kind of automated mistake. Hopefully, they will unban Problogger soon!

  31. Hi Darren,

    I Dugg the previously mentioned submission. I hope it turns out just to be a mistake. You’re obviously handling it the right way, and they should respect that by providing more information.

  32. Unbelievable. Seriously. I also think SU is a great service–BUT this?!

    This isn’t even about it being ProBlogger that got nuked for whatever reason… maybe it was an automated algorithym and it’ll be back on track in no time–but this speaks levels of bad about a service people have come to use for it’s “community” nature.

    If you can’t build sub-communities then I don’t see why anyone would want to use it as as social hub for their website fans. It then turns into a rando-social experience–what, you ahve to “make NEW ‘friends’” within SU?! What if you only want ProBlogger readers as your friends? Oh, wait you can’t because there are friend-add limitations… oh wait, the very site that brings you together is banned…

    Unbelievable. Makes me want to drop SU completely. Powerful, but a waste of my time going forward until they straighten this kind of thinking out.

  33. That sucks. I know I’ve stumbled PB articles and found them too.

    Guess what I’m going to do, hit the blue thumbs up.

    Have a good one.

    Danielle Vyas

  34. Problogger gets banned from SU is like killing off the one person who has the most influence in the blogosphere that can help SU to get more members and more recognition..

  35. Darren-

    While on StumbleUpon a couple of days ago, I came across an article that accused you of abusing the service because the reader had interpreted the Love-In as an attempt to create a voting ring to “vote up” each other’s content. Those sorts of arrangements are clearly against SU’s user agreement.

    However, putting together a list of people from your site to offer them the opportunity to check out the profiles of their Problogger community peers shouldn’t, in particular if you explain that to them.

    I found the post, sending you an email so they don’t get spammed.

  36. I’m Walter, StumbleUpon’s Community Manager. I just received your message, and I think we can come to a resolution fairly easily.

    I’d like to make a suggestion: can we exchange a few emails so we can address our mutual concerns? After that, I think it’d be really helpful if we posted the results of our confab here and on the official StumbleUpon blog.

    If you think that’s fair, I’ll look forward to your reply.

  37. This is what I hate about social media websites… the Obscure rules behind them. Who knows how they decide things, nothing is clear… It’s like playing the Russian roulette.

  38. This guy is obsessed with thumbing down active StumbleUpon users.

    He rated Darren as a Stuble Spammer I notice.


    He needs to get a life.

  39. Well, logically I don’t see any such reason why Problogger should be banned in any social networking sites or social bookmarking sites.

    If this is a mistake, hope they rectify it soon.

  40. Surprised by this! I dugg it.


    Quick! Someone Stumble the Digg link! :D

  41. I’m interested to hear their reasoning for this…do give us a follow up post when you hear back from them. I can’t imagine a social media site not being pleased with someone who drives traffic to their site, writes positive reviews, etc. Hopefully this is just a technical SNAFU.

  42. I’ve a feeling its that social media love-in. If you think about it, it can be seen as creating a hoard of potential friends to push the system in your favour.

    I noticed that all of the social media links, twitter/plurk/digg/stumble had your link as well on the top. Perhaps if you had removed it? Not sure.

    Perhaps SU viewed that as unfairly building influence. Also it is likely that they noticed a whole bunched of links coming from your social media love-in page to many home pages that probably raised the alarm. 200+ links multiplied by the number of people visiting your blog is alot!

    Regardless, i hope you get back on board! Good Luck.

  43. They’re being stupid. With all the recommendations you’ve made, they should at least give the benefit of the doubt and ask you first before banning you.

    I mean, there’s no excuse if they don’t know about any Technorati top 10 blogs.They’re operating a social media! Plain stupid. Let’s hope you get unbanned.

  44. What? That’s Preposterous!

    I am sorry to hear that Darren. I’m sure it’s some kind of misunderstanding. Keep us up to date with what’s happening.

    I love SU, but I can’t believe they banned you. It’s more then likely to do with the social media love-in. I mean it can’t be traffic, because you’ve probably been getting large amounts of traffic from SU since like forever–right?

    Hopefully the ban will be removed.

    My Best goes out to you Darren.

  45. I am a little shocked myself. Go figure. It must be a mistake. Not that you would do something like this, but, if it has caused considerable traffic loss, and possible slanderous defaming, would you consider litigation, or suit against StumbleUpon. I mean, it has been done to Indexing sites. Why shouldn’t StumbleUpon be any less responsible?

    Regards, Matt

  46. Wow! This is annoying to hear. I started using Stumble Upon b/c I learned about it here, I didn’t know about it before.

    Hopefully they will understand very soon that people like me never would have signed onto their site if it weren’t for the PROBLOGGER site!!!

    Banning you is ridiculous.

  47. Daren WTF? These networks are Assholes! Wkipedia, Twitter, Digg, Youtube! Now StumbleUpon what is wrong with these people?

    Is Power going to their Heads?

    I hope you get unbanned!

  48. Darren,

    I was able to give this post a thumbs up using their toolbar… maybe they’ve had a change of heart?

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