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brand discrimination

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Steve Bentley
brand discrimination
on Mar 10, 2019 at 5:53:40 pm

Hi Team,
I just left a post suggesting a number of ways to tackle a poster's problem. I suggested (but did not recommend) Wondershare as a video converter, among other things.
In a post not 5 min later I suggested using Photoshop to do something for an After Effects question.
Why was my Wondershare post blocked? (it was blocked for the use of the word "Wondershare") I realize people shilling products on the forums can be an issue, and I'm all for weeding that out, but if you are going to block one brand, don't you need to block them all pending review to be fair?
I've had this happen too on the AE forum, when I've suggested a plugin available at I'm not affiliated with either of these two companies but they do offer solutions that can fit the bill.
The irony will be, as I point out the discrimination here, that this post will be blocked for the very same use of words.
I'm not trying to sell these products I'm trying to point people to a solution, no matter where it comes from.

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Tim Wilson
Re: brand discrimination
on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:46:58 pm

[Steve Bentley] "if you are going to block one brand, don't you need to block them all pending review to be fair?"

Hi Steve,

It's not about fairness or discrimination. It's about using a semi-automated system (flagging posts for human review) to address years of abuse by one specific company. Not all of them. Just one.

After we'd removed and blocked spam posts by that company, they created a raft of phony accounts to try to sneak in as users. After we flagged their IP addresses, they started using accounts from other servers, and agents from around the world. This went on for years.

The flagging system that we use is the right compromise. If you search the COW archives, you'll find plenty of posts from people like you, whom we know to be real humans, making honest recommendations. That's because we're not discriminating against the company. We welcome legit posts about their products, even though the company is among the worst offenders against our policies, or any standard of good corporate online behavior, in our 18 years history as the COW, 24 years if you go back to our first founding.

We certainly apologize for any delay in your post becoming public, but we have to do it that way because of how quickly Google absorbs our posts into their archive, usually within a few minutes. It wouldn't do anybody any good, including our overall Google standings, to have an archive full of bot and spam posts, or be returning 404 errors to empty pages because we culled those posts later.

I know that the long chain of decisions that led to a term being flagged may not seem obvious on your end of the exchange, which is why I'm happy to provide some insight here. There are only a couple of companies who are flagged, and it took a LOT for them to have earned it. These guys definitely did, and the severity of their misbehavior is such that there's no amount of time that will pass to change their status with us.

In the meantime, we'll continue to approve legitimate posts like yours as quickly as we can, with apologies again for the inevitable delays.


Tim Wilson
Creative COW

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