Here’s the deal. This isn’t a post I’m excited about writing, but there is a threat of the story getting published inaccurately. So, in order to initiate a pre-emptive strike, I’m writing this.

So the evening started out like any other, going through Twitter and Facebook for SEOmoz and answering responses. On Facebook there was a question from Dennis Yu asking if there was a way to update a YOUmoz post. I explained you couldn’t, but that you could resubmit a new one. I then ran to check the YOUmoz queue and didn’t see anything from him, and realized perhaps he needed to change a link on his old post. Well here’s the whole conversation:

At that point I thought he was making himself look pretty bad asking about a post that is over two years old. I had already asked him to take it offline, so I then deleted the post. YES. I DELETED THE POST. Again, I had answered his questions, he was making himself look bad, so I deleted. it. But then this happened:

He started harassing me. I asked him twice to stop the harassment or I’d have to ban him. Because honestly I take a lot of shit as the Community Manager, but being harassed isn’t one of them.

I gave him my information to email me directly. Which he did. And he threatened me. Yes folks, Dennis Yu threatened that he would give me 1 day to decide if I wanted to escalate this or not. I take it to mean that he’s going to write a blog post about it and try to show the world how bad SEOmoz is at social.

His email to me:


You’re a social pro, so I was surprised to see you commit a rookie mistake.
On Facebook, the best thing to do with a frustrated user is to first acknowledge you heard them.
If you invalidate or deflect the issue– and especially if you delete their comments– it almost never plays out well.

In this case, I had run my YouMoz post by at least 3 Mozzers who said the content should be promoted to the main blog. All that was needed was an apology vs saying the things you did.

Fair enough?

Now you’ve ruffled some feathers.  Want to repair things or escalate?
Threatening to ban is escalation and I am happy to engage.
To be nice, I’ll give you one evening to reconsider– want to help you here.

Best regards,
Dennis Yu

My response:

Hi Dennis,

I appreciate the feedback, but I know very well what I’m doing. I answered your question several times in the thread and honestly deleted because it made you look bad. You then proceeded to harass and attack us.
I’m sorry if your content wasn’t promoted to the main blog, you should have brought this up over two years ago when it was first published, not on Facebook years later. That was very unprofessional of you, which is why I removed the post. Also, I don’t feel that an apology is needed for not promoting a YOUmoz post from two years ago. It just doesn’t make sense to bring it up now.
Now not only did you harass us on Facebook, but now you’re threatening me by giving me a day to consider. You have pushed it too far here Dennis.

His response:

Ok– Jen, see it how you wish. You’ve completely missed why I’m not happy.
I really don’t want to do this, since it’s such a simple issue and easily avoidable, but here goes…
It’s a game of escalation and you have chosen to fight.

Best regards,

Dennis Yu

My response:

It’s too bad you see it as a fight Dennis. Have a great weekend!


Now I should also say that when I replied, I cc:d the CEO, president and VP of Marketing on the email to ensure that everyone saw that he was threatening me. The emails have continued to escalate from here and I’m happy to post all of the emails, but again it only makes Dennis look bad. I’m attempting to save some face for him here. I should also add that at the time of writing this, things have calmed down a bit. I’m not honestly sure if he’s going to write anything although he made several threats to publish something, including this one:

(This is about the time I realized I should write this post.)

Anyway at this point in the email thread from above, I deleted the final Facebook thread (the 2nd one above) and banned him from the page.

It’s pretty damn hard to get banned from the SEOmoz Facebook page, but this is one way to do it.

On a final note, here are the tweets from tonight as well:



36 thoughts on “How To Get Banned from a Facebook Page”

  1. 1 – I think this is a great example of the things that community managers must be prepared for. It’s not always a party.

    2 – Maybe this is just me, but I think boundaries for what’s acceptable in your community are the same thing as having boundaries for what’s acceptable in your home. You have a line, you ask your guest to respect it, if they don’t, they’re asked to leave. Respect goes both ways.

    3 – From what I know, Moz is about positive contribution and community. And if the contribution isn’t positive, it’s at least constructive. I didn’t interpret that from Dennis’s post.

