I’ve been running WordPress for this blog since the beginning. It’s a great platform. I’ve officially been drinking the Kool-Aid. I tell my friends about it. I heard Matt Mullenweg speak (at SXSW last year) and I rave about that.
So when it made sense for us to spin up a little blog for RescueTime (my fledgeling time management software business), WordPress got the nod. Rather than host another WordPress blog, I opted for a hosted WordPress account. WordPress offers barebones options for free, but I opted for a few premium options, making me a paying supporter of WordPress. It felt good.
The other day, I got an email from a few strangers telling me that the PowerPoint deck I had posted on my most recent blog entry (“DIY Web Marketing: 16 Resources for SEO, Social Media Marketing, & Viral Marketing”) was a dead link. It HAD been working (I know several people who downloaded it). No big deal, I thought. Tech glitches happen. As a guy who runs a SaaS biz, I’m quick to forgive on such things. It was inconvenient timing though– I’d just had a speaking engagement at Seattle Tech Startups and the PowerPoint deck in question was my deck for the presentation (I’d promised at the end to make it available– which is why I was getting peppered with emails).
My first step was to log in to see if I could fix it myself. No go. In fact, I couldn’t even log in. It told me my account was suspended.
I dutifully researched their message board (I know how expensive support is, so I figured I’d try to help myself) and found that random/accidental suspension issues were occuring as a result of a recent bug. Ahhh– that made me feel a bit better. When I finally got an email response, I was dismayed.
Your blog was suspended because it violated our ToS.
Basically, we don’t allow blogs created solely for commercial purpose,
or for Search Engine Optimization purpose.
I’ve temporary unsuspended your blog, so that you have a chance to review our ToS,
and clean it up a little bit…
Trying to keep my cool, I replied:
It’s a blog about a tiny web service with 8 or so posts (so far). It doesn’t have any advertisements or any revenue generation capability whatsoever. I mentioned SEO in my last post because I did a little presentation at SeattleTechStartups.com a few weeks back– but RescueTime (http://www.rescuetime.com) has nothing to do with SEO (and, at present, isn’t even remotely a commercial enterprise). I reviewed to ToS fairly carefully and see no violations.
Are you SURE it was purposefully suspended? I’ve read several threads (covering the last few days) that seem to indicate there is a bug going around:
It seems a heckuva lot more logical to me that I’m a victim of this bug… I assume that if someone shuts down a blog for a breach of ToS that it would have some sort of note attached to it (to discriminate it from a bugged account)?
Several days have passed with no response. I have no idea if my blog is temporarily not suspended, if it was a bug, or if there truly was a breach that I’m not aware of. The blog is a simple product blog (I know a lot of startup guys who have such a thing– presumably that doesn’t count as “commercial purpose”?). I understand that suspending blogs is something WordPress has to do to be vigilant in the fight against spam, but would an automated notification hurt, citing the ToS clause in question? Given that I was actually a paying customer (not just freeloading off of their free offerings), would it kill ’em to respond to my last email?
For the record, the blog gets VERY little traffic (thousands of uniques a month is all).
WordPress will continue to be my blog platform of choice– I’m too darn used to their fabulous interface. But (if nothing changes) I won’t be spending money with them again and I certainly won’t be recommending them as I have in the past. As they say, “customer service is the new marketing“.