Over the past week or two, I've conducted a kind of experiment to see who will spam me when I post things on Twitter. I have been baiting spammers into sending me replies to my blatant requests for information about iPads or sex. It's really kind of hilarious to watch them scramble to "warn you" they have found naked photos of you online or they are offering me a free iPad.
All I have to do is click a link. Sure, spambot. Sure.
The hilarious part of the way Twitter spam works is that it is triggered by searches -- mostly done by programs lurking around the nether regions of the web -- that look for specific keywords and respond with automated responses. It doesn't matter if the response is accurate or not, which makes it even funnier. For example, if you went to get kindling for the fire, you might get a response offering you a free electronic reading doohickey. Fancy.
Another thing I've discovered is that sex doesn't really work with Twitter spam. Perhaps the online porn industry has enough users already and now has the virtual equivalent of a velvet rope up between you and Asian lesbian sex orgies. Figures.
Anyway, after this highly scientific experiment in which I learned a lot, I give you the five fastest ways to get spammed on Twitter.
5. Mention anything relating to real estate, particularly mortgages. Over the years, it was not uncommon for me to receive new followers when tweeting about moving. As soon as I mentioned something about selling my house or looking for an apartment, "Billy Joe Danburg from Tempe, Arizona" or "Whitney White from Miami, Florida" followed me, no doubt hoping I'd drop everything and move to a sunnier climate. But, talk about your mortgage and my Twitter replies start filling up with ways to end mortgage issues. It would be disgusting if it weren't so incredibly predictable.
4. Go looking for sales leads. If you work in the world of the Internet and even think about search engines or generating traffic for a Web site, there's a failed pharmaceutical rep standing in front of you ten seconds later with a business card that says "social networking guru." The virtual equivalent is no different and if you have a legitimate discussion about, for example, search engine optimization, chances are you'll be confronted with "The Myth About Making Easy Money Online." I took the risk and clicked the link. What I got was a fake news Web site. So sad.
3. Talk about your problems with any product.
Last week, I mentioned that I figured out my mouse was having trouble tracking on my desk because of the wood grain. I said it was an Apple Magic Mouse and immediately got the response above. Yes, that's right, a deceptively hot girl had the solution for me: some product that worked like slippers for my mouse. To their credit, I responded with a snarky comment and they sent me back a smiley face. At least I know there's a real person behind that tweet, though not likely a good-looking model named Claire. 2. Talk about your Kindle. It's a pretty easy way to get a spammer to offer you a free one. You won't get a free one. Your only reward will be sadness, shame and a debilitating computer virus that will reveal to every contact on your e-mail list that you frequent German porn sites and secretly work with terrorists, whether that's true or not.
1. iAnything I swear, I think typing iSpam would generate an automatic response related to the iPad. Can they even do searches for lowercase letters? Your best bet is to never, ever, ever mention how glorious your iPad or iPhone is or how crappy it is or how beautifully average it is. If you do, you will unleash a torrent of spam that will not be glorious at all.