    4 – If it was that good, update it. A lot has happened in the past two years. Update it, polish it, improve it, and reintroduce it to the community. I’m not sure why that wasn’t a consideration on his part.

    5 – The internet is hard.


  2. I find it interesting how public people make things and blow them out of proportions. I like how Rand is tell him how they are literally emailing each other and how Yu is posting questions on Twitter, obviously to get a rise and some attention.

    The fact that he kept insisting on pestering Jen via FB, even though he had his questions answered as well as her email address shows that he was only doing it for the attention. It DID make him look bad, especially being a Facebook marketer as he states on his site. The situation could’ve easily been resolved offline via email, but I think the fact he insisted on keeping it online is what brought it to “escalation”.

    Don’t worry, Jen…I (and probably 99.9% of mozzers) all appreciate what you’re doing and look at your tactics as professional and helpful. Don’t change what you’re doing because of this, we like the way you’ve been handling it :)

  3. What a waste of your time! I don’t personally know you Jen, but I’m sorry you had to waste so much time and professional courtesy on this guy when he is just obviously trying to make a name for himself.
    Why so much drama? “to escalate or diffuse!”, “frustration vs deflection!”, “hundreds watching!”–jeez! Get a life,Dennis

  4. Well Dennis, I got my post rejected 3 times on Youmoz (I learn from it… em not pissed nor I try social tricks)…

    Reason why I put my case as an example is for the following reasons:

    1. I am an active Mozzer and know the best way to contact regarding issues related to post and other issues… if you really have a question why social media? Why not email? That Jen provide you in the start?

    2. You start with your question that has been answered several time then moving on you changed your track mate… #nogood

    Being an Asian I might respect you but this was a stupid act honestly!

  5. Where do I start?

    1. Expecting a two year old blog post to be promoted is like pulling a piece of old chewing gum from the bottom of a trash can and asking someone to give it another chew for you!

    2. No matter how many Mozzers you offer your old gum to along the way, they aren’t the ones that have the say in what happens to it. That privilege and responsibility belongs to the YOUmoz Manager OF THE DAY. Clearly the person who was in the job in 2009 did not feel it should be promoted. Why on earth would the current YOUmoz Manager think it should be promoted now that it is 2 years out of date?

    3. Some members submit posts that aren’t up to standard and don’t get published. Some, like me, have chosen not to submit posts because we acknowledge the very high standard of what is published and hold ourselves to that standard. It’s not hard to imagine that there would be a lot of very hurt and angry people if Mr Yu’s unreasonable request were granted!

    4. Clearly the only person setting an example of how NOT to behave when using social media is Mr Yu. Fortunately nobody on the SEOmoz staff and very few in the entire community are naive enough not to recognize that this was an orchestrated attempt to force a capitulation by creating a scene in the public arena. It’s not like there aren’t direct email addresses on a public profile page for every member of the SEOmoz Team that Mr Yu seemed driven to communicate with tonight. Clearly he planned to make a public scene in order to manipulate “whoever is hiding on the wall” to give him what he wants.

    5. When you have come to the stage where every conversation is a series of battle ultimatums populated almost entirely with the terms “escalate” or “engage”, you have spent way too much time on those first person shooting games. It is probably way past time for a good dose of reality!

    6. Great Community Mangers are few and far between, Jen Lopez is one of the best in the business. If she ever offers you the chance to have your bad behavior politely overlooked and walk away gracefully, that would be a very strong sign that you should accept the offer and do it before you make yourself look really foolish.

    7. …and thank you to Mr Yu for telling me what his next blog post is likely to be about. I will be sure not to waste a moment of my time reading it and I certainly won’t be spending a lot of time reading his comments in the SEOmoz blog in future either.

  6. This guy is supposed to be running a company. Instead, he’s spending time having hurt feelings over a two year old blog post and crying on Facebook.

    If I were a client of his, I’d be pretty concerned.

    1. I agree Ian. This whole thread was interesting to me because Dennis Yu contacted me a few times after I posted that I do reasonably priced SEO and am USA-based. I’m glad it never went any further now! As far as what Dennis Yu has done for his personal brand? I associate Dennis Yu with: Whining, pestering, bullying and childish behavior.

