Connect with us

Social Media

Emails selling you Twitter followers is just spam, don’t buy

You’ve learned to ignore “SEO expert” spam, now learn to ignore people selling you social media followers. It’s all spam.

Published

on

fail whale

fail whale

Same stuff, different day

Remember in 2006 or 2007 when you began getting emails from SEO “experts” (not the legitimate experts, mind you) who kindly noticed that you were not number one in Google for your preferred search terms? Remember the thought of “ooh, I want to be at the top of Google,” and the follow up thought that you should respond? Then, do you remember in 2009 when you got this same generic email every day and calls to your phone that promise riches and glory by getting you to number one in Google, and you rolled your eyes as you still do today?

Fast forward to 2012 and the new scheme is to get you to buy followers on Facebook and Twitter. These companies run a script or add you to a list of people that automatically follow back, and for their seconds of effort, you pay an average $0.25 per follower.

If you haven’t gotten the emails yet, you are lucky, but just wait a few weeks, they’re on their way to an inbox near you, and they’re ready to take your money without having anything to back up their claims. Let’s look at one example that I received this week (and keep reading for all of the problems with this email):

All italics are my notes and were not included in the original email:

“Hi Lani (well, she got that right),

Your active presence on twitter, @laniar (okay, that’s right), is ahead of many agents that I work with, nice job (thanks, but I’m not an agent, which is extremely clear from my Twitter bio)! What are you doing to increase your social proof by increasing your follower count? I help agents like you (umm) improve their presence and influence with additional followers. 1,000 new followers which will push your follow count to over 8,540 (good math, but with over 7k followers, do you really think I need to pay you to get me more?)! The more followers you have, the more people will see you as you want them to – an influencer and expert agent, driving sales (super fail, I’m not an agent, but even if I was, if you were an expert, you’d know I’ve been on Twitter since before you had heard of it, ma’am).

You don’t pay until the new followers are delivered in full. Normally $0.40 per follower, right now only less than $0.10 per follower or $95 for 1,000 delivered within 3 days (oh wow, what a deal). If you are interested in more we can discuss. Again, you do not pay until the followers have arrived.

Any questions please let me know. No password information is required – never give out your password to anyone (except for your “app” or team? Thanks for the super obvious security tip, stranger who is soliciting money from me).

I look forward to helping you get the edge over the competition.

Best,

Dina
WNTBA Marketing
Whatever Needs to be Accomplished

Let’s talk about the obvious

First and foremost, I immediately reached out to Dina and asked what her Twitter handle was, since I cannot locate anything on her or her “company” online or on Twitter. Radio silence, of course.

This new scheme does not take into account their target, their target’s needs, nor are they able to prove their own abilities with social media. Google the company name, and you’ll find their website, which is simply the letters “wntba” in the middle of the page with no additional information – no blog, no Twitter, no contact information, no words, just five letters with nothing to click.

When you get these kind of emails, ask for them to prove their own merit. They will not because they cannot. I am considering a rude standardized email response that says “If your Klout beats mine, we’ll talk,” and attach this picture:
klout score

The unsolicited email is spam in my book, and the email address used is not linked to my Twitter account, so through Gmail, it has been marked as spam – just doing my part.

You’ve learned to ignore spam from “SEO experts,” and next on the list is invisible people offering to sell you social media followers, never mind the Terms of Service of each network, and never mind that the quality cannot possibly be high. If you consider buying followers, do they even live in your market or hell, your country? Are they interested in your services? Are they real people? Are they in your target demographic? Are they established Twitter accounts?

Chances are, people like Dina cannot answer your questions sufficiently, because the plan is usually to simply to put you on a #followback list and rake in the dough. I highly recommend building your own network organically, as it is the only proven method for lead generation.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. ScottAllen1

    August 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I totally get what you’re saying, but I’ll also say that, all other things being equal, more followers has advantages over less followers, even if the followers are fakes/bots/auto-follows. It’s easy to sit there from a position of 7K+ loyal real followers, having been on Twitter for…how many years now?… and not feel the plight/frustration of someone who’s just starting out at this.
     
