Tuesday, December 23, 2008

5 Ways to be a Better Twitter Spammer

Ever notice that spam has a way of making its way into any new medium, particularly after that medium starts to hit critical mass. Sadly, microblogging tool/service, Twitter, is now experiencing the joy of "get rich" or "get women" messages from people we don't know and don't care to know. Rather than complain, I'm going to try and fix it. How? I'm going to tell the spammers how they can do their job better. Plus, I promised Peter Kim that I'd do this post as he's tired of the same old "he same asian girl01 showing me how to make $4k monthly" tweets.

So listen up all you Twitter spammers because here are five ways you can be more succesful getting your message out to the masses:
  1. STOP putting numbers at the end of your twitter handles. The second you do that, there's at least a 98% chance that you're a spammer and that I'm not even going to look at your profile nevermind follow you. I know it's easier to write a program that takes a name and adds new digits onto it but technology has evolved to the point where you could get more clever. For instance, run a query against the list of top names in the Social Security database and add it to common last names like Smith, Johnson and Williams. That's good for at least several thousand new accounts right there.
  2. When you spam people, put a few real tweets in between your spammy "Just Posted: Getting a Girl - Getting The Girls + SPAM URL" tweet (thanks to spammer @datingschool for the example). For instance, a few "watching the latest episode of The Office" or "just downloaded the latest Coldplay album" would help add a little credibility to your account.
  3. As a follow on to tip number 2, try @-ing a few folks, even if they're fake accounts. I can tell in about 1 second that either a) you're a spammer or b) you don't know how to use Twitter if I scan your tweets and none of them are directed toward anyone.
  4. STOP using the picture of the hot girl as your avatar. While I appreciate the asthetics of an attractive woman when I click on your profile link, I am immediately skeptical of any account where the picture is of model-esque, scantily clad young woman. Try picture of a 35 year old guy once in a while. Or a slightly overweight woman. It's all about being authentic!
  5. Work a little harder on your follower/followee ratio. When I see that you're following 1,723 people and are being followed back by 36, it's pretty easy to tell that you're a spammer. While I know it will take longer to build a more respectible ratio, it will be worth it to get people to read your message.
How many spammers do you think will read this post? Probably zero. But it was worth a shot. Am I missing any good tips or tricks that you can think of that would help our spammer friends?


  1. Very good advice for all those spammers - too bad some non-spammy Twitter accounts should follow the same advice.

    My other thing is, I'm always skeptical of people who do the auto follow DMs. If you don't have time to reply, don't reply. Not having time to reply to someone when they add you makes you seem more real to me (I don't have time to do it, and I'm real!)

  2. Tiffany - thank you for catching my "probably too subtle" hint that there are a number of non-spammers who could benefit from the advice above. Regarding the auto-DM comment, I could write a whole post about how annoying that is (I've considered adopting a "you auto-DM me and I auto-unfollow you" policy but haven't become that Draconian yet). Unfortunately, that is one that isn't unique to spammers.


  3. I'd advise them to look for accounts with a high follower/followee ratio, hot-girl avatars, and numbers at the end of the handle. Follow those accounts and dm them incessantly with your offers. Those accounts are in desperate need of wealth coaches, refinances, and herbal enlargement.

  4. Very nice.

    The tactics may be evolving - I got a follow yesterday morning from someone who's bio read: "Just a granny sitting on the beach" or something like that. And the website was a tinyurl that redirected to a porn site.

  5. @rsomers @peterkim you guys just gave me my "chuckle of the day!" Well played.

  6. As Twitter becomes more mainstream, spammers and brands are joining in droves. So this is great advice not only for spammers, but also for the brands that don't really get it either. And honestly, I hope the spammers don't follow your advice because that will make them harder to find and evade.

  7. Aaron:

    Nice post. I don't mind the auto-follow DM's unless they have a web link in them.

    Best auto-follow DM I ever got said "thanks for following me - I'll try not to be boring"


  8. I don't think these guys read your post, http://twitter.com/NoMoreDebt.

  9. This is a great post Aaron. My worry is that I think there are so many of the in-between accounts (not complete hopeless spammers, but spammers/salespeople none-the-less). These are the accounts that are on the rise too--already adopting some of your hints above, just to "seem" authentic. Maybe we should pick an even more disciplined "top 5 better ways to Twitter" for them as well:-)

    Always enjoy your posts!