Thursday, 3 September 2009

Shooting Stars Twitter Spam highlights a growing issue

Last night the BBC screened a new episode of off-the-wall quiz show 'Shooting Stars.' This programme clearly appeals to UK Twitter users as the term 'Shooting Stars' quickly became a trending topic on Twitter.

Non-UK Twitter users were bemused as to what the term referenced but this didn't stop the Twitter spammers getting involved with it. The theory being that Twitter users will investigate Twitter Trending topics, so spamming by tagging tweets with the trending phrase therefore has the potential to drive free traffic - with Twitter spammers tending to tweet the same thing over and over again. (Furniture retailer Habitat caused a firestorm when they used Iran election related trending topics in tweets to highlight their new catalogue, however spamming Twitter is still widely seen from other users.)

Last night Twitter spammers piggybacked the term 'Shooting Stars' to try to drive traffic to a number of different sites:

Shooting Stars Twitter spam - 'free cash' (click for larger image)

Shooting Stars Twitter spam - 'free iphone'

Shooting Stars Twitter spam - promoting links (click for larger image)

Even an electrician in Scotland joined in - using a variety of different terms that were trending!

Shooting Stars Twitter spam - Scottish electrician!

Twitter Spam is irritating and devalues the worth of Twitter Search and trending topics. It also reduces the value of Twitter data because unless the Twitter Listening tool you are using can filter out spam, then results have the potential to be skewed and unrepresentative. Having the wrong information is worse than having no information......

Twitter please sort this out!

Follow me on Twitter @nickburcher

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1 comment:

Dan said...

Absolutely - I find that as soon as a topic appears in the trending topics line on the right hand side it becomes overwhelmed with spam, so you can't actually find out what the story is behind the topic.

Twitter's growing pains, I fear...