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Paying for attention

Posted on 25th Aug 2009 at 10:02 by Richard Swinburne with 4 comments

Richard Swinburne
This unsolicited email dropped in my inbox the other day. I get thrown on quite a few PR lists without my prior consent, that's just the way it is, but reading into it a bit more I wonder: does social networking really matter?

We've starred out the names because we don't want to give this rotten spammer publicity - essentially, he runs a service that purports to allow people to buy Twitter followers.

Contact: Leon XXXXXX
CEO – XXXXXX.net
http://XXXXXX.net/
contact@ XXXXXX.net
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TWITTER ATTEMPTS TO SHUT DOWN XXXXXX

Twitter has recently moved to shut down web promotions company XXXXXX.net, by claiming the advertising agency is “spamming”.

According to XXXXXX CEO Leon XXXXXX, Twitter recently sent accusations via a brand-management organisation that XXXXXX are using Twitter for spam purposes. Despite this, XXXXXX say the claims are false.

“The definition of spam is using electronic messaging to send unsolicited communication and as we don’t use Twitter for this, the claims are false.” Said XXXXXX.

XXXXXX believe the claims are due to a service the company sells which allows clients to purchase packages of followers to increase their viewership on the site.

“The people at Twitter who are sending these claims are just flailing around trying to look for any excuse they can, though it’s going to take much more than this if they want us to pack up shop.” Said XXXXXX. “We’re not going away that easily.”


Despite the fact that this guy clearly doesn't understand that Twitter can do what the hell it wants with its free service he's abusing for personal gain (does he pay them a penny? I think not), it makes me wonder if anyone believes the claim that more followers = more money.

How does this service guarantee followers? Bots? Without creating genuine interest in a product I find it extremely hard to believe that people will willingly follow a Twitter account they haven't a specific and focused interest in.

If anything, sites such as Twitter, which facilitate easy communication and sharing of information will help people to be more informed and be less tolerant of spam and tone deaf corporate messaging.

If companies want followers on Twitter, they're not going to be get that by simply having a Twitter account that blasts out boring press releases. They'e going to need to really engage with their customers and with the wider Twitter community.

The real way for companies to get traffic on Twitter (or anywhere else on the Internet, for that matter) will be when they're open, inclusive, and honest and engage in a real dialogue with people. The sooner companies learn this the better we'll all be.

4 Comments

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kenco_uk 25th August 2009, 10:21 Quote
On Radio2 this morning coming into work, there was a tidbit on how Ant and Dec were hosting a show in the US and that they were pleasantly surprised by how the audience had taken to them so quickly. Then they were told it was amazing what you could get for $15/hour.
Dreaming 26th August 2009, 23:50 Quote
I've got a greasemonkey script somewhere or something that lets you create loads and loads of twitter accounts quickly, as they dont require email authentication. Only thing you need to do is the captchya. I guess thats what he's doing.
leslie 6th September 2009, 01:22 Quote
It doesn't matter what the "CEO" thinks.

It only matters who he can convince to pay him. How many still fall for the emails saying they can put you at the top of Google search overnight or add 3inches your um... thing.

It doesn't even matter if it lasts a long time, he will get his quick cash, and when it starts failing he will move on to the next "big thing". Even if they offer a money back guarantee, most will not bother trying to get their money back. If you are too lazy to search and research before hiring, you are also too lazy to bother asking for your money back.
Elton 6th September 2009, 01:23 Quote
Sadly Quick cash is what most people are about now. No longer do we have people who want to have a long lasting company if they can make $500k within a month.
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