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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bonanzle, Blogs and Censorship... A word to the wise

Well I guess the Lucy and her babies blog has now fallen to an all time low. As many of you know there was a chip in page created for Lucy and her Kittens, upon the advice of many well intentioned people. I was so very careful not to post it on Bonanzle as it is a violation of their forum policies. Throughout time, a very well meaning friend who did not know it was a violation posted it on a forum thread. The posts suddenly began being deleted. My husband not knowing the exact rules re-posted the thread. I immediately notified support at Bonanzle and I thought they might have the common sense to realize the mistakes. I am not a newbie to the rules but my husband is.

On Bonanzle we have had a lot of fun posting pictures of Joey and Lucy and all the kids. We shared so many antics all in the spirit of giving back to all those pet lovers and especially to those that showed us so much support. There is one thread that I will assume will be pulled shortly that has nothing but discussed and showed pictures of Lucy it alone has had almost 6700 views and is on the 24th page. It is now in the drama section of the forums

I now find out that our blogs are censored by Bonanzle. The night before last, I responded to a new seller that I was following her and stated :

I'm following! I need something for beyond dry sensitive skin! here's my blog

This resulted in my being dmv'd for solicitation of charity. I'm assuming there's a witch hunt of non-pet lovers that have decided to make it their mission to follow my every move. Management has decided to censor my blog citing :

"The reason why your most recent post was disemvoweled is because the link to your blog which has a donation which ties in with the thread in Drama that we have discussed before. I know that from our earlier emails about this that that was not your intent but we need to be consistent with our forum guidelines so that we can remain fair to all. "

So be advised to pick and chose your words ever so wisely. A link to my blog has cost me a one month suspension on Granted it is only a suspension to the forums however I suspect that this will not be the end of it. I can live without a was cute and it was fun. We were some of the first people to ever join Bonanzle and have stuck by them thru thick and thru thin. Defended and offered excuses when things did not seem right. When they said they wouldn't be doing advertising, a group got to together to try and do some advertising at our own contribution was to do 7 videos advertising Bonanzle. When the shipping calculators have not worked I have stuck my neck out as an advocate of those who's sales depended on them. I could go on and on but why bother. Bonanzle wants to be the friendliest and most social e-commerce site out there..but only at their discretion as to what you can say or think even outside the walls of their site, which is so disheartening.. So that you know, this is the Bonanzle policy that in is not listed anywhere until it hits you:

"Please keep in mind that, per the Bonanzle forum policies, your forum privileges may be temporarily or permanently disabled for repeated forum violations. Number of violations in 3-month time window Consequence

1 Warning email

2 Warning email

3 Forum posting privileges removed for 24 hours*

4 Forum posting privileges removed for one week*

5+ Forum posting privileges removed for one month*

Your current count of violations in the last three months is 6. This translates to your account being disabled from forum posting through 10/13/10."

We never received an email warning, much less a 24 hour suspension or even for a week. We got slammed for a month yet they cite they are being fair? Do they read everyone's blog's? Or have we been singled out? 

I encourage any comments on this. Feel free to sign in as anonymous as I know many are afraid of voicing their feelings out of fear. I now know how that really feels. I expect this blog will only get me in further trouble with Bonanzle and will probably be told I might be happier elsewhere.

To all the special Aunts and Uncles on Bonanzle, our Facebook followers/supporters and those on Pet Finders, again we thank you from the very bottom of our hearts. You helped to give Lucy and her babies the care they so desperately needed and without you they would have been going to a shelter with a very uncertain future. We will be continuing with this blog as it has become so popular. Bonanzle doesn't want be it, it's their loss.


  1. Well they don't scare me! And your Chip-in is still intact on your WEB PAGE I made (hey Bonanzle can't control what comments people post to your posts nor what liinks they put in them! The shouldn't even have anything to say about your Blog!)
    They tried to censor MY blog a while back and I said:

  2. Oh, I just noticed you ended it. I'll go update your website and put something nice in its place

  3. Mary sorry that this happened, I do hope you will continue posting our updates here, I need a Joey fix!
    It is a shame all the work you did for the block party and now you can't do the promos to get folks to your stores.

  4. I too am so sorry that this happened to you Mary.

    You have contributed so much to the site that I am saddened to learn of this latest news.

