Monday, August 10, 2009

@luveall2009, @LilAicha87, mentionspam, and #iwt hijacking

I am not a high-traffic or high-popularity Twitter user, but I do check my Twitter mentions upon occasion. Sometimes the mentions are personal messages, for which I am grateful. Sometimes the mentions are #followfriday mentions, for which I am grateful. But two recent items showed up in my mentions stream that were a whole different matter altogether.

Before talking about the items, it may be helpful to review what mentions are. Initially, Twitter did not formally support mentions or replies, but some Twitter users adapted some formatting from IRC and related services and began addressing people directly through tweets. So, for example, if I wanted to send a tweet to Robert Scoble, I would include his Twitter handle (scobleizer) in the tweet, preceded by the "@" character. For example, I just tweeted this:

@Scobleizer Facebook acquires FriendFeed? I'll mull on the ramifications of that...

I literally saw Robert's tweet just as I was getting ready to compose this post...but I'll return to FaceFeed later.

Twitter ended up adding support for @replies, or items in which @username appeared at the beginning of the tweet. Twitter subsequently expanded this to include all @mentions, or items in which @username appeared anywhere in the tweet. This latter expansion aided in disseminating #followfriday tweets such as this one - and again, I'm thankful for the #followfriday mentions and the personal messages that I receive through Twitter.

But this August 7 tweet from @luveall2009 was something quite different. It began with the phrase "best affiliate marketing:" followed by a website link, which was then followed by four Twitter names, including my own name @empoprises. But it's not just those four Twitter names; it appears that @luveall2009 is sending out similar messages constantly. And Jim Arnold, for one, is not pleased:

@luveall2009 Please do not mention me in a spam-like tweet such as this ever again.

Of course, two can play this game, as will be shown when the title of this post shows up on Twitter. (Actually, most of the mentions of @luveall2009 are positive, since the tweeter mixes love messages with the affiliate marketing pitch. I guess I'm just not a lover.)

Well, let's move on to the August 8 mentionspam. As I previously mentioned, I was recently on vacation in Illinois and Wisconsin, but chose to obfuscate the fact that I was out of town. So, for example, I tweeted this from Illinois:

yesterday-mcdonalds, costco, walmart, verizon. just an average day. #iwt

This is actually a follow-up to an audio tweet that I published several years ago that noted that no matter where you are in the country, you often find the exact same store selection that you find at home.

OK, so I posted my inside joke...and then @LilAicha87 responded:

@empoprises: yesterday-mcdonalds, costco, walmart, verizon. just an average day. #iwt

Well, that wasn't all that @LilAicha87 posted. Also included was a Twitter account that LilAicha wanted me to follow. I didn't bother to look at the account until I started writing this post, and it turns out that the account tweets 50% repeated mentions of coupons from stores (which I suppose was the so-called justification that @LilAicha87 used to mentionspam me), and 50% repeated mentions of something that looks like a dating service. No thanks, and no thanks. And, like @luveall2009, it appears that @LilAicha87 is sending out repeated mentionspam tweets to promote multiple services. And while some people appreciate @LilAicha87's advertising methods, there are other reactions:

@LilAicha87 huh

And this:

@LilAicha87 who are you?

And this:

@LilAicha87 stop sending ur shit to everybody !!

I have a plea to all social media "experts" - if you're going to market online, please refrain from mentionspamming people you don't know. They may not like it.
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