    Having worked with dozens of individuals and businesses who are in this position, I’ve found that “artificial” boosts to follower counts / Facebook likes, etc., boost your visibility to “real” followers, possible customers, etc. Visibility begets visibility.That said, this letter IS spam, and as you pointed out, takes advantage of people’s ignorance. Gaining more Twitter followers is pretty simple:1. Auto-follow people who follow you, using something like SocialOomph.
    2. Include #followback or #teamfollowback in some of your tweets and maybe even your profile.
    3. Join Empire Avenue and run missions for followers/likes/retweets, etc. (I prefer this over just social exchanges because there’s actually more social interaction on it).
    4. Social exchanges like YouLikeHits (there are dozens of others – this is just one of the more reputable/reliable ones).
    5. If you want a cheap, easy boost, look on Fiverr. There you can get 1,000 followers for FIVE dollars vs. $95(!) in this letter.

  2. ScottAllen1

    August 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I totally get what you’re saying, but I’ll also say that, all other things being equal, more followers has advantages over less followers, even if the followers are fakes/bots/auto-follows. It’s easy to sit there from a position of 7K+ loyal real followers, having been on Twitter for…how many years now?… and not feel the plight/frustration of someone who’s just starting out at this.
    Having worked with dozens of individuals and businesses who are in this position, I’ve found that “artificial” boosts to follower counts / Facebook likes, etc., boost your visibility to “real” followers, possible customers, etc. Visibility begets visibility.That said, this letter IS spam, and as you pointed out, takes advantage of people’s ignorance. Gaining more Twitter followers is pretty simple:
     
    1. Auto-follow people who follow you, using something like SocialOomph.
    2. Include #followback or #teamfollowback in some of your tweets and maybe even your profile.
    3. Join Empire Avenue and run missions for followers/likes/retweets, etc. (I prefer this over just social exchanges because there’s actually more social interaction on it).
    4. Social exchanges like YouLikeHits (there are dozens of others – this is just one of the more reputable/reliable ones).
    5. If you want a cheap, easy boost, look on Fiverr. There you can get 1,000 followers for FIVE dollars vs. $95(!) in this letter.
     

    • Tinu

      August 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm

       @ScottAllen1 While it’s true that no one wants to go to a party that no one is at, it doesn’t take thousands of followers to boost a profile artificially. As much as I believe it’s better to slowly and organically grow your Twitter profile, to have the maximum value per follower, and keep your results metrics clean, I *do* get why people do it. But instead of feeding the culture that says more followers are better, shouldn’t we show the proof that real followers are best? Because the reality is, adding dead followers throws any study you’re doing for conversion, engagement, learning about the people who like your brand, etc, WAY off. It’s better to cultivate your following slowly and/or organically, and announce it later, when you have the numbers.
       
      In either case, I personally am against buying followers to inflate numbers – not just because I lean towards being a social media purist.  You don’t know what you’re buying. Not to mention, the price Lani Rosales  quoted is just plain WRONG. That’s an explioitive price. There are plenty of auto-follow lists out there that a person could use to add 100 -1000 Twitter followers if they want to make themselves look more important than that are. AND  those accounts may provide services, rather than cluttering ones stream with things they don’t want to read. So if you need the artificial boost for your ego, there you go. I just don’t see a sound justification for buying them. 

      • ScottAllen1

        August 1, 2012 at 11:54 pm

         @Tinu  Lani Rosales 
        My job…my obligation…to my clients as a consultant is not to take the moral high ground and refuse to feed the culture that says more followers are better. My moral obligation is to provide my clients with the most effective tactics within their budget. If that happens to include “inorganic” means of acquiring followers, likes, etc., I have no problem with that.Now, I don’t lie to them… I make very clear to them what their options are, and what the consequences of those options are.  Also, I’m very clear that this tactic is NOT about impressing people with how many followers you have, but a means of gaining additional real visibility.  Also, my recommendations vary greatly from one situation to the next. I certainly wouldn’t advocate this for everyone, but I’m not going to rule it out if I know it works.BTW, just out of curiosity, I checked on Fiverr, and I found one gig that will get you 22,000 “real-looking” followers for $5, and another one that will get you 500 real human followers for $5, with no auto-follow required. So yeah, $95 is a ridiculously exploitative price. I think we can all agree on that.  🙂 

        • Tinu

          August 2, 2012 at 9:55 am

          @ScottAllen1 @Lani Rosales I didn’t say anything about the moral high ground — I’m talking about results. In tests I’ve performed and observed, artificially inflating accounts doesn’t do any additional good, and in some cases does harm. I’m also not advising you on how to run your business, I’m sure you’ll do what you want. But only hard evidence to the contrary of what I’ve seen is going to convince me that this is a good idea. It’s a matter of logic and testing, not morality. Not to mention that I never said I *morally* disapprove. I simply believe in not having my clients pay me to do them what the facts have shown me is a disservice. You’ve obviously found differently, but I disagree.