  5. I to am upset at the stupid and ridiculous censoring that is starting to happen at the site. I've not seen one time where you were soliciting donations for that family of kitties.

    They need to read the posts themselves rather than just rely on the word of what appears to be animal haters

  6. Conjure is absolutely 100 percent correct. What you do and say off site is NONE of Bonanzle's business.
    If you are stating fact and opinion, and not making false statements, then they have NO control what so ever over what you say here or any other site, other than their own

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  8. Had to delete I missed something.

    Apparently if you have something in your blog that doesn't jive with Bonanzle you cannot post your link on the forums for anyone to follow. Wonder how they monitor all the blogs or do they just allow a witch hunt?

  9. I'm so sorry this happened, Mary!! At least we know where to find you and the kitties and Joey and's going to be a long month not seeing you on the boards.

    No one can censor your blog but you.

  10. Hi Mary!

    OMG.. That is such a shame! I am soo very sorry that this happened to you!
    I am working on having my own site built as I am growing weary of the drama and I want to seriously build a site just to sell and explain my philosophy behind my natural beauty products, sell them and that's it.

    I LOVE(D) the social aspect of Bonz when it was more free. But, lately it seems a tad ridiculous the things that get sent to drama etc.. (like the 911 threads) and then when the powers that be pull things like this, it leaves more & more of a bad taste in my mouth.

    We love you beauty!! and you will be missed but I am following your blog now and we can all come here and comment and share - like Faye beauty sez (bookbrowzsers) only you can censor your blog!

    Patti (Yeshuazgirl)

  11. Sofy,..good to see you. I was happening to me alot. Thats why you don't see me in forums anymore. A few even got DMV'ed for posting just smiley faces, so your not alone.

  12. Freedom is the last, best hope of earth. -- Abraham Lincoln

  13. One might easily think that Bonanzle isn't a capitalist free market site anymore...

  14. I am very sorry this happened, on so many levels and for so many reasons.

    I can attest to the fact that you do not get the "warning" emails, you find out when it's too late.

    How dare they care what is in your blog.

    "but we need to be consistent with our forum guidelines so that we can remain fair to all"

    I hate that comment, and have heard it before. Fair is not something that applies to Bonz forum. I have seen many break the rules over and over, have way more than 6 violations in a week, let alone 3 months and they get 24 hours or a week and someone else that did little gets a month. Seen it more than once.

    Also, what is fair in your case, nothing. I have seen some break the "charities" rule (some begging) consistently yet all they do is get sneaky about it or lay off for a bit, but, never a vacation. So, you get a month for not putting your needs on the forum. Makes a lot of sense and it totally fair... yeah, right.

    One has to get curious about the timing. Something else I have noticed in the past, is the coincidence about some of these things. Is is jut a coincidence that this was on the heels of you voicing your opinions on Bill's blog about the calculator. Did this upset the boyz and make them be a little harsher? Did some of the rah rah crowd get upset and target you? Guess we wont know for sure, but as I said, I have seen these coincidences before. Makes one wonder if it is really some sort of retaliation towards those that speak out.

    Hope the fur kids are OK. You will be amazed at how much you wont miss the forum :), but, you will be missed.

  15. I forgot to mention. Funny how many find it necessary to be anonymous. Maybe I am not the only one thinking of retaliation for daring to have an opinion.

  16. *applause* for The Pugs Beauty!
    I agree 1000 percent and have noticed the same types of coincidences..... Things that make you go hmmm.... and ugh...

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  18. Hey Mary,

    I think that the most important question when it comes to rules for us is "Do we believe in the policies we have set forth?" On one hand, Bonanzle is a tool that empowers users to communicate, express themselves, and enjoy each others' company. I consider this to probably be our site's greatest accomplishment so far, so when we were deciding how best to handle forum violations, a strong point in favor of "let the people speak" was that it felt consistent with the communicative environment we were trying so hard to create.

    But on the other hand, our #1 goal above all other goals has to be that we help our sellers make sales. If we don't do that, we might as well be running a social networking site. This is not our goal. Our fundamental belief is that if a poster is violating forum policies 5 or more times in a three month period, there have been 5 or more times that they have acted in a way that is going to reflect poorly on our entire selling community to potential new buyers. The cost of allowing a wild west "anything goes" environment is simply too great in terms of time to manage it and lost buyers who are put off by sentiments that don't abide by our forum policies.

