An Example of Failing At Marketing Using Twitter

I don’t know who’s managing the District 9 twitter marketing campaign, but their abuse of twitter (via their creation of Twam – “twitter spam”) just caused me to decide not to go see the movie tonight.  Here’s the history of the experience.

On August 15th, I tweeted “has anyone seen District 9?  Worth it?”  I got a handful of generally positive responses including one that said "@bfeld district 9 was very good.  stylistically a bit reminiscent of 28 Days Later.  well done  and entertaining.  also, go see hurt locker.”  I didn’t recognize the handle of the person that tweeted it to me but I noticed it since it was more descriptive than others.

Over the past three days I’ve now gotten over 20 tweets from people I don’t recognize that say exactly the same thing.  For example, I just got one from Joanne ODonnell (apedvatu).  I don’t know Joanne (if she even exists) and her twitter account is garbage. 

Or how about the tweet from Dominique Arnold.  Exactly the same text.  Same drill – no clue who Dominique is and her tweets are a bunch of district 9 crap.

This is classic marketing spam.  No different than all the email garbage we get every day (that a whole industry has been created to deal with).  To date, Twitter has done a great job of dealing with twam but it’ll logically get worse, especially now that all you need to be a “social media consultant” is a twitter account. 

As I was writing this, I saw a tweet pop up on a TechCrunch article titled “You’re Doing It Wrong Part 348: Complete And Utter PR FAIL”  I think the dynamics around social media marketing are now going to get a lot worse now before it settles down.

Guess I’m going to see Julie & Julia tonight instead of District 9.  Amy told me that District 9 looks too scary for me anyway.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/john_minnih5395 John Minnihan

    You mean my comment – 'D9 was only half as good as D18' – wasn't helpful?? I'm hurt.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

    Well – that’s actually a lot more useful than the 21st comment that says “@bfeld district 9 was very good. stylistically a bit reminiscent of 28 Days Later. well done and entertaining. also, go see hurt locker”

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/john_minnih5395 John Minnihan

    Yep. The stuff that's starting t bug me is the follow porn-spam. That's getting to be a big drain on me, as there's no easy way to determine – for sure – if they're spam other than to visit their profile. And then WHAM! X-rated crap fills up my screen.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      Yeah – the porn folks are always the first to embrace a new version of spam. 

      I just heard via twitter from another follower that he thinks this is porn spam (twam – now that’s good – porn twam – twat?).  His comment – “Agreed. But that 1 follows a pattern: Spam hashtags/trending topics/celebs/'A-List' users, for attention + SEO (I've studied it)”

      Enough already.

      • http://twitter.com/andrewbadera @andrewbadera

        Porn spam: bambibots.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

          I like that.  I’ve been calling the twat’s, but I think bambibots is better.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/deva_hazari2084 Deva Hazarika

    weird, brad, i sent you the original tweet saying that. i would guess this is not district 9 marketing, but instead just twitter spammers keying on @bfeld and a trending topic like district 9

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

    Yeah – that’s what it’s starting to look like as I keep digging in to try to figure out what’s going on.  Many of them (not all) seem to have a porn angle to them so I’m starting to thing they are porn spammers.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/mikehartcxo mikehartcxo

    I'm sure one of the TechStars are already working on a "shutdown"app for this problem.

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  • http://aproductguy.wordpress.com Mike Su

    Ha! Ironically, your blog post about twitter spam has a display ad next to it offering 4100 followers for $12.95 ;) wild wild web FTW!!!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      Awesomely ironic!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bpm140 Eric Marcoullier

    Brad — it sounds like this is actually a giant porn scam, but let's pretend it wasn't…

    What would you reaction have been if @district9 had tweeted "@bfeld it's stylistically a bit reminiscent of 28 Days Later. People are also comparing it to Hurt Locker"? I'm guessing it's the lack of transparency and the 40 @replies that are pissing you off, yeah?

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/bpm140 Eric Marcoullier

    Brad — it sounds like this is actually a giant porn scam, but let's pretend it wasn't…

    What would your reaction have been if user @district9 had tweeted "@bfeld it's stylistically a bit reminiscent of 28 Days Later. People are also comparing it to Hurt Locker"? I'm guessing it's the lack of transparency and the 40 @replies that are pissing you off, yeah?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      If @district9 has been the handle I would have been fine.  The 40 @replies is what made me nuts.  Now that I realize this is a giant twitter porn spam ring (I think I’m just going to call these things “twats”) I’m annoyed, but in a totally different way.

  • http://www.familyforest.com Alexis

    Curious minds want to know how was Julie aand Julia?
    http://twitter.com/familyforest

    http://familyforest.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/anot

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      It was superb – I loved it.  Perfect couples movie, especially for foodies.

  • http://www.ct.org Paige

    And what did I do when invited to one social media tool after another that asked for any remnant of personal privacy in exchange for the glory of an online profile? I shrugged. LOL at the exchange here –

    Have you seen the Whole Foods CEO Op-Ed / Boycott call… great case study in SMedia. Imagine all those poor fools – working with full health care that will be laid off in the event of a boycott. I admit to mining some out of curiosity. Gosh, you can learn alot about people online.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/MikeHaydon MikeHaydon

    I don't know if you've had a chance to see the twitter feed of a trending topic before and after it goes trending. If not, check out #ashes over the next few days (it's a cricket series between Australia & England). It might or might not go trending. I noticed that before, people are genuinely talking about the topic, but while it's trending, there's a huge amount of piggybacking and spam. It's quite pathetic, I reckon.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      Yup – 24 hours later I’ve learned a lot about trending topic spam.  The poor hash tag – if it only knew what kind of cruft it was attracting.

  • http://www.businessmoneytoday.com phanio

    Do you think this will eventually take down twitter – when there is more spam then actual tweets? Or, any ideas on how this can be stopped?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      This won’t take down twitter.  Email had the same problem and it eventually got “mostly” solved – maybe “addressed” / “managed” is a better word.  Comments had the same problem and they are ok.  It’ll just take a bunch of extra software infrastructure.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/JChauncey JChauncey

    whats funny to me is how I have people following me that i have never met. I mean just completely random people. What is with that?

  • http://redanyway.com Sujay

    Just came across this article from Mashable – http://mashable.com/2009/08/20/twitter-reviews-di… It is difficult quantify how much twitter would have helped get it an 8.8 on IMDB (which is also driven by mob-mentality these days) or the $$$ . But the sad part is the encouragement to spammers seeing such things work.

  • http://bradfeldisastud.com sheryl

    live by the social media sword, die by the social media sword – what did you expect?

    quit being part of the problem and become part of the solution – invest in a twam company that does NOT have any patent pending software

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

    I’d seriously consider it if I could find one!

  • Alex

    Brad, just use Glue!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      Yeah – should have.

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