Running the business end of a website online, you tend to be confronted with the odd dubious proposition, always conducted by email. We’re all familiar with the most venerable exiled Princes of Nigeria, but fewer will be familiar with the Twitter follower scam.
The Twitter follower scam is probably best explained here (in fact, keep a tab of this page open because it crops up later), but in essence it’s a “service” offered by certain professional internet people, whereby they will access your Twitter account and, over the course of a week, begin to follow a large number of automated accounts that will follow you back, thus boosting your headline “follow” figure – until, that is, they all begin to unfollow you within a few days.
Anybody with a Twitter account will be aware of just how ubiquitous these bots are… now imagine you’re following them.
Usually I ignore these offers, as well as the numerous pittance-paying ad companies that contact us daily, but today was particularly humid and I had nothing better to do. I got an email from Glyn Berrington of UK mail order company Sturnam Clothing, offering me the opportunity to gain 500 new Twitter followers in just one week for the low, low price of $40, or £25. I just couldn’t resist.
(Apologies for the low text visibility – think of it as an artistic commentary on the shoddiness of the scheme.)
Intrigued by the possibility of connecting so many lines of generic code for such a small/medium/large amount of money, I decided to go for broke.
At this point I became a little curious. Glyn didn’t seem to be put off by me obviously making fun of him, so I figured he must be pretty desperate for the money. I did a little Googling on his company, and discovered that he himself had been the victim of a similar scam about a year ago – or at least he claimed to be on the previously-cited article. I also discovered that this wasn’t the only get rich quick scheme he was in on. Glyn was certainly not short of ideas.
Spurred on by my discoveries, more of this happened:
Strangely, Glyn played it cool after this, saying he hadn’t expected me to pay the money, and adding: “I wouldn’t pay for it ” So there you go – Glyn Berrington of Sturban Clothing.