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Our Manage Comics blog was recently suspended by Medium for no justifiable reason. To date the only explanation we have been given is that we were accidentally caught in their spam filter.

This caused a huge impact on our business, saw our page rankings plummet, created dozens of orphaned links from sites that had referenced us, and left us scrambling to solve a problem that our vendor has not been able to give us a reasonable explanation behind.

Because of the negative effects on our business, and Medium’s lack of a reasonable explanation for what happened, we have removed all content from Medium, and we are firmly advising our clients against using Medium as a blogging platform.

It Started With a Need For Content Marketing

In April of 2017 we started the Manage Comics Blog.  The idea of our blog was to write things to help out comic retailers.

In the last year, we have built several how to’s.  Things like setting up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.  Why you need a customer database, how online software can help you, and loads more.

About six months after we launched, we started getting attention, growing organically, and getting new customers regularly who came to us through the blog.  It is a case study for how good, consistent, organic growth happens.  We didn’t do any SEO trickery, didn’t do a ton of outreach, and didn’t put out any controversial pieces. We just consistently put out solid content.

Then Diamond Comics Distributors entered the market, and suddenly we were facing the 800 pound gorilla.  We fought back, and posted “Why Manage Comics will Always be better than Diamond’s Pull Box”, and we were picked up by the comics press.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that our blog feed had disappeared from the home page of our website.  I clicked through to the blog and everything worked.  I wrote it off as a plug-in error and vowed to check it out later.

Of course I got busy, and forgot.

Then I started getting emails asking when we would write the blog again.  I pointed folks to the latest instalment and moved on.  One gentleman showed me the 404 page on Medium, and my heart skipped a beat.

What. The. Fudge?  When I logged in, all was good…but if I was in incognito mode, the blog gave me a 404 error too and said “suspended” in the URL.

Why We Started Using Medium

The Medium blog was an experiment.  I don’t believe in building content on rented land, in fact I wrote about that on my first blog post here on this very blog. (Digital Sharecropping is Dangerous)  I know better…but this blog was a quick attempt to see if I could build an audience. The Manage Comics website is entirely built on Ruby on Rails, and while I had a blogging tool that I could have used for promotion purposes, the truth is it wasn’t a great platform, and made posting a little bit of a pain.  I wanted to remove as many barriers to posting as I could.

Medium was easy to set up, and at the time I was able to build a redirect to blog.managecomics.com.  I figured that my content would be safe there, this was Ev Williams of Blogger fame after all!

So when my account no longer worked, I was pretty irritated.  I emailed Medium support.

Medium’s Responses

Hi there, my medium blog is currently showing to users as “Suspended”, when I log in, it’s fine, and I had no idea this was a problem until people started asking where my blog went.

https://blog.managecomics.com/

When I go there in an incommunicado window, it redirects to this page.

https://blog.managecomics.com/suspended

Any help would be great.

In the meantime, I went ahead and exported the posts out of Medium and imported them into my own WordPress site that I control 100%.

About 10 hours after I submitted my question to Medium, I got a response.

Hi Brian,

Sorry you are experiencing that.

You were accidentally caught in our spam filter. I have restored your account and all your posts. We apologize for this inconvenience.

If you need anything else, please let me know.

Thanks,
Jonas
User Happiness

Curious, I responded back with a question.

Do you know why this would have happened, and what I can do to avoid it in the future?

I’m concerned because there was no notice to me, and as far as I could tell everything was working as intended.  It was only when a bunch of people asked me why I quit my blog (even though I was posting regularly) that I knew anything was going on.

Thanks.

Their response (38 minutes later) was:

Hi Brian,

This was an issue on our side, and I’ve marked your account so it won’t get automatically suspended in the future. Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience.

If you need anything else, please let me know.

Thanks,
Jonas
User Happiness

To say I’m not a happy user would be an understatement. I’m seriously irritated, but there’s not much I can do about it.

The End Result

The Manage Comics blog was down for a number of days, with no notice to us, and we have no idea how or why. Worse is the fact that all of that organic traffic that we’ve built up over months to the blog, has all vanished. Our blog has all but disappeared from the online world, and now we have to build that traffic from the ground up.

During the two weeks that our blog was missing from the internet, Google delisted dozens of blog posts that were generating organic traffic for us. It took us a year to build up that traffic, we did significant outreach to comics press, released press releases, and were featured in a number of different places.  All of those links have been delisted, and Google has no way to know that we are back and didn’t simply vanish.

The good news is that the year the blog was around on Medium gave the rest of our website some actual Google ranking, and now we’re starting to see some growth on the actual website, but the damage we are dealing with is huge, and will take a long time to recover from.

We will not let this happen again (fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me) last weekend I worked to bring the entire blog in-house, where it belongs, and it’s now happy as part of the whole info.managecomics.com website, which is a self-hosted WordPress website.

I spent a couple of hours one night last week exporting all of our posts from Medium, making sure the formatting was good, attaching images, setting categories, and adding tags. I hadn’t budgeted for this time, and I am under the gun on several projects so it resulted in a particularly late night.

What happened?  I’m not sure actually, somehow my blog was suspended, coincidentally around the same time that we were getting press attention from a blog post about a competitor. I’m sure that Diamond had nothing to do with this, just like I’m sure that Diamond’s tag line of “Your Customer Database … managed” is complete coincidence!

Whatever the reason for the suspension, we have no idea why it happened, if it will happen again, and why we weren’t notified when it happened. To us it looked like business as usual, and the site looked to be responding normally.  I do monthly checkins of traffic, but since this happened during a particularly busy time for work, I hadn’t checked.

NorthIQ’s Recommendation on Medium

This has fundamentally broken our trust in Medium, and we will not be using the Medium platform for any of our content, and we strongly advise our clients, and anyone reading this, not to use Medium as a blog platform for any content that you use to build online equity in your brand.

Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.