Reddit Bans The Atlantic, Business Week And More For Spamming

Yesterday Redditors noticed a strange error message when trying to submit content from a handful of major news sources, a message that indicated the sites were not allowing due to “spamming and/or cheating.”  Reddit, the most popular social news aggregation site, has traditionally been a very open community, but this move is less apparent.  No official blog post, no Tweets from Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian – just speculation.

It has been noted that the bans are only temporary as well.  So far the list of banned domains include:

  • BusinessWeek.com
  • Phys.org
  • ScienceDaily.com
  • TheAtlantic.com
The biggest clue as to why the domains have been banned may just be found in an article from the Daily Dot.  The article outs  an employee of the Atlantic for continually submitting articles from his employer.  Reddit’s FAQs don’t quite explain spam to a tee, but does include the following statement:
  • It’s not strictly forbidden to submit a link to a site that you own or otherwise benefit from in some way, but you should sort of consider yourself on thin ice. So please pay careful attention to the rest of these bullet points.
  • If your contribution to Reddit consists mostly of submitting links to a site(s) that you own or otherwise benefit from in some way, and additionally if you do not participate in discussion, or reply to peoples questions, regardless of how many upvotes your submissions get, you are a spammer.
There has been a good deal of community outcry in the subreddit BannedDomains.  Many users think that the bans are treading on a slippery slope of censorship, something that eventually led to the demise of Digg. User simonownes stated made the following salient point:
This is just bizarre. These are major sources of news — to ban the entire Reddit community from submitting links to them is to cut the community off from a major source of discussion occurring on the web. I understand banning individual users who work for The Atlantic or Businessweek who are spamming the system, but to cut off these destinations entirely?

Also, it’s just hypocritical. Reddit doesn’t care if you submit an infinite number of links to imgur or quickmeme, two sites where incidentally the content creators get no money for the labor they put into creating creative content, but god forbid those links go to a site that pays the content creators. And in many of those cases, especially with imgur, the content is simply being lifted without permission from the original content creator.

For more information follow along in the BannedDomains subreddit.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Reddit | Social Media Marketing | Social Media Marketing: Spam

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About The Author: is the Director of Marketing for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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  • http://www.austinot.com/ Brittany Highland

    Reddit is possibly the most unique social network animal I’ve ever met. I go for content unique to the community – and obviously individuals unique to the community. But I often feel like I’m walking on eggshells, trying to avoid getting flamed for nothing. The mysterious intricacies of Reddit continue on…

  • http://www.facebook.com/MattOwenWeb Matt Owen

    I’m a regular Redditor, and I do occasionally submit links from my own site if I think they are particularly relevant to the discussion of a particular subreddit, I do usually identify myself in the comments there though and try not to do it often, I’d rather others submitted our stuff anyway. 
    To be honest I think this is more about flooding and keeping the content on Reddit diverse. links from Business insider and the Atlantic (among others) are hard to avoid because there’s just so many of them, and it’s to the detriment of the subreddits they are posted in. Similarly, the r/metal sub recently placed a moratorium on songs from certain bands being posted, as they were filling up the front page and frankly, making the entire thing rather… boring frankly. 

    It’s fine to post from popular sources, but there comes a point when things need to be cleared out. Similarly, some users will post from very popular sources in the hope of gaining lots of Karma, and will repeatedly post similar content. Again, this makes things become rather homogenous. If I want to read articles from The Atlantic, I go to their site, I’d rather have unusual, less well reported content on Reddit. That said,  I’d hope that Reddit will lift the ban after a suitable period. 

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