Saturday, May 02, 2009

Twitter Spam: Hummingbird

Twitter sent me an exclamation-mark laden e-mail yesterday to draw my attention to the two new web-denizens who subscribed to my fun-sized narcissistic twaddlings. Feeling that the occasion called for a cursory glance at these two random people, I decided to have a look:


When I saw this, I did what I always do whenever an attractive woman shows interest in me - I reacted with a great deal of skepticism. I clicked through to their profiles to begin my investigation:

Superficially, things seemed to be in order, (in that all her tweets were of a purely superficial nature), but I found the lack of any tweets aimed at other members was a little odd.

When I noticed that essentially the same message had found its way onto both profiles, I knew something fishy was going on:

One click on a tinyurl later, and I'm reading about 'HummingBird: Professional Marketing Tools for Twitter', and trying to contain my mirth.

Yes friends, that's a $197 pricetag

It seems that absolutely every bandwagon will be jumped on by enterprising peddlars of nonsense who are happy to deceive for monetary gain - you should bear in mind that a viable business model to monetize Twitter has yet to materialise.

Perhaps I'm being a bit too harsh before really examining this product. Let's consult the 'is it a scam?' checklist:

#1. Does the product claim to reveal some arcane-knowledge kept from the public by a group conspiring to hold power?


#2. Does the product offer vague, specious information whilst implying that the product in question is the only thing keeping you from becoming a guru yourself?

Yes, they just said that "Dell and Woot.com are earning Millions of Dollars on Twitter"

#3. Does the product establish itself as a way to bypass hard work, generate instant satisfaction, or generally get-rich quick?


#4. Does the product feature statements that are heavy in superlatives but light on specifics?

  • "Hummingbird is completely unmatched in power"
  • "unmatched performance"
  • "If you're comparing Hummingbird to all the little free apps & web sites that do a couple of functions at a snail's pace, you would be misleading yourself. I didn't create this software with the everyday user in mind... this is for the top dogs"
  • "Literally I can tweet a link and get a few hundred hits within the minute"
  • "Massively increase your ability to interact with an untapped gold mine of customers"
  • "Hummingbird makes you #1 in your niche."
#5. Does the product feature endorsements from dubious sources?

Alan? Alan!? Who the @*€# is Alan?

#6. Does the product attempt to imply celebrity endorsement without explicitly stating it?

Well, they do show Digg founder Kevin Rose's Twitter page in their promotional video, that's got to count for something, right?


So that's six out of six - we could go through the others on the list, including "excessive use of buzzwords" and "poor grammar on the product information page", but I think it's safe to say that this could be considered a scam.

So what is the tool for? By my reckoning, it's a Twitter account manager that you can use to generate accounts, which can then follow you, which also reach out to legitimate accounts to draw more hits to the product page. What it also means is that there are dozens of profiles spewing out identical status updates to give the impression of authenticity at first glance.

When I typed one of the updates at random into the Twitter search engine, here's what I got:

(Note the use of attractive/slutty girls in the profile pics - it's possible that the program comes with a stockpile of 'em.)

So there you have it - the latest episode of my Twitter sleuthing. Now that I've got that off my chest, I'll be blocking these fake groupies, sadly causing my followers to drop back to single digits, so feel free to remedy that!

4 comments:

Yes, I'm embarrassed of my blog. said...

"Tweetvangelism."

That is all.

Thales said...

That's twitter rape.. lol
The villain in this case is not humming bird, it is expensive for a reason, so not everyone can get it right? So it only shows one thing, that the ones which have more money are mostly the ones that spam.
It's like a knife, it in wrong hands can do harm, but wasn't designed for that kind of use.

Jason said...

Hit it up xox

hersu said...

i had join it. what should i do? please advise me at http://twitter.com/hersu