Advertising is to make money. And, as we’ve all seen in the onslaught of paper in snail mail boxes and the email jam in Internet spam filters, there is a vast army of people and companies out there advertising their products, advertising FOR someone with products to sell and even advertising advertising. Some are now using automated tools to advertise automated Twitter spamming agents — on Twitter.
The first thing to notice in this ad deluge: some of the trolls for getting more Twitter followers will take you to malicious sites – a phishing operation by the looks of this one:
We checked out one of the grayware sales campaigns on Twitter and tested a software agent that claims to be able boost your Twitter following. It appeared to be legal, assuming they don’t misuse your credit card data or steal your Twitter login.
Its flaw, however, is that its entire method seems to be based on the shaky premise that if you subscribe to a huge number of Twitter accounts that have tweeted something similar to your interests, then they will subscribe to YOUR Twitter feed. And then you can spam them to oblivion.
I’m not sure anybody thought this one through. Assuming it works, as the number of spamming agents builds, eventually the bulk of Twitter traffic is going to come from automated agents spamming each other.
Getting more followers INSTANTLY seems a bit of a stretch. TweetAdder didn’t attract any new followers in 24 hours in our test.
It has an attractive graphic interface, although it’s far from intuitive. If you have the patience to read through the 10 mb pdf help file it becomes apparent that TweetAdder automates all the things you can do on Twitter, starting with a key-word search for tweets containing search terms you select, and ending with a mechanism to schedule automated tweets that you can send out as frequently as one per minute. And, of course, it IS for sale:
There is line in the Tweet Adder End User Licensing Agreement that seems to be a tip off about their confidence in their own product:
“If you dispute a charge to your credit card issuer or take any action that results in a payment being reversed that, in our sole discretion is a valid charge under the provisions of the TOS, you agree to pay us an Administrative Fee” of $100.“
If you dispute the original credit card charge and they charge you another $100, I wonder why they think you’re not going to contest that too.
As we said, some people make money advertising advertising and that now includes selling the tools you can use to clog Twitter and advertise the Twitter Fail Whale, who seems to be in great evidence around the middle of every day in the Eastern Standard time zone.
Twitter has a place to get information on fighting spam: http://twitter.com/SPAM
It has 234,760 followers.
Twitter’s page “How to Report Spam on Twitter” here.