      Will a new Internet term come out of this?

      I think so. I think SEOmoz just got “Yued”

  7. Whilst I think Dennis is being unnecessarily annoying and persistent I actually think deleting the thread was the wrong action to take. As a community manager of a page with over 100,000 fans that is one of Australia’s biggest brands, I can assure you I deal with threads MUCH more aggressive and negative than this. However I would never delete a post unless they are spamming the wall (not just one thread) or they are being offensive. It’s up to you to keep things positive and once you have answered the question and someone persists, you walk away.

    Deleting post almost always escalates things and it looks as though this was an engaged community member, not a troll. I think it should have been handled better by both sides – deleting the post has served to harm your credibility in the social space. Leaving it up would demonstrate transparency and you would likely find others coming to your defense.

    That’s my 10 cents worth anyway. I only hope you don’t delete this comment too ;)

    Ps. I do feel your pain, there are days when I want to let rip with obscenities to some of the people who “like” your page only to hate you!

    1. Hi Cara, I appreciate where you’re coming from. :) The SEOmoz community is about being open, educational and helpful. Our community isn’t like everyone else’s and I manage it that way. If someone cusses on our FB page (which happens), I delete the post and private message the person to explain why I removed it. We don’t allow that sort of thing on our blog or on our Facebook page. I’m not saying I did or didn’t do the right thing, just explaining our community a bit.

  8. His threats of blog-post escalation read like the rants of a twelve year old, bellowing “I’m telling!” in the playground.

    It’s being done purely for attention. That, not your moderation, is social media at its worst.

  9. I can’t believe that he’s just trying to use the Moz blog to build links for himself (“We’ve pushed a bunch of link juice to it”) and then trying to disguide it behind “I just wanted an acknowledgment of frustration.” That’s manipulative BS.

  10. You know what he probably wanted to update? The now defunct website link which has a nice anchor “Charlotte realtor ” – since the site is gone, that link is pointless.

    Probably wanted to juice it somewhere else.

    1. Rishi that’s quite possible, and we update YOUmoz posts all the time for people. If all he wanted was to edit the post like he originally said, then an email to me would have been all that was necessary.

  11. Jen!

    You are amazing. Great job taking care of the troll! I am sorry the internet lets egotistical jerks really shine.

    Kudos! For keeping the hate off our social!

  12. Hi! First time reader and also, not in social media at all but this post was really interesting to me! You know what struck me? I work in HR and it was really cool (especially the thread on twitter) that the CEO totally backed you up, repeatedly, and publicly. Again, not knowing much about the whole social media world, it was cool to see! I can imagine how frustrating being a community manager can get but the backup/support from upper management must make the frustrations more manageable!

  13. If I might be so bold, there is another side to the coin.

    The mistake was made when Jen replied with “I’m not sure why 1. you are bringing it up on facebook and 2. you are asking about it now?” When I read this I felt my blood pressure go up. If I were Dennis, I would have taken offense to the tone of that reply. It sounds pretty confrontational to me. Then he asks another question and the reply is to take it offline, followed by more text attempting to answer the question. That’s not taking it offline. It’s not diffusing the situation either. The real kicker comes in the next two posts from Dennis where he very clearly states that he wants to be acknowledged and understood, but instead Jen replies with a “You should have…” statement. This demonstrated she didn’t understand, and doesn’t have the customer relation skills needed to respond to his request while still maintaining the position of the company.

    As a community manager, you always have control over the direction of the conversation, the tone of the replies and ultimately how satisfied your customer is. I have dealt with more than my share of unreasonable and publicly posted requests, and have wrapped them all up on a positive note. Some have even resulted in the requester becoming an avid supporter of our group, instead of an enemy who feels tossed aside.

    Deleting the post, and then telling him you did it because he was making himself look bad, might have been the worst way to try and end the conversation.

    In the end Dennis took it too far. Making statements like that in a public forum is unprofessional and inappropriate. My point is that it could have been avoided with some tact in the beginning.

