What do I mean by “twitter-bots”?

That’s simple enough.  This is something that a lot of people use in an attempt to both gain followers and to market whatever it is that they sell.

The “bot” part of it is any of dozens of programs that search the “twitterverse” for certain keywords in people’s tweets and then automatically follows the people that use those keywords in their tweets.

The idea is that a lot of people will follow anyone that follows them.  This puts them in a position to see all of the various marketing tweets that the person controlling the bot sends.

I have seen this tactic used by everything from Internet Marketing “guru’s” to lawyers and even dentists.

For example recently I had a few exchanges on twitter with a friend in which we were talking about teeth and dental problems.  Within an hour I was auto-followed by a guy promoting dental implants.  Earlier I was talking about money and was followed soon after by somebody selling some kind of investment banking thing.

The day before that I said something about coffee and was followed by somebody selling coffee preparations niche site articles.

You can always tell a “Twitter spammer”.  All you have to do is when somebody follows you go check their twitter page.  Telltale signs of them being a spammer include:

1. They’re following hundreds, even thousands of people and only have a comparatively few people following them.

2. They have a very low number of tweets, possibly even no tweets.

3. If they do have tweets, they are all almost the same, promoting something that they’re trying to make money from and no ordinary “real” tweets at all.

Then there’s the ones that will reply to one of your tweets (again based on a bot detecting your use of certain keywords they’re looking for) and try to sell you something or get you to go to some page that will try to sell you something.

For this last group I have a standard procedure.  I use the option to block them and report them for spamming. No exceptions.

I’ll admit that I don’t have a heck of a lot of followers.  Right now I’ve got 156, probably about ten or twenty of which I even know who they are.  Since the number has been fairly steady in the last few months at around 150-155 or so I figure that probably most of them actually want to see my updates.  (the bot-users unfollow you in a day or two if you don’t follow them back)

It would be great to see my number of followers go up but I want people to follow me because they want to see my updates, NOT because they want me to follow them back.  Sometimes I will do this depending on who it is but usually no, I’m not gonna do that.  I’m getting a flood of updates now as it is that is difficult to keep up with.

Technorati Tags: twitter bots, twitter-bot, spam, sales, bots, block, marketers, auto-follow, report as spam, auto follow, twitter spam, twitter, marketing, followers, spammers, autofollow

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