A warning to anyone who uses WordPress.com

by Angelique on June 23, 2010

No WordPress.comWordPress.com seems like a good solution for anyone who wants a free or very-cheap blog. I myself have recommended it. However, be warned: WordPress.com can turn on you without warning, and you can lose access to your entire account without explanation or any recourse. This can happen even if you do not own the blog in question, but rather simply contribute to it.

Some of you may know that I am a contributor to a multi-author blog about politics and culture called Alexandria. (The URL, when it was active, was http://www.aleksanderia.wordpress.com)

The blog owner is H.M. Stuart. He has no idea why the Alexandria blog was suddenly suspended. WordPress.com says that he “violated the terms of service.” But how? His blog isn’t monetized. (Not that monetization is against the terms of service, but doing it improperly is a common way to violate the agreement.) He monitors the blog, and never saw a link to an obviously offensive website.

H.M. has been trying to contact WordPress.com since the wee hours of the morning, with no success.

But the Alexandria blog is not the only blog that has been suspended, and possibly already erased. Every WordPress.com account of every one of the Alexandria contributors has been suspended.

Let me make this clear:

They didn’t just suspend the Alexandria blog.

They didn’t just suspend the account of the Alexandria blog owner.

They suspended my account, and the accounts of dozens of writers.

Our WordPress.com blogs are no longer on the web.

We cannot sign into our accounts for any reason, not even to contact WordPress.com support.

I have been doing some research, and I discovered that this is not uncommon. If you accidentally link to a site that WordPress.com thinks is naughty for any reason, they suspend first and ask questions later.

What is a naughty site? Well, in one case, WordPress.com thought that the owners of a certain site were “spammers.” The hapless blog owner who made a link to that site had no idea what the site owners did in their free time, but no matter! Suspended! Fortunately WordPress.com later deigned to allow the blog owner to remove the link and keep her blog.

What I’m saying is, this could happen to YOU, especially if you participate in multi-author blogs.

Beware WordPress.com!

P.S. Do you have a WordPress.com horror story? Please share it in the comments section!

P.P.S. Let me make it clear that none of the above is true of WordPress.org. WordPress.org is a blogging application, not a blog host. I use the WordPress.org application and love it.

Have more questions about this subject? Contact me at info@afmarcom.com or 602.735.3107.

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