    • laniar

      August 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm

       @ScottAllen1 you and I have had this debate over the years, and I stand by my position against buying followers or using scripts to gain followers. I see you still feel the same as you did years ago, and that’s fine, so we can agree to disagree. 🙂 

      • Joe Loomer

        August 2, 2012 at 7:27 am

         @laniar I think the missing point here is there’s more than one approach that works. I don’t (and won’t) pay for followers on any social media platform until I know that it will make me more money. I prefer the hard work approach.  There are, as Scott said, other folks out there without a measure of social media savvy that would prefer to gain that presence through hiring talent.  If they have the resources to do so (and therefore get that time back in their own business day), then more power to them.  I’m just not one of them. 

        • Tinu

          August 2, 2012 at 9:56 am

          @Joe Loomer @laniar Sure there’s more than one approach that works. I just haven’t seen Evidence that this one does.

  3. CaryBlumenfeld

    August 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

    @ChrisHLeader The article you posted about twitter is dead on. I completely agree.

  4. idreamsocial

    August 3, 2012 at 11:16 am

    @ChrisHLeader Exactly, what’s the point in having followers if there not interested in you or what you sell.

  5. joostharmsen

    August 16, 2012 at 6:24 am

    yeah tell me about it.. i don’t know how i got is, but i have a lot of followers on twitter that are spam… do you know how i can stop this? 🙂

  6. Pingback: Narrow: brand spankin' new tool helps grow your Twitter following - The American Genius

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media

Facebook beta features fresh friendly facade you can try out

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook is trying to change it’s image, literally. They already changed their logo, now is time for a new design you can see in the beta.

Published

on

facebook beta

After sixteen years in the game, Facebook is getting a facelift. Facebook has been working on a redesign for quite some time and they’re finally starting to roll out a beta. Facebook is taking the rollout slow, so it looks like just a few users are seeing the redesign and the rest of us will have to wait. Want to be among the first to test out the new look? Here’s how you can, maybe, make it happen.

If you are one of the lucky few who has been selected to beta test, then getting the new design should be simple. When you log into your account (as if you ever log out) a pop up will prompt you to try out the new beta. If this doesn’t happen, and you’re still feeling optimistic, then turn your eye to the upper right-hand corner of your screen and look for a button labeled “See Facebook Beta.” Still no button, but want to keep the hope alive? Click the drop-down arrow in the right-hand corner of your screen and see if the Facebook Beta option appears in the dropdown. Nothing yet? Tough luck, kid. You have not been chosen.

If the new design is available to you, then Facebook will offer to give you a tour of the new system. The fresh UI aims to simplify the user experience by making the page less cluttered and easier to navigate. Icons will be sleeker and brighter and it should be easier than ever to access your Messenger conversations. And if you decide that you kind of hate the new design, no big deal. Users will have the option to switch back to the classic design, at least while the redesign is still in beta.

Platform redesigns are always a contentious topic of conversation for users. Twitter, in particular, has seen some user drama over its redesigns through the years. Sometimes a redesign will knock out your favorite feature or make a shortcut you used to take in a workflow pointless. And, honestly, sometimes people just don’t like change. Whatever side of the coin you’re on, let us know how you feel about Facebook’s new look.

Continue Reading

Social Media

Google takes a shot at competing with TikTok, Pinterest videos

(SOCIAL MEDIA) We all love to sit and watch short videos, be they humorous, reactionary, or weird, but here is Googles attempt to get educational with Tangi.

Published

on

Tangi screenshot

It’s happened to anyone who’s ever been looking online for how-to help… you click on a likely-sounding YouTube video, only to be greeted by an ad you can’t skip, a whole lot of introductory chit-chat, and three minutes of build-up before you finally see exactly what you need to do to handle your would-be DIY hack.

