It has always been inevitable that Twitter would be used for spam, and perhaps what’s most discouraging is that it’s the useful sites like Tweetgrid that make gathering usernames so easy. All a spammer needs to do is search for a couple key words related to their product, and then send links to those users. Such a process can be, and already is, easily automated in real time.
An example struck me today. While the Premier League can’t seem to grasp the marketing potential of Twitter and the web in general, the nefarious UK betting sites are all over it. One cannot mention the name of a club without finding a couple “so-and-so is now following you on Twitter” emails in the inbox shortly thereafter. Today I tried tweeting about a match using alternative names, referring to Chelsea as Chelski (quite original, I know), but even so I was immediately pounced upon by a site called ChelskiBet. Sure enough, the account had a low followers/following ratio and all of its messages were links to a betting site.
How useful can Twitter be if people have to resort to alternative wording to avoid spam? Tweeting “just got tickets for the Y@nkeez game” is not only quite annoying, but it also makes search and discovery difficult for legitimate users. It is also, as I found out, an uphill battle as spammers simply catch on and adapt.
Should Twitter start using Gmail-like filtering for spam?