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Reddit lifts its ban on “The Atlantic”

The Atlantic and a handful of other sites are eligible for linking on Reddit again after being temporarily blocked for spamming.


Kevin Morris

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 9, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 2:44 pm CDT

The Atlantic has returned to Reddit.

A month after the social news site kicked out the news magazine and dozens of other sites —including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Discovery News—for spam, Reddit has welcomed many back into the warm embrace of its monster traffic, with little fanfare.

Organized spamming has long plagued Reddit, and though the site takes many measures to combat the practice—most visibly, the user-run subreddit r/reportthespammers—it instituted a site-wide ban feature last June. According to Reddit staffers, the measure was a last resort, and the bans were more akin to a frightening night in the county jail than a life sentence.

The Atlantic returned nine days ago; Discovery News only suffered the ban for three days; and BusinessWeek returned after two days—a slap on the wrist, at worst.

Indeed, from the beginning the site’s general manager, Erik Martin, emphasized the bans were temporary. Reddit staff refused to speak about what specific actions led to the bans, however, saying only that they were a “last resort.”

The Daily Dot exposed The Atlantic’s impressive Reddit spamming operation last April. At the time, Jared Keller, the site’s social media editor, had quietly been banned for flooding the site with links to Atlantic Media properties under an assumed identity. Another redditor, Ian Miles Cheong, was booted around the same time for spamming The Atlantic and international news site GlobalPost. He admitted that he worked for Boston-based Antler, a social media marketing firm.

When reached for comment about The Atlantic’s return, Martin declined to speak specifically, but noted:

“[W]hen we lift a ban it usually means we have worked with the publisher to ensure that the activity that led to the ban has stopped and measures have been taken to prevent it from happening in the future.”

Not all of the sites kicked off Reddit in the Great Spam Purge have returned, however. Science sites PhysOrg and ScienceDaily remain barred from the site.

Referral links from Reddit are big business. The site sees more than 35 million unique visitors a month. And top subsections, such as r/politics—a popular destination for Atlantic links—see hundreds of thousands of unique visitors every day.

Redditors were divided over the bans last month, and reactions ranged from cautious support to anger and outright vitriol. Redditor davidreiss666, who boasts more than a half million link karma (the site’s scoring mechanism for rewarding popular content) and moderates many of the site’s largest sections, had only one thing to say about the magazine’s return:

The Atlantic is back, Baby!”

He’s since submitted 21 links to the site.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that GlobalPost was still barred from Reddit. The ban was lifted on July 6.

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*First Published: Jul 9, 2012, 3:06 pm CDT