WordPress Blog Deleted/Archived for TOS Violation

If your blog has been deleted suddenly by WordPress.com, DON’T PANIC!  …that is, unless you use your blog for phishing scams or spam-commenting or anything else that brings down the experience of other people on the Web and/or makes it harder for people to find the information they need.  In that case, panic.  Scream and cry.  I hope your blog is permanently deleted, and everything you eat for the rest of you life tastes horrible. The Web is our garden!  

Assuming you are an ethical participant of The Cloud, pretty soon you should get an email from WordPress.com explaining the nature of the take-down.

[Anyway, my blog is back, obviously.  I guess I need to start backing up my blog? Jeeez.  What a hassle.]

[begin story]

I regularly blog about scams/spam on the Web.  It’s a way for me be discovered by, and to provide guidance to, people who happen to be googling around about some questionable content they find or are emailed.

One example of this is this search result for “paypal-cgi.com,” a site that mimics PayPal in order to trick people into handing over their paypal login info.  I come up number one for the search, and the title of the result makes it clear that you shouln’t trust PayPal-CGI.com… If you click thru to my post, I explain why these things exist and how to detect this kind of crap.

You see, I’m actually doing something good here.  And it’s good for me too.

Anyway, recently I encountered some scam crap on craigslist and blogged about it. And since my blog post contained a link to the spam/scam site I was exposing, WordPress.com’s evil-detectors went ape shit and my blog got automatically removed by wordpress.com.  

I was in the middle editing a post and suddenly my category selection buttons stopped working.  And there was a thing saying somethin like “you do not have permission to edit this..” or something like that.  When I refreshed the page, I got “The authors have deleted this blog. The content is no longer available”

…and my blog had been completely removed leaving only this scary screen saying: “This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.”

Ironic. I got banned for merely exposing something malicious.

Current Spam-Filter technology isn’t context-aware. This is a slippery slope: Using words or links alone, without regard to context, to define what is untrustworthy content.

See the post in question for yourself HERE

Fortunately, about an hour later, I got a message from WordPress.com: 

from: Anthony – WordPress.com:

Hi,

Your blog was automatically flagged, as links to overnightcashexplosion.com were detected (and these are certainly not permitted). The blog is back – please remove all such links.

Best,

Anthony

Automattic | WordPress.com

I responded with:

if it’s a url in text, is that different in the eyes of your spam defenses from an actual link?  I’d like to leave the url if possible so I can still come up in searches for that url. 

WHat’s your take on that?

Thanks for communicating with me. :)

-A

Anthony from WordPress replied:

Hi,
Sure, you can leave it – I understand the context.

Best,
Anthony
Automattic | WordPress.com

So, there is a layer of discretion here?  That’s good I guess.

 

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14 Replies to “WordPress Blog Deleted/Archived for TOS Violation”

  1. Yes, you got very lucky. Matt and the rest of the crew don’t often admit that they make mistakes like that and very rarely apologize. In fact Matt has thrown a few distasteful comments my way that I consider to be bigoted and racist awhile ago and has refused to discuss them.

    http://drmikessteakdinner.com/2008/06/11/how-matt-mullenweg-and-automattic-deals-with-complaints/

    I have a feel that the only reason why you got your blog back was because you bitched about it in the support forums.

    Regards,
    -drmike

  2. Dr, Mike Wendell,

    When I looked and saw that you seem to have some sort of chip on your shoulder about some people at wp.com, I actually hesitated to approve this comment!

    “What if I get banned for approving this comment?”

    Paranoia. Man, what kind of blogosphere do we have if we are worried that approving a comment is going to get our content destroyed?

    Golly.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. I am wondering what the general turn around timeline is for support at WP for blogs suspended. Any idea? I’ve never been notified by them. We are a christian organization for those with illness and I have about 7 blogs, all banned last friday morning. All are legitimate blogs, 1 for my podcast, 1 for daily devotional, my own blog, 1 for announcements/newsy stuff. I have emailed 2 times Friday, again this AM, but we had our 64 page digital magazine going out today and can’t send it since it has a bunch of links to blog posts….

    I haven’t heard anything from them yet. The TOS I “violated” was taking others content – which I haven’t (ironically plp take mine all the time!)… any advice?

  4. It took them about 24 hours to give me my site back. My best advice to you is to get out of WordPress.com and onto your own hosting. Most hosting services have auto-installers for WordPress. I like BlueHost (see link in my sidebar)…
    Let me know if you need any help. I make money that way.
    Good luck.

  5. t’s much better to have full control of your blog by getting a domain and hosting it yourself. But keep in mind that doing so won’t keep you out of legal hot water if you’re infringing on other’s TMs.

  6. I have a question: if deleted names can’t be recovered or registered again then with with time most names will be lost and there will be no more names available. Is this true?

  7. I am assuming that since this little incident you have moved off of wordpress.com to a standalone installation on a hosting service like Go Daddy or Blue Host which IMHO is a better way to go because you have sole control of your content without outside interference.

  8. Shame on wordpress! I have seen so many harassing, threatening and even sites that clearly use false impersonation..and yet wordpress does not a thing to tear these sites down.

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