I caught a friend talking to a spambot the other day. Several, actually. It’s sad that these bots have gotten so intelligent (if you can say that) that they can easily fool people with their promise of replies, retweets and followings. Because of this, I think we all need a rehashing of signs that the user you’re talking to isn’t a user:
- The Tweet/reply consists of a link only – Self-explanatory. If all the Reply includes is a link, (ESPECIALLY if it’s a Bit.ly) with no explanation, it’s a bot.
- Picture of a beautiful person – Many Twitter bots will scrape pics of people all across the Internet and post them as their avatars in order to entice people to look at what they say…trick them with dazzling beauty.
- The reply contradicts your Tweets – Remember my Law of Attraction Tweet experiment? Well, the way I started noticing this was when I bitched about the LoA. Then I’d get comments from spambots about it. Since they clearly did not note the content of the tweet, I quickly deduced they were crap.
- The posts are all the same thing - Click on the bot in question. If every one of its tweets is the same thing (wording can be different,) it’s a bot. Look for something like this:
- [Hey OR Hello OR Yo OR Howdy]! Check this [Excellent OR Awesome OR Cool OR Kickass] link I found on this site: [SUSPICIOUS BIT.LY LINK HERE]
- The user has no tweets – This is typically the sign of a bot-to-be. Eliminate.
- Check the username – Lately, I’ve noticed that I can tell whether a username belongs to a spambot by the way it looks: It has a first name initial, the full last name, and two random characters, like this: JDabbagianft or “JFaganwe” or “MWrightre.” This is usually in conjunction with one of the above signs as well.
- The username doesn’t match the real name – Obviously, if Twitter “user” JSmith’s “real name” is "John Harrington,” it doesn’t match up.
- The timeline is 100% retweets – Some bots follow you and include a retweet of something you said. Unfortunately, they also retweet a bunch of other things as well, eliminating any real benefit.
- The reply is narrow-minded – What I mean by this is that you make one small mention of something in a Tweet. For me, it was Walmart. All of a sudden, you get a reply from an unknown telling you about a great Walmart discount site or something like that. Kill.
What you can do
Report any bots that spam you.It may seem insurmountable, but if every Twitter user reported one spambot a day, there would be a shitload less spam on Twitter. All it takes is 2 click to block and report. Call it your daily twitter service. You can use the #dailytwitterservice hashtag to advertise this idea if you’re interested.
- How do you feel about spambots? Are they frustrating to deal with or just annoying?