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.