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Three Signs They’re Going to Send You Twitter Spam


Twitter SPAMThe other day, I saw a Twitter follow notification in my email inbox. Looking at the basic information twitter provides – number of followers, tweets and people followed – my intuition started to kick in. Then, looking at this user’s account, I had a hunch.

He was going to auto-DM me.

Sure enough, several hours later this auto-DM hit my email:

Thanks for the follow. I look forward to your updates. Hope you find something fun or interesting.

I figured I’d record here the three traits that tipped me off to the impending Twitter spam.

1. Following/followed by several thousand

This is something you often see. They’re sporting several thousand followers, and they’re often following the same number back. This high number is your first clue (yeah, I’m guilty here). If they’re somewhat new, they’re following several thousand, while only a fraction are following back.

2. Bio has one of the 7 deadly terms

Marketer. Coach. Speaker. Expert. Affiliate marketing. Social media. Multilevel marketing.

See one of these terms in the bio, and the probability of an auto-DM spam just increased 500%. Something about these folks. They got a Twitter lesson along the way that says you need to “engage” your audience on social media. You know, with a personal auto-DM.

3. They followed you, out-of-the-blue

This is the last trait. Somehow, you hit their radar. Not sure how. Maybe it was word you used in a tweet. An @reply exchange with someone they’re following. A search on your bio.

This is the final, most important trait. They have several thousand followers. Their bio has one of the deadly words. And then they find you out of the blue.

You see these three traits, and the probability is high that you’ll be getting that auto-DM in your email a few hours later. Of course, if they do, you can get back at them. Hit ‘em with the “return-DM“.

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About Hutch Carpenter
Senior Consultant for HYPE Innovation (hypeinnovation.com)

10 Responses to Three Signs They’re Going to Send You Twitter Spam

  1. Nigel Dean says:

    Number 3 is dead right.

    As an example, mention Potato in a tweet and wait for @potato_lovers to tell you about ‘After a proper peel any sprouty potatoes make perfect mash, and can be frozen for a quick shepherds pie topping’.

    You should check out his profile, the same Tweet is sent hundreds of times! Amazing fail.

  2. martin says:

    I hear what you are saying but people need to get to about 100 followers to have a chance of building up any momentum. If they’ve found twitter independently then they are unlikley to have the starts of a network. I found it via BT tradesoace which in turn meant I met Nikki Pilkingtonb and in turn I took her tweetmentor course.
    Today I’m advocating (in my #ff blog) to follow the newbies. I did a twitter search on looking for followers. These people might come across as spammers with o avatar, bio and a random follow but without some help what else can they do?

    http://carcaredirect.blogspot.com/2009/07/followfriday-31st-july-newbies.html

  3. TheInfamousJ says:

    I just read the article and it talks about auto-DMs. Don’t you have to follow someone back to get an auto-DM? If you already see the three warning signs, WHY FOLLOW THEM BACK? I really must have missed the reciprocity twitter memo, if there was one.

    • Well, yeah, there is that option TheInfamousJ.

  4. Al says:

    Sounds like sour grapes, this is one of those times people need to relax. If you have a bunch of pointless followers who cares? YOU have the option of not following them back. YOU also have the option to block them and protect your tweets.

    Also one of the points of twitter is following conversations, people will find you for what you say. Are you afraid of what you say? Are you worried what people think? If so Twitter is not the fun web 2.0 thing for you.

    • So if I follow you, are you going to spam DM me?

  5. giedrius says:

    There are couple more good giveaways:
    4. Their (allmost) all posts are through twitterfeed or similar app (they are not there, just publishing content from feed).
    5. No (sane) replies and retweets in their stream.
    6. They mention bill crosby or a way to increase amount of your followers somewhere.
    And by the way, there are pretty good people to follow that would fall into 1st category.

  6. When I created a post on my blog, I Twitter-search the keywords. Then it might seem I follow people out of the blue while that is not true. Just checking.

  7. zarchasmpgmr says:

    In #2, I know you’re playing off of sins there. But there are certainly more than 7.

    “Search engine optimization” or SEO is definitely one of those. Somehow, they think that everyone on Twitter has something to sell on the Internet and they can help. Er, not I.

  8. Alan Weiss says:

    Exactly on target. I’ve found most people with thousands of followers have a vested interest in making money from people on social platforms. Most have never done much EXCEPT advise people on how to use social platform! It’s like taking skiing lessons from someone who has never seen snow. Or like the Ponzi scheme of “multi-level marketing.”

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