Twitter Spam - Following the Dollars

We love Twitter here at DriveBuy! So much so that we integrated our software with the Twitter api. It lets our customers post listings directly to Twitter with a SmartLink that's mobile friendly. Very useful and the search engines love it.

When we were considering building the integration there was a healthy debate about whether or not posting property listings to Twitter was considered SPAM. In the end we concluded that if one of our customers wants to post to their account then it's not Spam. We did forgo any automation that would be ripe for misuse and limited posts to a user's timeline rather than as replies or direct messages.

Which brings us to the crux of a hot topic on twitter lately, SPAM!

Everyone at DriveBuy uses Twitter daily and we all have gotten sick of the SPAM ourselves. You know, "free laptop!", "I'm getting rich with google!", "I'm the world's greatest SEO expert!" Many with similar tag lines in their profile or tweets are fairly obvious. They follow 1500 people but only managed to attract 12 followers. They're obviously spammer/scammers. However, there are the less obvious spammers. They post little of value but might have a pretty awesome follower/following ratio. Question is, how do they do it?

It seems, much like Dell did with customer service, the spammers are outsourcing big time. Recently I was perusing a freelancer site and noticed a disturbing pattern. Here's a perfect example:

I need someone to get me more followers.

I want people mainly based in the USA and the UK. Ideally they are looking to buy a property in France.

I need 5000 followers, Keep my account to under 200 people I am following.

Please quote for getting 5000 more followers.

Here's another:

03/07/2009 at 14:13 EST:
Your current project description is...

I need someone to get me more followers.

I want mlm, home based business, internet marketing followers.

I need 6000 followers, Keep my account to under 200 people I am following.

Please quote for getting 6000 more followers.

Bids on the project above are between $250 and $1000. Each of them has multiple bids.

There are many similar project proposals for Facebook also like this beauty:

We need 5k Facebook friends
Hello we need 5k facebook frieds in 4 weeks.

You can find similar proposals to build LinkedIn accounts as well.

We just wanted folks to have an idea of where all the noise is coming from.

We follow lots of folks involved in all facets of Real Estate and Advertising in general. We've shied away from automating DMs and follow-backs though. When someone follows DriveBuy we look at their tweets and make a judgment call. Yes, a real person actually does this. It's not the most efficient way to build the biggest network the fastest, but the network is real.

Will their content scrolling across our screens makes sense?

Here's our relevancy checklist:

  1. Is it a real person or is there a real person behind the alias? Profile has website link and/or location.

  2. Are they active? Have their been any tweets in the last month? Do they actually interact (@reply) with their followers?

  3. Is their content relevant to DriveBuy?

There are lots of folks we follow that don't really meet requirement 3, but that's ok. 1 and 2 are golden.


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