Twitter DM Spam / Virus / Phishing

Whoops, it’s a good thing this was not one of those dodgy sites!


Please, please please do not click on those “OMG see what someone is writing about you” kind of tweets. Or you will be hacked and your account will be used to send horrible stuff to all of your friends.


Yours sincerely,

The Twitterverse (The good ones anyway)


PS: If you got here by clicking on the link in a tweet, retweet it, so we can warn more people 🙂

Twitter has New Follow Button

Under the Resources section on, you can find the new Follow Button.

Using the setup screen, it generates the code needed to put on your site to display the follow button. The good thing here, is that the button allows for the visitor to follow you on Twitter without leaving your site.

This is how it looks

Looks good and well implemented.


Search Trends for 2011

Here is an interetsing video from Matt Cutts of Google with Danny Sullivan from SearchEngineLand, talking about future trends for search in 2011.

They talk about the increased importance of social media in influencing ranking. While still small, it shows a shift towards social as a means of determining importance of content on the web.

Towards the end of the video, they talk about how Google is trying to avoid the poisoning of somones persona on the web by taking multiple sources of information, reviews etc to try to weed out any malicious or extraneous reviews or comments. Matt says that they take over 500 sources to try and determine this, I wonder what they are?

Another important note, is that even though these sites are classed as social networks, if Google can’t crawl them, (possibly because of high security settings) then that information remains hidden and cannot be used in building ranking.

So will SEO now become more about the persona of the individual or company, will the “quality” of the persona be just as important as the “quality” of the links or the “quality” of the content?

The next big industry….Persona Management 🙂

Twitter Spammers

Wherever there is opportunity and invention, you will find people who stoop low to take advantage!

I have had spam sent through Twitter, whether it be by spam bots or live spammers following me in the hope I follow back or Direct Messages if I am unlucky not to see through their spam disguise.

The most problematic version is using mentions to target people.

As an example, I got the following:

@deepwebdesign i got it today! yes!!
From singh8567 via API

Now there are a couple of things that stand out here that make it look like spam:

  1. Default Avatar, spammers are lazy, but not even changing the default avatar is downright dumb. It is one of the first things I look at to determine if I want to continue on with this “person”
  2. Crappy Username, Nearly everyone I follow (if not all) has a well though out name as their username, not a name with 4 digits after it. Most likely singh8567 has been deleted 8566 times before now.

But the thing that really caught my attention was the shortened url. is now the most common used url shortener and most people on Twitter and Facebook are used to seeing shortened urls. The risk is that a shortened url from a friend or follower is seen as a trusted source and is more likely to be clicked on.

Spammer use this behaviour to enhance the chances of their links being clicked. Twitter had a big problem with compromised accounts a while ago that were sending out urls designed to trick others to get infected.

Back to the tweet, you will see the url is

So not at all but

This is a common trick used by phishers to make users think they are going to a trusted source. Since the shortened urls are often jumbled sets of letters, a url mistake is less likely to be detected.

I got onto (where you can preview the destination of these urls) and the preview showed it to be a page about icons. Now the page may also have a more dangerous payload once you visit, I haven’t tried 😉

Look for the obvious signs of spammers, usually they follow similar patterns and can be spotted.

As is usual, spammers will evolve their techniques to continually challenge our ability to detect the bull.

Twitter Series – 7 Steps to Get Started on Twitter

With all new things it can take a bit of time to get into it. Here are 5 things I learned to make your introduction much easier.

  1. Make sure you add a photo (of you, or a logo) and a description in the bio section of your profile. People with the Twitter default profile picture are often robots and spammers and are often ignored by users.
  2. Find local people (Twitterers or Tweople) who you can interact with – you can do this by searching for place names in Twitter and in other Twitter Directories like
  3. Find people who have similar interests or are in the same industry (I have a list of Web and SEO people I follow). You can find these in similar directories like
  4. Use a program like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to make your interaction with Twitter much easier
  5. Don’t use Twitter to hard sell, especially at the start – you will look like a spammer, and people will not follow you
  6. Join in the conversation. If you find something that interests you – thank the person and provide things of your own
  7. ReTweeting is seen as a good thing. If you like something, retweet it – it then flows to your sphere of influence.

Twitter requires effort as it is a conversation. Find some people you have a common interest whether that is location or subject and make and effort to be involved in some of the conversations.