Our real user experience indicates that, if we compare the marketing power of Sina Weibo against Tencent Weibo (assuming the same number of followers and similar content), Sina Weibo can usually get more social attention (measured by number of reads) than Tencent Weibo. This may explain why many people still prefer using Sina over Tencent for their weibo marketing campaigns.
However, if you had ever tried using Sina Weibo, you would find that there is a very bad problem for this service: Sina may Suddenly Freeze or Even Ban Your Account Without Notice! And, it seems that normally the system will never unfreeze your account on its own unless you can manually follow all steps required by Sina to reactivate your account.
Normal unfreezing step is by receiving a SMS verification code via your mobile phone. However, this step only accepts receiving SMS verification code via a valid mainland China mobile phone number (11 digits). The problem is: How can it possible for overseas account holders to get a valid mainland China mobile phone number in order to unfreeze their accounts?
This is how a frozen Sina Weibo account looks like. Account owner (and also his Weibo readers) can no longer access or read any content of this frozen account. The system only tells that this account status is abnormal, and requests the account owner to enter a valid mainland China mobile phone number (11 digits) in order to enhance account security level. After entering a valid Chinese mobile phone number, the system will send a SMS message with a verification code (6 digits) to this mobile phone. The SMS message will also tell you that this 6-digit code is valid for 20 minutes only and is just for one time verification purpose. Upon entering this 6-digit SMS verification code correctly, the system will prompt you with a 'We are Sorry For Any Inconvenience' message and you can then access your account again.
However, as we mentioned earlier, no mobile phone number outside mainland China (including any Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan phone numbers) can be accepted for this SMS verification process. That is why most international users find it difficult to reactivate their weibo accounts after being accidentally frozen or banned. Even domestic users in mainland China find it annoying or do not like this because it does raise some privacy concerns.
In China, requesting mobile phone number SMS verification is more or less similar to enforcing the controversial real-name registration policy. However, it seems more and more famous online websites in China are now requesting user real-name registration for fighting against possible scams. Some obvious examples are WeChat Open Platform and Alipay Payment System run by Tencent and Alibaba respectively.
Tutorial: How to Unfreeze Your Sina Weibo Account
Good news is that you still have some other ways to unfreeze your Sina Weibo account instead of receiving SMS verification message via mobile phone on your own. Here are the 4 possible methods you may consider to use:
Method #1: Contact Sina by Email.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org directly via your registered email address. Your email message should contain the following account details:
(a) Your Sina Weibo URL;
(b) Nickname of your Sina Weibo account;
(c) The first three characters of your Sina Weibo account password.
Remark: Remember to write in Simplified Chinese, and do not expect these Chinese customer service staff can understand any English.
We also know that some people might have successfully contacted via other alternative Sina email addresses such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org in the past. You may also try them if you find necessary.
Method #2: Use Sina Online Help.
Visit weibo online help page at http://help.sina.com.cn/help/12.html. Fill-in details of your request (make sure you write in Simplified Chinese). Suggest to include also all account details mentioned in method #1. Leave your contact email address there and wait for reply.
Method #3: Talk to Sina Customer Service Directly.
Dial Sina Weibo hotline: 4000-960960, 4006-900000, or 010-82623378 (all start with country code +86 for international calls to mainland china) and speak to customer service staff there directly. Make sure you can speak reasonable Mandarin that normal Chinese can understand.
Method #4: Get Help From Chinese People
If you have any mainland Chinese friend(s), you may try getting help from him directly. This is perhaps the quickest method you may consider if you want recovering your account urgently. Remember to tell him honestly the real purpose of using his mobile phone number. Let him know comfortably that it will be used for one-time SMS verification purpose only and is not for permanent bonding with your Sina Weibo account. Never try to use his mobile phone number for other account usage or spamming purposes.
Although this is really a shortcut method, the bottom line is that your mainland Chinese friend(s) must trust you first. Nevertheless, there is no need worrying about it too much. There are still people willing to help because SMS verification is not something uncommon in mainland China. However, since the SMS verification code is valid for 20 minutes only, your Chinese friend(s) must be able to return you this 6-digit SMS verification code promptly before expiration for working this out.
The above are 4 possible tips that can help unfreezing your Sina Weibo account. Do enjoy micro-blogging in mainland China and do not try to abuse it. After all, it is a valuable asset for marketing any Chinese-related business and is good especially for bloggers who prefer writing short promotional sentences. With additional social networking functions, sometimes it can be even more effective than normal blogging (such as this blog) and hence no one really wants to get banned for any reason.