Saturday, July 12, 2008

Spam, spam, spam

Lately it seems like 1/3 of my new followers are spammers.  You know who they are.  Usually they have some strange number at the end of their name, like Stella214, Sarah717 or MikeGravel832. (Sorry, I usually include links to twitter accounts, but due to the subject, I don’t want to provide any traffic).  Other than a weird name, how can you identify a spammer? Usually you can tell from the following signs:

·        They do not engage in conversations with anyone (no @warrenss, for example), but just broadcast a single message often multiple times.

·        They usually use false profiles.

·        They often follow thousands of people. 

·        And their following/follower ratio is often highly skewed, they follow at least 5-10X as many people that follow them.

·        Most use the twitter default avatar (no photo).

Their goal is get you to click on the link in their stream or their profile. Now we all are very interested in get rich quick schemes, penile implants, car mileage enhancers, etc. So how could we have survived on twitter without them?? I don’t if there is a bad book out there that they are following, but I am seeing more and more of them.  And now it looks like some companies in their haste to get on twitter are exhibiting the same behavior.

Maybe twitter should take Chris Cardinal’s advice which is similar to how LinkedIn controls spam.  What do you think?