I've pointed out a few times this year that the waters have been turning ugly for affiliate marketers. The industry has often been associated with spam so it's not surprising that Google would go after affiliates a bit. Google is not the only one getting in on the act, though. Ana Hoffman, of Traffic Generation Cafe learned the hard way about some Twitter rules that are worth noting. Ana recently found out her main Twitter account had been suspended. After a period of waiting for an answer from Twitter, it arrived.
They gave her three distinct reasons that her account was banned and indicated the ban would not be lifted.
- Creating serial and/or multiple accounts with overlapping use cases
- Cross-posting Tweets or links across accounts
- Aggressive following, particularly through automated means
The third one has always been in Twitter's TOS as far as I can remember. If you 'aggressively follow' this could end poorly. Generally, they'll block your account after a few hundred follow requests. I assume they now look for a 'pattern of abuse.' If they plan on punishing people for this rule infraction, you can expect many of the users with the largest follower accounts to also by suspended or banned. Let's face it, most of them gained followers by 'following first.'
Overlapping Use Cases Must Be Avoided
Now this rule seems a bit new. Apparently you can't have more than one Twitter account for basically the same reason. I'm not sure when Twitter started punishing people for this one, but this could affect a lot of accounts. If you have more than one Twitter account you need to edit them so that they aren't too similar. This also ties in to the other violation, in which they said Ana was suspended for 'Cross-posting Tweets or links across accounts.'
This seems like a new rule. I myself have been guilty of doing this. I will now stop, knowing that it's against Twitter rules and will end up in a ban.
It seems we're at the Twitter stage where they start cracking down and imposing rules that were supposedly always there. Anyone who is familiar with Google search will recognize a pattern. When the service first starts off and tries to gain popularity, the company leaders 'look the other way' when inflationary tactics happen. After all, it helps make the website's growth look much greater than it really is. As they try and distill the chaos into some sort of business logic, they end up lashing out at the very community that helped make them famous in the first place.
Das Boot Has Fallen On Ana Hoffman
Once the ban hammer has been unleashed, it's rare it will be relinquished. Expect many more bans and suspensions coming soon. If your Twitter account hasn't been suspended yet, keep in mind these three rules. Slow down on the following. Be careful about any automation tools you're using. Realize exactly how they work and make sure you understand the implications of using them. Ana Hoffman has learned her lessons and has started a new Twitter account. Having 'Das Boot' land on you is never a good thing, but perhaps a few others will learn from this ordeal and avoid having it happen to them. I know I will. I will now make sure to always 'custom craft' any Tweets before sending them out. No one wants to have to start over from the very beginning, so we'll all just have to follow Twitter's new rules. I bet we see more of them as the days progress, too.
Have you ever had a problem at Twitter?