    Of course, it is always tempting to want to make exceptions for the people we like. But ultimately, I think it's similar to if you're a police officer and you pull someone over for going 90mph in a 60mph zone and that person happens to be the mayor. Do you not give them a ticket because they are the mayor? Our belief is that all people deserve to be treated equally. Of course, if the radar gun was broken or the person's brakes went out, then maybe it's a different story.

    So, to be honest, what concerned me more than anything in hearing your story was your assertion that you had never received a warning email prior to having your forum rights revoked. I have been rooting around in the database and logs today looking for evidence to piece together how this could have come about, and in so doing, I've uncovered evidence that supports your claim. We'll email you directly with more details, but long story short, we will be reinstating your posting access based on the fact that it appears our system did in fact fail to email you about your first five DMVs (which occurred between June and July, when there had apparently been in error in our DMV emailing mechanism). Sincere apologies for the system error, and I'll provide more details to you in a direct email.


  19. Mary and Russ,
    I am so sorry that you've had such an upsetting time. This isn't right and Bill, the Bonanzle policy and the actual practices do NOT match one another.

    Sofy and Joey pix cheer Mom up. (She is 92 and can use all the smiles she can get.)

    betty anne

  20. Mary, I am glad they are going to reinstate you so you can post if you like on the forums should you want to do so.

    It is too bad that all this happened to you over such an innocent manner and without them letting you know anything first.

    Many who frequently posted there are now quiet because they are afraid of what may be dealt them. Too bad the community is losing many helpful people there. But I understand their need to just be quiet.

    I wish you all the best and will follow your blog

  21. Mary I am so sorry that this has happened to you. I for one find it unfair and wonder why you , as well as other people are singled out.

    How I looked forward to reading the Lucy Discussion in the Forum, it brought smiles, joy and sometimes sorrow. But, it was something that I read many times a day, always looking for updates and new photos. To many of us, is became part of our day.

    If the site Management feels it is necessary to Censor their Forums so be it, but where are the Rules and Regulations that explain what is not acceptable on the Forums, I have never seen them. But, for a Selling Site to Censor Members Private Blogs is unfair and uncalled for, what has happened to our Freedom of Speech.

    I have often wondered why some discussions bother some people, if it is not to your beliefs or liking, just hit the back button and go to another discussion. I know that not all are Animal Lovers, but there are many that are and enjoyed this discussion.

    Last week when the 9/11 Discussion was sent to Drama, I got the feeling that things in this world that do not affect all, cannot be posted to the Discussion Boards. As a New Yorker I was truly offended and hurt. This is something that happened to all of us and it is USA History.

    I have to agree with Pugs regarding “Is is just a coincidence that this was on the heels of you voicing your opinions on Bill's blog about the calculator”. Then why was the blog put up on the site, I thought it was posted for us to post our opinions.

    Mary whether you post to the Discussion Boards again is your choice. You will be missed by so many, and now we will just follow the antics of the Fuzzballs here on your Blog.


  22. As I do not know anything about the whole situation, Let me comment as an 'outsider looking in'

    Seeing this from all angles, it appears to me that it is, as Bill pointed out, a glitch an error in judgement on whomever on the 'forum patrol' staff made. This however, did come about because of way too many people slyly soliciting for donations, as Pugs pointed out.
    In no way that I feel that is the case here.
    I know of many blogs and websites that have 'dontate' buttons on them, mine included. I surely hope that simply because there is such buttons on a off site blog or webpage that that means you are barred from sharing the link.
    And since ( as Bill Stated) Bonanzles goal is to help sellers make sales, networking via blogs, facebook, and stand alone websites is a way of driving traffic to Bonanzle - Donation button or not, to have this happen, is a definate bad judgement call.
    I can see where you Mary would feel like it is a personal issue addressed towards you, and justifibly so.
    Nothing against the moderators of the Forum, but as I have addressed in my blog when you chose to 'promote from within' any company you run the risk of bias opinions.
    I commend both you Mary for bringing things out in the open and also Bill, for publicly posting here Bonanzlrs stand and how they did find an error and recified the problem.

