reddit-shadowban

in Communication

Am I Shadowbanned on Reddit?

reddit-shadowban

Am I shadowbanned on Reddit? A few days ago I didn’t even know what “shadowban” was let alone suspect I was shadowbanned. But after a brief investigation, I discovered that I was indeed “shadowbanned.”

Reddit: Pre-Shadowban

Let’s start from the beginning.The Jixee blog has been the single greatest driver of traffic to Jixee for months. We’ve made a concerted effort to create quality content on a consistent basis for readers. Part of our distribution strategy is using Reddit to share our posts with niche audiences. For every blog post, we’d share it with sub-Reddits like /r/programming and /r/webdev. For months, we were generating a great deal of traffic. Sometimes nearly 5,000 views on a single post. Buzzfeed might snicker at that number, but for a startup blog that’s less than a year old, we were happy. Then one day our Reddit traffic dropped off dramatically.

While our Reddit traffic had been fairly regular on days we posted, it’s not uncommon for a post to be shared and ignored by the community. One day wasn’t a big deal. But then it happened again and again. Pretty soon, we had a few weeks of blog posts with minimal amounts of Reddit traffic. We went from 1,000-2,000 daily views from Reddit to 50. Huge dropoff. Even bigger mystery.

am-i-shadowbanned-on-reddit

Our team started to tinker with our formula, trying different days and times. We brainstormed different content ideas, trying to nail down the patterns in our best performing content. We even looked at external reasons (i.e. holidays) why our traffic dropped. We were at a loss. One thing we overlooked was a clue, standing right there in front of us the whole time.

“Page Not Found”

When we would click on our user name, we’d get a “page not found” screen from Reddit. This seemed really weird to us. Our posts appeared to be going live. We could link to the posts. We were never informed that the posts were SPAM and not being publicly shown. Because they were public to us. Sometimes you could see our profile activity, sometimes you couldn’t. I just figured it was something on Reddit’s end.  I failed to realize what was going on.

The reason why you would sometimes see our profile’s activity and other times not, was simple. I was logged in. That’s when you could see the activity. When you saw the “page not found” screen, I wasn’t logged in. That was the true public view of the profile. This discrepancy is what lead us to discovering what shadowbanned in Reddit means.

What Does it Mean to be Shadowbanned on Reddit?

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A shadowban is a sneaky way Reddit moderators ban SPAMMers and other abusive profiles. They don’t tell you you’re banned. And they don’t let you think you are either. That’s why we made weeks of posts, comments, and upvotes for nothing. To us they were real, to the world they were not. Shadowbanned. (If you want to check if you’re shadowbanned or not, use this handy tool.)

How did we get shadowbanned? Short answer, SPAM. We got so hooked on the traffic spikes we saw from Reddit. We started to post more often and to more sub-Reddits. Pretty soon our profile page was nothing but Jixee posts. The only real shock was that it took so long for us to get shadowbanned.

It’s unclear when exactly we were shadowbanned, because Reddit moderators don’t tell you. Quite frankly, they don’t care either. In their eyes, you’re a scourge to the Reddit community. Here’s an unofficial guide on how to avoid being shadowbanned on Reddit.

What Can You Do When You’re Shadowbanned on Reddit?

To be honest, you’re screwed. Here’s a Reddit thread that gives you some tips on how to resolve the issue. But from what I’ve been able to ascertain from other Reddit users, it’s a very low likelihood that your account will be restored to good graces. It’s easier to learn from your mistakes and create a new account.

That’s what we’re doing. We’ve created a new account and are slowly building its credibility. We are going to rethink our posting strategy on Reddit.

Reddit is a great source of relevant traffic. We fell in love with Reddit because not only did we see increased traffic, but we saw higher than normal sign ups for our free trial. But we got drunk on the Kool-Aid and too reliant on Reddit traffic. Since we’ve been shadownbanned, we’ve re-asses our distribution strategy and how we’re going to use Reddit. We’re sorry to the Reddit community for our misuse. It was a valuable lesson, one that we’re going to learn and grow from.

  • http://mike802.blogspot.com/ mike802

    Honestly, even being an active member of a given community might not be enough if your only goal is advertising. You could spend some cash and buy actual ads in any number of ways including, newspapers, TV, radio, or the internet. Typically, if you are a member of a community and you have content that can be shared, other members will get to know you and if what you have is of high enough quality, they will share it for you. Good luck out there.

    • http://jixee.me/ Jesse

      Thanks for reading Mike. We are active Reddit community members. But your comment is totally on point. It’s something we are considering.

      • http://mike802.blogspot.com/ mike802

        I know it sucks, especially when you want to promote something, but that’s usually what things are like.

  • Falafelizer

    Bummed to hear it – y’all have great content. It’s been useful to me a number of times at the startup I’m with!