    Devil’s Advocate,

    1. Thanks Mina, no reason to feel bad about not agreeing with my actions. :) I’ve made absolutely no claims that I made the right or wrong decisions. I’m simply showing exactly what happened and how it played out.

      I’m glad to hear that you’ve always done exactly the right thing and have kept your community so happy. I always love to meet people like this. :)

      1. I think given everything, your reply to Mina here is implicitly smug (specifically, that last sentence comes off as patronizing…adding a smiley doesn’t change the obvious needle poking going on there); I was giving you the benefit of the doubt until I viewed this reply…

        Upon further review, too, I think you did indeed “escalate” things when you accused Dennis of “harassment.” He wasn’t harassing you so much as he was just plain being obnoxious.

        Rather than accusing him of harassing you when he wasn’t, and rather than banning him, you should have just ignored him after you had answered his questions (you did indeed do that in the initial exchange). Were he to decide that he wanted to continue discussing the matter with only himself on FB, he only would have continued making himself look bad.

        Instead, you accused him of harassment, deleted the post (your insistence that you were trying to do him some kind of favor by deleting it is as disingenuous as any of his claims), deleted the post, and then chose to “escalate” the matter here.

        You had the option to rise above the fray and instead chose to dive into the mud with him…probably exactly what he wanted given his obvious frustration with SEOMoz and his ulterior link building motives.

        George Bernard Shaw wasn’t addressing social media, but boy can it be applied here:

        “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

        Frankly, Dennis was obnoxious, but with a purpose (questionable as that purpose may have been). But your knee-jerk reaction contributed to (and perhaps even caused most of) the controversy.

        Lastly, Dennis’ claim that this is somehow a “cultural” thing is disconcerting on so many levels. Race, culture, or religion had absolutely nothing to do with this; and if he wants to apply a “cultural” component to this absurdity then he should probably recognize how many remaining elements of the dialogue bucked the norms of traditional “Asian” culture. He doesn’t get it both ways!

        He’s a bit of a tool and you let him get the better of you…

        That’s my $.02.

  14. Dennis was clearly trying to provoke a response. There are key phrases in his posts indicating as much “Let’s see if they can help or if they dodge” and his resistance to taking the conversation offline when asked to do so.

    I think the only way this situation could have been handled better would be to have ceased responding to him publicly after requesting to take the conversation offline. If he continues the tread after an official moderator has requested to take the conversation offline let the community take care of his lack of professionalism if he continues to post. Trust your community as a whole when one person lets you down.

  15. I almost wonder if this whole thing was an attempt to get some influential ppl to tweet to him and possibly even link. It’s like a small version of Kris Roadruck’s white hat seo f$@&’n sucks.

  16. Mina has it dead on. The only other thing I would add is that writing a blog about just made it even worse.

    Sure, it was a noob mistake and you will learn from it.

    I will say this though…

    You might want to delete this blog post.

    You’re making yourself look bad.

    1. Thanks for the feedback Ditto, this is a recollection of what happened. Whether it makes me look bad or not isn’t the point. This is what happened. End point.

    1. Thanks Rebecca, don’t worry, I don’t let this stuff get to me. :)

  17. Thanks for all the comments everyone. The point of this post was to get the information out there, not claim I did the right or wrong thing. I appreciate the feedback!

  18. Hi Jen,

    You’ve done a great job, but obviously Dennis had/has a private agenda here and won’t let this drop. Is an unfortunate side affect of the communication freedom the Internet offers us all – some people will always abuse such freedoms for personal gain.

    His statement “Asians are sensitive to saving face”, is obviously not applicable in Dennis case – otherwise he would have dropped this rant much earlier.

    Have a great weekend, you deserve it

  19. Dennis was just trying to be a turd. This was a huge waste of everyone’s time. Great job Jen.

  20. I think it was the right decision for you to delete the post at FB because it is your wall and you play according to your rules. We are guests in your home, not the other way round.
    You guys at seomoz tried to handle this linkbuilder but there was nothing to handle. He was not going to stop until he got the link.
    Maybe there was even a bet going on…
    I hope you guys go on handling things like that the way you did (personally and like real humans! :-)) and don’t change because there are trolls out there who saw too many Clint Eastwood movies.

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