Twitter Spam Doesn’t Work

SIERRA MADRE, CA - MAY 29:  Seventieth anniver...I’ve never really understood the mindset behind spamming. I get why it works, but it still boggles my mind that people do it. Especially in new forums like Twitter.

There’s a big difference between media like email, where spammers can push their messages out to millions of people and let sheer numbers do their work, and Twitter, where you need people to opt-in to your posts and where they can answer back.

Still, we’re still seeing people try to use old-school spam tactics to ‘game’ Twitter. This weekend I saw one of the more low-level attempts so far – someone who created a Twitter account just for the purpose of taking advantage of the Mumbai terrorist attacks to drive traffic to his site (a big tip of the hat to via Jennifer Leggio, aka mediaphyter).

New user @seanzyville took advantage of the #mumbai hashtag to spam messages promoting a CRM demo from Web Solutions.

Seanzyville spams Twitter

Not surprisingly, the Twitter community didn’t take too kindly to someone using the Mumbai tragedy to spam them:

As the last message notes, the spammer clearly got cold feet shortly thereafter and has now deleted the offending updates.

Lessons learned?

To take something positive away from this episode, there are a few clear lessons that I hope “seanzyville” has learned from this:

  1. Twitter is two-way – People will react negatively, publicly, if you try to spam conversational media like Twitter.
  2. You’re findable online – For example, I now know seanzyville’s email address, his Flickr account and YouTube account (which I won’t link to – NSFW).
  3. Your online brand is fragile – just as it takes a long time to build trust and just a few seconds to destroy it, your online reputation can be ruined quickly. Seanzyville’s name is now severely damaged online.

What other lessons would you suggest?

(Image credit: Spam image from Getty Images, first Twitter image by Jennifer Leggio)

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.