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Official Twitter account enters world of @ “spam”.

Almost every frequent Twitter user has complained about @ spam.  Tweet the word iPad, taxes or anything that has a commercial element, and you will occassionally get a @ message sent to you with a link to a product, deal or even just a scam.

Twitter must see the effectiveness of this method as they are using @ messages to try to help new users find accounts to follow.

Today while reviewing the @ mentions for the @free account I run, I saw this surprising tweet.

At first I thought this @TwitterSuggests account might be trying to falsely use the Twitter name and be run by someone else, but the link in the account profile confirms that is an experimental Twitter idea.

A review of who is being sent @ messages shows that most accounts are following less than 10 people, but there are examples of accounts that follow over 300 people being messaged.

You don’t get the option of opting into suggestions, which is why it has the feel of @ spam, but you can opt out by blocking the @TwitterSuggests account.

It would not surprise me if future advertising efforts by Twitter follow a similar model.  Promoted tweets don’t do a good job focusing on what you are interested in at the moment.  @ messages obviously can target by keywords.  If Twitter fails to monetize using its current ad system, I believe it is only a matter of time before they co-opt what spammers have long done, and starting selling keyword based @ message ads.

Has your account been suggested by a @ message or have you received suggestions this way?  I am interested in what you think of this process and if it is truely helpful or too intrusive.

2 thoughts on “Official Twitter account enters world of @ “spam”.

  1. Debbi

    I've seen this a couple times, most recently this morning. I was @ mentioned in a tweet to someone as a suggestion for them, along with a couple other accounts. I didn't see any connection between my account and the other two that were mentioned as suggestions, so I'm curious as to how Twitter is determining who to suggest. (Admittedly, I didn't spend much time trying to figure it out.) I did assume, though, that this was some type of spam. Surprised to see it's a Twitter thing.

    I just ignored it. If it started happening once a day or more, I would be annoyed.

  2. Josh Davis

    Thanks for the comment Debbi.

    It is good to know that I wasn't the only person who at first look, assumed it wasn't Twitter sanctioned.

    One would think Twitter would have the data to make good recommendations, but I agree that suggested accounts seemed a bit random.

    These messages seem like a natural path to @ message ads, and at that point, it will certainly change the Twitter experience. I hope I am wrong.

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