Twitter Bot Network Invades Social Media for Business: How BotNets Work

Bot Nets can direct thousands of LIKES and FOLLOWS

I was wondering the other day, when I came across a post of mine that was getting hundreds of retweets. Yet when I looked at my statistics the tweets were not generating ANY traffic. Over 200 RT’s of a specific post, with about 10 views total. Something was wrong. (New! Here’s the story of my recent visit by a Twitter bot: Twitter Bot *Brian C* Arrives With a Business Offer that Sounds Too Good to Be True

Why were these tweeters following me, and why were they ReTweeting my post?

What I had not seen before was these Twitter bots masquerading as business accounts. They had human photos, and somewhat unique bios explaining an interest in social media or business marketing. The names usually had a random number associated with them, but that was pretty common. Looking at one of these accounts alone you could not tell it wasn’t legit. But when several accounts begin tweeting the same posts over and over, things get a little a little more obvious about what’s going on.

Okay, so WHY? That was the question that I couldn’t figure out for a while. I mean, porn tweeters are trying to drive traffic to a porn site, and MLM marketers are trying to get you to buy into their business model, but these “bots” were posting seemingly legitimate “business” information.

So when it happened to one of my posts on using YouTube videos as a marketing platform, I looked deeper into what was going on. Here is my hypothesis.

A bot net builds a HUGE network on Twitter and Facebook. Literally, millions of fake accounts that appear to be normal. Then a social marketing firm, either legitimate or connected with the Bot Net, begins selling services to boost a company’s social media presence. And using the bot net the results are stunning. Right on target this social media firm is delivering thousands of follows and likes. Everything seems to work out fine, the social media company is paid for their fine work.

But the problem is similar to what I experienced with the huge ReTweet experience. The massive increase in activity is simply these Twitter-Bots tweeting and retweeting among themselves. There are no new customers because they are not real people. All the stats go up except for sales. And by the time the swindle is figured out the social media firm is paid and gone. They did their job. The “sales” issue must be on your end.

Buyer beware. Know your social media firm. And be suspicious about short-term fan-boosting strategies.

@tweetsmarter made this post a hit

Thanks fo @tweetsmarter for the big rise today

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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