It was time to act when an email appeared titled “making money w/mlm is now following you on Twitter!”
That’s one follower I certainly won’t follow back. This spammer did little to hide his or her intent, other Twitter spam merchants are more stealthy.
I weed them out this way:
How to spot a dodgy Twitter account
- Giveaway names
‘Making money w/mlm’ is a dead giveaway. Names are slightly more obtuse or lyrical and yes, spammers hide behind real-sounding names
- Glamorous photographs
Let’s face it, attractive young blond women who look vaguely like supermodels or Playboy pin-ups are unlikely followers. Of course there are good-looking people among my genuine followers, but spammers use over-glamorous photographs as a lure.
- Number following
Nobody, but nobody, has 3000 friends. So people who are following large numbers of Twitter accounts are automatically suspect. The exception to this rule are people in roles such as tech support.
- Following follower ratio
Someone who follows many people but only has a few followers in return is automatically suspect. You can find tools to help automate the process of purging these from your follower list.
I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but I don’t know anyone in India or the Philippines. Of course that doesn’t make everyone from those places a spammer.
If the bio includes a phrase like “Entrepreneurial marketing leader – passionate about brands marketing technology” the person behind it is almost certainly a spammer. Incidentally this bio is a real one from someone who followed me yesterday.
Web links with terms like erasedebt.com richness.com and so on are dead giveaways.
If a new follower arrives and I can tick the boxes on more than two of these bullet points, I’m going to block them.
Can you think of any warning signs I may have missed?
Update: if you haven’t seen Twitter spam, this explains it: Something’s Going Down @Twitter