Buying Twitter Followers
Every week we get about a dozen emails from people who want to move our sites to the top of the Google rankings for specific search terms. Of course they will not be doing this out of the kindness of their own hearts but for a small fee … most don’t even make it through to our inboxes because they like thousands of other emails every month directed at our sites get filtered out an dropped into the spamboxes on our mail clients.
All hail anti-spam software.
Of course anyone who takes up such offers is deluded anyway as the sort of techniques used tend to be at best useless and at worst can have you thrown off the search engines for cheating.
There’s always someone who will try it on though. The latest is a firm that says it will find followers for you on Twitter. You can read about them in this news article. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8130456.stm
Of course this isn’t search engine manipulation directly but it does try and take advantage of the most talked about phenomenon in micro-blogging, Twitter.
If you ignore the question of whether or not this is right or wrong you are left with the question of who would use such a service and why. Of course pure commerce is the target market, but what if someone with an agenda sets up an account and pays this service to generate followers who are then assailed with Twitter updates about their particular cause.
I’m talking here about the influencing of potentially millions of people by the steady drip, drip, drip of Twitter posts. Done with guile and subtlety quite extreme messages about politics, racism, health issues and sex could be insinuated into an enthusiastic audience via twitter.
Maybe I’m being paranoid, but Twitter is the lingua franca of a generation who are still forming their opinions about life. They are impressionable and despite being tech-savvy are also open to ideas.