But what if you could get your answer in 60 seconds or less? It’s the concept behind Tangi, a newly released Google app created in the company’s Area 120 incubator by developer Coco Mao.

Variously described as short-form YouTube, video Pinterest, or TikTok for makers, Tangi was inspired by Mao discovering that her “smartphone challenged” parents were using their devices to watch photography and painting tutorials—and developing new hobbies as a result.

She came back to Google and worked with her team to develop Tangi as a place where such how-to inspiration could be more easily found and taken advantage of. “The name is inspired by the words TeAch aNd Give,” she explained as she introduced the app at the end of January. “’Tangible’—things you can make.”

The philosophy behind Tangi means this is hands-on how-to for the crafty club. The time-lapse heavy videos “could quickly get a point across,” Mao said, “something that used to take a long time to learn with just text and images.”

Videos fall into categories of art, cooking, DIY, fashion and beauty, and lifestyle, and are often accompanied by links to recipes or the maker’s blog or Instagram for more information. Some makers don’t quite have the format down pat yet, but most manage to provide a good balance of visual inspiration and a little more information.

And like Pinterest, Tangi can turn into a time-lapsing rabbit hole of its own. I started with a mere 10-second clip on propagating succulents (I’ve been doing it wrong), which led to a minute on “when succulents stretch” (“etiolation” — new vocabulary word!), which led to a succulent cake which led to a conversation heart cake and before I knew it, 20 minutes had gone by and I was watching an exploding heart science Valentine and had washed up at “Yoda one for me.”

While the app has only been out for about a week … and is only available on iOS and the web … it’s already well populated with content from makers and lifestyle bloggers who partnered with Mao’s team during the development process. And though it’s still in closed-beta mode for content creators, users can apply to be on a waitlist to be invited to upload their own work.

There are a few question marks still. No word on when it will be available on Google’s own Android platform, for one thing. While a couple of intrepid contributors are reviewing education apps and dispensing startup advice, its philosophy as stated by team lead Mao may not extend much more beyond the maker and creative fields to include technology and workplace input. And Google doesn’t always support its apps for long.

But it’s fun, simple, and easy on the eyes. As a place to find quick inspiration and direction, Tangi could carve out a niche.

Continue Reading

Social Media

New Reddit policy on impersonation mimics other social media giants

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Reddit is the latest social media company to change their policy to protect against deepfake impersonation, because of the harm they can cause.

Published

on

impersonation with deepfakes

Reddit is the latest social media company making updates to their rules and policies ahead of the 2020 election. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and now Reddit are all trying to make the social internet a safer place to receive information.

Reddit’s new policy officially bans impersonation with the goal of handling “bad actors who are trying to manipulate Reddit, particularly are issues of great public significance, like elections.”

Deepfakes have become a key topic of conversation the last few years. In the wake of the mass spreading of misinformation during the 2016 presidential election, users have grown wearier than ever of the information they see online. Deepfakes are no longer a niche subject, but an everyday pain point that technology companies are scrambling to control.

In a statement made on r/redditsecurity, Reddit informed users of the change to website policy stating, “Reddit does not allow content that impersonates individuals or entities in a misleading or deceptive manner. This not only includes using a Reddit account to impersonate someone, but also encompasses things such as domains that mimic others, as well as deepfakes or other manipulated content presented to mislead, or falsely attributed to an individual or entity.”

The platform isn’t trying to make a mass change to it’s often humor driven culture. Parody and satire are still allowed forms of impersonation so long as the joke is obvious. Reddit has vowed to always take context into account when looking at cases of user impersonation.

It’s a good sign for society when popular social platforms start taking their role in controlling the spread of false information seriously. Companies like Reddit are in a position to create real change in the way we spread and consume information about major global events.

What’s unclear is how much man power these companies are putting behind their policies. Reddit ends their statement by pointing users to a report form that users can submit if they or someone else is the victim of impersonation. The question users should be asking is how long would it take to get a response or see action on these reports?

Policy changes are great, but if companies are simply throwing them onto their fine print with no resources behind enforcement then it’s not social change, it’s just legal jargon to protect their ass.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!