You’ve Been TweeSpamed: How To Recognize the Scammers on Twitter

UPDATE 8-20-09: The cost for unfollowing lots of spammers with Twitblock is they will un-spam-follow you back. I lost 50 followers today, almost my worst day in Twistory. Man the next 100 is gonna be tough. More and more spammers showing up every day. I’m… just… so… dang… tired of TweeSpammers.

UPDATE 8-19-09: I just found a new tool that is going to make this process A LOT MORE FUN.  Check out TwitBlock.org. You can find your own rating and then analyze your account for hangers on and BLOCK the TweePunks and ScamTweeters. [Thanks to @LPT and @cc_chapman for this TwitterTool!]

Everyone is new on Twitter. Everything changes and everything stays the same.

On thing that doesn’t change is the flood of scammer twitter artists leaching on to your account. Here’s what they look like and here’s what they do.

This is a collection of TwitterSpammers I BLOCKED from following me today:

Picture 25

Notice the last tweet was 2 days ago! For a tweeting tips service, you’d think they’d update at least hourly if not daily. Maybe they just don’t have many good ideas yet. Notice the tweet is also nothing but a quote. [NOTE: QuoteSpam is alive and well on Twitter as well. After a while you tire of the people who think it is a good use of their time to cut and paste famous quotes into their Tweetstream. Well, it DOES up their tweet count, but the value of an Einstein quote to my daily interests is quite low. And if the quote is from Oprah… well, I think she stopped tweeting a while back.]

Picture 24

Let’s see two biggies: 1. no avatar; 2. random letters for name. Only tweet starts with “Make Money…” If someone would build an app that immediately unfollows and reports all tweets that begin with “Make Money…”

Picture 23

Bad Twitter ID. Contains “f” and “_” to snag a real sounding name. But there’s that first tweet again, with these magic words “internet marketers.” And she’s got “make money” in there too. Poor woman in the picture is probably a real estate agent and has nothing to do with this account. And lastly the last tweet was 21 hours ago. [Hey Twitter, could you give us a way to filter followers by “last tweeted?”]

Picture 22

And the “making money” with “sexy torso” approach. This one adds “get paid” as a nice come on. So let’s see, we’ve got SEX, HEALTH and MAKE MONEY. It’s the San Diego address that really sets off the alarm bells though… (just kidding on that one)

So there are two reasons these type of scammers join Twitter and follow everyone.

1. Just like spam, they believe that they can drive traffic to that “make money” or “teeth whitening” or “get out of debt now” link if you just click on it.

2. And they follow you in hopes that you will follow them back. [There’s a funny consequence of Mr. 50k and his auto-follow auto-bot tool. He follows all the pornsters too. And he’s SOOOO busy he doesn’t even have time to look over his follower list.] And even if you don’t follow them back, and I would suggest you don’t unless you want a lot of their friends dropping by, they are hoping that visitors looking over your “followers” list and see their ID.

You can report these abusive accounts by forwarding the tweet onto the @spam account. Apparently someone at Twitter takes that responsibility seriously.

But please do BLOCK the scammers and save others from accidentally following them when they look over your stream of “followers.” It may take you a bit longer to get to 100 or 1,000 followers if you are editing and blocking the scammers, but it goes with the territory. And until Twitter adds a BLOCK and REPORT AS SPAM function we’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way. One follower at a time.

UPDATE 8-15-09: I think my very mention of MLM in my post about TweeSpammers got me a lot of MLM related crappo followers. I woke up this morning with this smiling face along with about 15 new scammers trailing my tweets.

Picture 27

In discussions with @michaelpearsun last night we were wondering, if Twitter and Co. are touting their phenomenal growth curve, what would be their incentive to block people from creating multiple and bogus accounts? To Twitter’s stats it’s merely another user. As Michael said, “If you have 28 million users with a lot of spammers vs. 2 million users of very clean users the proposition is very different.” So Twitter says, “Gosh look at our amazing growth. Yes, we know there are some people gaming the system, but look at the growth rate on our monthly page views.”

And did you notice that to “manage” your twitter account you are forced to weed through users 20 IDs at a time. Now I’m thinking there are much better and more efficient ways of managing my users, BUT… for Twitter it’s a ton of page views every time I go in, even just to clean out the spammers, Twitter racks up the stats. And what can we do about it, but comply and complain. Or not complain at all.

I prefer at least giving a little bit of feedback. (grin)

@jmacofearth
permalink: http://bit.ly/twitter-spammed

See also The Twitter Way, the collected posts about Twitter and Doing Twitter Right

A funny post from Mashable on the Top 25 most spammy Twitter Avatar images.

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