Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's not Social Media - it's SPAM.

@JPTrenn and @ckieff have been having this great discussion about flogging and astroturfing. According to a focus group (of one) the decision was reached that we shouldn't be upset because it's just advertising or marketing (depending on if you choose JP's or Chris' side of the argument).

From there Chris arrived at the conclusion that because we - the digerati - are purists about our social media - we get offended at these marketers and advertisers but really we need to just get acclimated and learn how to recognize them. All (including the first part of the argument) to which I say


What a steaming pile of spare parts that is! (of course, I don't mean that in a *bad* way*) And to think, they almost had me taken in too. HA!

So, why are they wrong? What is the fatal premise? Simple. It's the premise that these floggers are advertisements. They are not, they are SPAM.

I know, you may be saying that I'm a purist so I don't want these marketing and advertising type people on. WRONG. I know a LOT of people on twitter that are on there *AS* their brand. I'm grateful for it, I appreciate their contribution. Yes, everything they say comes through a filter - which is OK because in reality we have a filter on everything that everyone says to us anyway.

BUT these floggers, these so called advertisers are not those things. They are simply SPAM. I've already decoded which accounts these people have. There are several tells that give it away. And for those lucky people that make the mistake of following me - I block them. I know - I'm a cold hearted SOB ain't I? I mean, I'm blocking these people even though they're just trying to make a living right? They're just trying to drive traffic to their site in hope of getting sales, or ad-clicks or whatever. You can't blame them, they're just trying to make a digital buck!

WRONG people. WRONG! They're spammers! And in fact they are such annoying damn spammers that I think they have as a group done something that Seth Godin never anticipated - they abused his permission marketing platform so thoroughly they've have permanently associated his Squiddo brand with SPAM in my mind. Way to go!

Wait though. I've made an assertion and I've ranted about it, but I haven't provided the reason *why* I think these people are spammers. And the answer is... Because they are NOT permission marketing, because they certainly are not part of the social media discussion. What they are is a bunch of accounts that do nothing but follow thousands of people in the hope that the people who follow the link back to their page to see who they are will click on their sole tweet to whatever their product is. Sure, some people create a feed to their twitter page that tweet every link they put up on their sites creating a mini link-farm. Again, they follow thousands of people (with next to no followers) and they only thing they're doing by following you is hoping that you'll click on their link.

THAT boys and girls is spam. Mass quantities of unwilling participants being hit with a message that they do NOT want. Bingo! We have Bingo!

So, with respect to my friends JP and Chris, it's not advertising or marketing. I *don't* need to get used to it. I need to block as many of these annoying twits (and I don't mean that in a twitter sense) as possible, not give them access to have my content draw people to their streams, and hopefully have them shrivel up and die as soon as possible (was that harsh?).

Hey, I may be The Most Enthusiastic Person on Earth (tm) but that doesn't mean that I have to allow these booger-heads to waste my time with their spam. I am however looking forward with great enthusiasm and delight to the solution of being rid of them while other people with brand integrity continue to tweet, blog, ping, plurk, pownce and friendfeed about their services and create the village square of the internet.


Chris Kieff said...

Without any doubt I agree wholeheartedly with you. SPAMMER's suck and deserve a fate worse than death.

What I'm talking about is Social Engagement with Personnas that are fictional. Not one dimensional spam spewing machines. But true conversations and engagement with advertising entities.

Thanks for Reading,

A said...

Don't you think there is some kind of grey zone between spammers and people with goals beyond interesting conversation?

Jonathan Trenn said...


Now hold on there please.

To me, flogging is creating fake blogs that are designed to deceive...and sell something. That's wrong. No justification.

Chris' wife, an outsider to advertising and social media, saw it as another form of advertising. Perhaps cynically.

Then Chris sees it that way and says its not really cool, but its not really at that bad. But most of all, it's inevitable so we need to develop clues.

I agree with Chris, except I still think it's unethical because people develop interpersonal relationships. They're interactive. We don't develop relationships with actors in a commercial on TV.

But it may be inevitable and many people outside of what we do may not care as passionately as us.

How's that big feller? : )

CyberGal said...

Oh, RANT on my brother! Since paranoia is part of my lifestyle, I make my tweets private, so I get to inspect profile pages before getting snared by the uber alles wunder tweet. The profile with one entry, following 9,000 and having 1 follower. DENY.

BUT you enlightened me to the notion of BLOCKING these SOB's, Love ya, dude

How sweet it is!

I wonder if I can report them to twitter.com. They are a public menace as far as I'm concerned.

For those of you that say we just need to get used to it. May I publish your phone numbers (home and business) so all the telemarketers can talk to you? After all, they're just trying to make a living.