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Stories of Suspension, and Suspicion of Spammers…(and the “S” word…)

5 Feb

grinningdennissemalt

Ok, I thought I’d just clear up the reasons why this blog got taken down last week. I’ve had a lot of people ask just why it happened and the story behind it, so for what it’s worth, let me tell you before I draw a line about it…
I had prepared a post called “Doing the S-E-M-A-L-T karaoke” in which I just wanted to draw attention to this dodgy company that has caused so much ire for many of us out there recently. This article was done in my usual deliberate tongue in cheek manner, asking for those out there with any gripes could pose intentionally provocative or just plain rude questions to them (with preference to the more humorous ones) and further highlight the company’s shadiness and inability to give straight answers to the normal queries that folks may have about them.
Further in the post, I also highlighted the fact that their own blog had even less than the Grinning Skull about the company, plus the fact that I had left them a few comments on there telling them how I thought the other commenters there, were actually “sock puppets” spouting positive comments in order to fool the layperson into thinking they are actually an above board company. These sarcastic comments made by myself were also taken down by them to counter any negative reaction (of which i completely understand, I would have too under the circumstances if I were them!)
Anyway, as soon as I tried to post this article, I was frozen out from the entire wordpress system and alerted with a warning message, that highlighted the fact that I had been suspended for violating the TOCs of WordPress, either for the reasons of being flagged for spamming, or running articles detailing talk of S-E-O for purposes of ranking and such. Obviously this was utter bullshit and at the time, I did start to think that i’d either been hacked by the offenders (note that i’m not going to mention their name, or talk to much in detail about the whole thing, for reasons I’ll mention in a moment) or that they had had me taken down for my abuse and ridicule of them. Call me paranoid, but with all the talk these days of international snooping and hacking of data, you really never know. Plus, since the whole thing began, i’ve heard loads of conflicting stories about them, so there’s no wonder I was thinking that way!
I don’t know how many of you bloggers use Zementa for your postings, but for those who don’t, Zementa is a useful blogging tool that helps link your posts to useful info with suggestions, explanations and info from about the net. It is a usually decent tool that adds another level of detail to sometimes boring posts, but it would seem that this time it was my undoing! Without thinking I applied the links from the text I’d written with details from my article, linking them to the various explanations of the stuff I had wrote down (something I won’t be doing without thinking n future, I can add!) as is recommended by others while using the add on.
As per usual, I added my list of tags and key words, as you do with your posts, again not thinking I was doing anything wrong. This was also not a great idea, especially when it comes to the automated system employed by the wordpress software, when it comes to spam and such.
As it turns out, those two reasons seem the most likely reasons that the blog was suspended, the anti-spam measures in place flagged me as a spammer who was trying to diddle the rankings system in order to get better placement on the big G! This was all sorted with a few messages to the good “human” staff at support, when they realised I had been taken out of context in my aims with the post, and they reinstated me without delay.
It did highlight a flaw in the wordpress support system, that if there is a genuine reason and a blogger did actually need support in similar cases like this, when one is suspended, you can’t even post on the support forums to ask for help, nor is there an active email address to contact to try and sort things out. Luckily, it was sorted and reason triumphed in this matter. No hacks, no paranoia, just a simple mistake with the wordpress software!
You might be wondering why I refrain from mentioning S-E-M-A-L-T? Well, since it seems that now the wordpress software anti-spam measures recognise the company and all talk of it, as spam, I don’t want to risk it happening again, nor do I want to highlight them by linking to them and giving them more backlinks to aid their progress. I would also advise that other bloggers on the wordpress platform refrain from doing the same and be careful what your putting in your posts and what stuff your linking to, as the software is automated and they instantly suspend you without warning. Be careful!
On another note, it seems that this company seem to think that the reply they gave in my other post (A letter from…etc) is sufficient to quell the bad press they have been getting from other net users and bloggers, and have now decided to fiddle with their blog and facebook pages with reference to that post. they seem to think that this is an endorsement to them being regarded as “a proper reputable company”. I don’t know if the fact that they are from a non english speaking country, that the english sarcasm is lost on them, or they really are that stupid. The cheeky bastards are even peddling the statement on their Facebook page, and even so the many comments there are from others either complaining or slagging them off, my acerbic later comments were deleted by them, in which I was saying that I did not endorse them what so ever!
So, I will say it here, once again: “I DO NOT ENDORSE S-E-M-A-L-T WHAT SO EVER, AND THAT I WOULD SAY THAT ANY PERSON WITH CONCERN, TO LET OTHERS KNOW TO AVOID, REPORT OR COMPLAIN PUBLICALLY ABOUT THEM IN ORDER TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THIS DISREPUTABLE COMPANY.”
Please make sure that other web users are aware of just how shady they are in their business, and if possible, let any appropriate authorities know of their antics and methods by alerting them to what they are up to. Even so they weren’t to blame for taking my site down, the web could do without them or their likes. They offer nothing that you can’t already do for yourself, and every little bit of their actions betray them as being the lying, underhand and scheming spammers they are. Lets face it, even wordpress recognise them for spamming (as is evident in their suspension of my site) and word is that the staff there are working on a solution to delete evidence of their botnet’s visits to our wordpress sites and statistics!
I won’t be following up further related posts (unless they really piss me off that is…) my site really isn’t the place to highlight the failings of this flawed company, but even so that is true, It pisses me off when stuff like this happens, it’s just another load of blaggers taking us for mugs, which is just not on. I’m not trying to become some kind of investigative reporter that uncovers plots against society, i’m just a bod trying to help others with the truth. Something that this rotten apple of a company, seems to not like.
The suspension of my blog did make me realise just how much I really enjoy blogging, and the old addage is true about “you realise how much you miss something when it’s gone”.
Happy posting my brothers and sisters of blogland!