  23. Oh ... PS ..A 9/11 thread went to drama?? Sheesh.

  24. Good Morning Mary, Russ and all the furries! As we have typed back and forth about this there is not much need to go into it here. So I will just say I am so glad to see your forum posting restored. All of us at one time or another offend someone without it being the intent and we all have different opinions, I see nothing wrong with your behavior myself.
    I do believe you should be commended for all the work you do on Bonanzle that benefits all sellers. Welcome back Mary.
    I will say that I must thank Bill for addressing this issue and doing the fair and right thing for all involved.

    ps: Hi Joey, sofy, and of course all the little darlins.

  25. Phooey, go so excited to see this I forgot to get my avatar right! More coffee.

  26. Bill,

    Thank you for doing that for Mary. I wish you would check your system on this because she is not the first and only case this has happened to. In the past when support has been told there were no prior emails, the complaint/or question went unresponded to.


  27. Bill,

    oh, and not just june/july

    this goes way back and continues

  28. pugs,

    The DMV emails were fixed on July 27th. Evidence the email that sofy posted as part of the original blog here -- she did get her most recent DMV email, but not the other 5, which were from posts prior to July 27th.


  29. I'm glad that Bill did the right thing and reinstated you.

    So we can't share links that could contain a donate/charity button somewhere on that site?

    So if I found a Blog or website with a story on Bonanzle and they had a charity/button on that site I will get in trouble?

  30. I have to say I am sadden by this whole situation. Mary has never solicited for donations within the confines of the Bonanzle forums.

    To be punished for sharing a link that my lead to a site that contains a donation button is just ridiculous. Especially when that was not her intent to begin with!

    She was networking with fellow Bonanzler's it's what we do to help get our name and Bonanzle's name out there.

    I'm glad to see Bill take the time to investigate Mary's claims and that he found an error in the system. Nice to see she has been re-instated but it shouldn't of happened in the first place.

    Not because of the errors in the system but because she did nothing to warrant a suspension in the first place.

  31. How sad!!! This whole thing should never have happened.
    Thank you Bill for looking into it and reinstating Sofy's forum privileges but.... it's not good enough in my humble opinion. If you slap someone, simply saying 'sorry' doesn't remove the hurt. In future I would hope that you could look at a members worth BEFORE slapping :(

    Love you Mary... chin up girl :)


  32. @antiques & @selah: There is no rule against posting links to blog, even if they have donation buttons. What we specifically don't allow is for users to solicit donations on Bonanzle, regardless of where they are soliciting them from. Saying "I have this great blog where you can learn more about my kitty" is fine. Saying "I have this great blog where you can donate money for X cause" is not.

    The reason we have this policy is that, prior to it, we were inundated with spammers and scammers that would try to use our forums for various nefarious causes. Obviously we like Mary a lot more than those people, but we need to apply our rules consistently for them to be fair & meaningful.

  33. My many thanks to all of you for so many different reasons! The sun shines again :) Tomorrow I will do an updated blog to clear any misnomers. Lucy and the kittens, Joey, Sofy, Sammy, Billy and Jessy all send their love and their thanks to each and every single one of you!
    Who says you can't have family on line :)

  34. Bill - Yes, it is very important to apply the rules to all and I really dont think anyone would fault you for that... I surely would not :)

    Mary ... Yes the sun shines again! Hugs all around to all your 'family'

  35. Interesting.
    1) How on earth does Bonanzle plan to monitor EVERY SINGLE BLOG to make sure that it doesn't have somewhere in it links to donation buttons or even other possibly objectionable material?? We are SUPPOSED to use our Blogs and outside sites to PROMOTE our booths and Bonanzle, in lieu of actual advertising. Posting links to said blogs is a necessary part of that process. I have donation buttons on a couple of my websites -- and these sites also promote Bonanzle. It is even possible that some of these websites have opinions in them or links that Bonanzle may not agree with. How are they or even WE supposed to control that?????
    2) how do you DMV a smiley face??? Inquiring minds want to know ... :)

  36. Conjure.. the blogs are ok! From Bill:
    Hey Mary,

    We’ve got no problem with posting blog links, so long as they don’t say “go to this link to donate,” since that’s tantamount to asking for a donation, which is against our policies.

    Feel free to quote me


    dmv'ing a smiley LOL that still remains a mystery!