banned others for allegedly promoting sites promoting products and services. Now we're getting word that the recommendation engine StumbleUpon may have started a "witchhunt" of their own, banning users of their service for stumbling upon the wrong things. What's worse is that they don't even seem to be responding to emails from the banned users who wanted to know why this happened.Not even two months ago, social news web site Digg.com cleaned house and banned over 80 users for running scripts while on site, including those from Greasemonkey. Digg also
Banned For Spam?
At this time, we have only heard from a handful users about their banning, but the general feeling among this group of outcasts is that StumbleUpon had actively hunted them down.
Although none of the banned users have received any sort of communication from StumbleUpon, some believe that they may have been kicked off for occasionally stumbling sites that had financial value. While that may be a big no-no on Digg, who prohibits such a thing in their Terms of Service (TOS), on StumbleUpon, it's much more of a grey area.
The reason why it's not as cut-and-dry as on Digg is because StumbleUpon features a ton of categories - to see what we mean, Stumble something today and check out that drop-down box of theirs. There, you'll find categories that very much fit in the "financial value" niche including options like Bargains/Coupons, Business, Daytrading, Entrepreneurship, Financial Planning, Investing, Marketing, and others. Clearly, StumbleUpon is OK with many more categories of sites than Digg.
In addition, the only reason StumbleUpon would terminate accounts according to their TOS is if the account was created with the primary intention to promote a product or service are considered "SPAM." In other words, the occasional accidental spammy stumble shouldn't get you kicked out.
That sentence goes on to say that those spam accounts are subject to termination unless expressly authorized in advance in writing by StumbleUpon. What? It's OK to use StumbleUpon for spamming purposes if you get permission first? That seems odd.
Banned Behind The Firewall
Others who have been recently banned from the site include Ian Lurie of Conversation Marketing, who believes that he may have been banned because he stumbled behind a firewall at work. Everyone in his office showed up as the same IP address, making StumbleUpon question whether or not they were operating some sort of black-hat stumbling farm. Unfortunately, Lurie never heard back either thanks to SU's policy of not responding to their users (unless you have the clout of someone like the high-profile Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, that is).
Starting To Clean House?
Obviously, we don't have enough information just yet to know for sure if StumbleUpon is starting to clean house. These recent complaints brought to our attention could either be business as usual at StumbleUpon or could be indicative of a new trend.
Have you been banned or know somehow who has been banned from SU? Let us know in the comments.