Some issues with WordPress.com

A few of you may have noticed late last night and early this morning. I certainly did. My blog was suspended. Gone from the internet. Without warning.

Immediately after posting my previous blog post, I was met with this lovely site (pun intended).

Granted, I know there are only a small number of people that have actually even seen my blog. However, this could have easily happened to anyone else. Had this happened to a more popular blog, it easily could have resulted in readership drop, monetary loses, and even personal brand damage, which a price cannot be put on.

To make matters worse for me, I had to present my blog to my class later in the day.

I frantically searched for customer service support. As far as my personal searching went, I did not find any customer support over the phone. I only found email customer support so I sent off my email and waited.

Went to sleep and woke up later in the morning. About 7 hours later I received a response from customer service saying:

“Hi,

Our apologies – the system should not have done that.

We have removed the warning and we are very sorry for any concern it may have caused.

Anthony”

Ok… I’m sure Anthony is following standard wordpress.com customer support response protocol, but he left me with the obvious burning question – why?

I had to email them back and ask: “Is there any way I can find out what exactly was flagged so I will know what not to do again?”

To their credit Anthony responded within 5 minutes and said:

“An image was hotlinked from a spammy, black-listed domain”

and he listed the domain.

So that was it. I committed a rookie blogging mistake. All I wanted was picture of a house sitting on money and I used Google image search. I found a picture I liked, and in an attempt to give photo credit, I linked the site it came from, which was apparently blacklisted. You’ll notice on my last blog post the words “Photo Credit” sitting at the end, all alone and doing nothing. I have to resort to basically “stealing” the image and giving no credit in order to not get banned again.

My main issue is not the fact that I got banned. I understand the need for blacklisting and such. My main issue is the manner in which the rules are enforced. There is no warning. It is ban first, ask questions later, which is not a good customer relationship policy at all. It also took almost 7 hours to correct basically a non-issue, which for any site with decent traffic is unacceptable.

In this golden age of information technology, it would not be a far stretch to present bloggers with a warning that they are posting material from a blacklisted sight, and simply not post their blog. It is also not hard to simply replace blacklisted links with a generic warning link. In fact, many internet forums, message boards, and websites already have that feature built-in.

After reading the WordPress.com Terms of Service, I have decided for myself that I will continue to blog, but on a different pay service and different servers. I cannot comfortably stay in a place that bans first and asks questions later. Also moving to a new place will give me a bit more freedom in terms of content management and what I can do with the overall style of my website.

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