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9 Responses to “Stories of Suspension, and Suspicion of Spammers…(and the “S” word…)”

  1. Stanley Q Woodvine February 24, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    Wow. I was just finally writing a post about “S.” I saw that you had been suspended briefly by WP but didn’t find this post explaining your suspension in time.

    When I hit the “Publish” button it didn’t work, Zam! I was suspended for violating the Terms of Service. There was nothing specifically listed as a violation. I’ve requested clarification from WP.

    I was posting following WP introducing the referrer spam flagging feature. Honestly are they overreacting or what? My suspension must be due to my post about the “S” issue.

    Like

    • grimace73 February 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

      WP told me that the links, keywords and content of the post was considered spam, so they suspended me for breach of the TOS. They did take it back when I told them that it was taken out of context as to what i was getting at. The trouble is the auto filters working without warning, which I think needs addressing from their end.
      I try and refrain from even mentioning the “S” word now, in case it happens again, but even now I’m more aware of just what I’m posting as I got suspended again for advertising third party banners and links (which is also violating the ToS apparently) and was told that they were only allowed if you pay WP money to upgrade, which just goes to show you that they must now be observing what waves I make with anything “S” related!
      I’m glad they have introduced the spam referrer feature, but I don’t think it’ll sort out the problem, more like leading to more like ourselves getting a slap on the wrists for just blogging about issues that are considered important to our community.
      It just highlights that both “S” and WP are nothing but moneymaking machines that don’t really care about us independent bloggers!

      Like

  2. PiedType March 3, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    I posted about “S” at about the same time you did. It’s a wonder I didn’t get suspended too. How did you reach WP support if you couldn’t get to the forums or use email? I might need to know someday.

    Like

    • grimace73 March 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

      This was quite tricky, as WP support didn’t get back to me through the red flagged warning links they put on blocking my account. After sending repeated messages, I decided to try and talk to the organ grinder and not the monkeys by contacting Automatic themselves to complain (the company that runs WP) which seemed to do the trick.

      Like

      • PiedType March 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

        Don’t know that I’d have thought to do that. A sudden suspension like that would have me in panic mode, not to mention fury at not having a way to reach WordPress to discuss it. I’m sure they don’t care to discuss anything with most of the people they suspend, but there needs to be some better way to reach them to correct mistakes like your suspension.

        Like

      • grimace73 March 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

        Yeah, it riled me too, especially when they hadn’t replied to me after a week (and 20+ messages) so I started trying to ask via the forums on the support, but being suspended I was barred from posting there totally. They don’t have an email that you can contact them at, so the next best thing was through automatic, which does have the usual contact details, so I think it was the amount of other messages I sent direct that prompted them to reply and review the suspension the very next day.
        They really need to do something about that, but at least it got sorted.
        I think they are keeping an eye out for me now, as I got another suspension for putting banner ads on my site, but this time it got sorted quickly.

        Like

  3. joomlaspecialist June 5, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    I still investigating this. I use their free SEO service and that looks very promising. Still not figured out if I have to use their payed services.
    Anyway, you can easialy remove them from your Google Analytics reports by making an exclude filter.

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The “S” word and I don’t mean “suspension” | sqwabb - February 24, 2014

    […] WordPress blog has just come back online after a week of being suspended by WordPress for violating Terms and Conditions. Turns out heir sin was that they had also used the […]

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  2. Another letter to “S” (Further adventures in blogland…) | The Grinning Skull - March 19, 2014

    […] [The Grinning Skull] Stories of Suspension, and Suspicion of Spammers…(and the “S”… […]

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