Ban Hammer

I’m assuming that most reading this are already using StumbleUpon, or at least know what StumbleUpon is all about. If not, check out Tyler Banfields post from December Are You Stumbling Yet? Tyler really does an excellent job of explaining StumbleUpon, how to get started, and its benefits.

The purpose of this post is to address a legitimate concern that new and seasoned Stumblers alike need to be aware of and that is the possibility of being “put under review” by the SU gods. Being put under review generally means that you will not ever be able to use your SU account again…

Imagine you are Stumbling along, building your friends list, having a good time and about a year into it: BAM. You are “put under review” (banned). No warning, no initial explanation, you just suddenly cannot use your account anymore. This is precisely what happened to a friend of mine.

My friend, who shall remain nameless, I can say with certainty was a quality Stumbler, and definitely not a spammer. So naturally this scenario is a little perplexing to me. I decided to review StumbleUpon’s terms of service and their rules. I found mostly everything to be pretty straightforward and it seemed like common sense. Don’t do things like harass other users, promote only your website or blog and the general “no-spamming” language.

Before we proceed I’ll share with you one of the actual email that was sent to my friend that was “put under review”

Thanks for your note.

Members may submit links from personal or business
sites to StumbleUpon, but when we receive
complaints from other members — or when our
software detects an abuse of our system — we
suspend access to the accounts in question pending
further review.

We take this step to preserve the quality of
content in our database. When members repeatedly
submit content from a single site or a small group
of sites, it undermines StumbleUpon’s mission of
discovering and sharing Web sites with others.

If we determine that a member account has been
used for unauthorized promotional reasons, we
generally do not restore access to the account.
If and when access is eventually restored to your
account, we’ll notify you via email at this
address.

If you have any additional questions, please
review our Terms of Service and Community Rules:

http://www.stumbleupon.com/terms/
http://www.stumbleupon.com/rules.html

If you’d like to learn about advertising on
StumbleUpon, please visit this page:
http://www.stumbleupon.com/ads

After reading some of these emails and doing further research, I determined there seems to be a common denominator that tends to get people in trouble with the SU powers-that-be, and that would be Stumbling pages under the same domain(s) or similar domains(s) too many times. In other words, if you have a blog and every time you write a new article you stumble and send it to the same friends, and they regularly stumble, you are creating a pattern of stumbling the same domain and sending to the same friends. Beware of this pattern!

The best idea would be to have a friend Stumble to get it started and when you use the send feature to send something to a friend try to not send the exact same domain(s) to the exact same friends all the time. In other words, mix things up. I cannot be 100% sure that this will resolve the issue, but it’s definitely worth a try, and something I have been doing lately.

Another thing you can do is use a service like StumbleUpon Exchange to get a new submission going or simply ask a new friend to Submit it for you. Also you can get some of your SU friends on IM (as many diggers do) This can be a good way to ask someone to Stumble or submit something for you without it being recorded that you sent it to them by the StumbleUpon system.

At the end of the day, the best way to avoid the SU Ban Hammer is to simply use the platform as it was intended. Be sure to actually use the Stumble toolbar (every day if you can) to discover new websites. Thumbs up when you like it and thumbs down when you don’t. Occasionally submit your own content or have a friend submit it for you, but in moderation. Make some friends along the way and most importantly have fun.

Have you, or has someone you know, been banned by StumbleUpon? Please share your thoughts or tips with us in the comments below.

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