Updates for 2009-03-23

  • Sunday morning bot-exorcism. Cleaning bots out of my follower list. #
  • Hmm. Disappointing lack of bot followers. You all seem to be real people. *Poke* Yyyep. Real people. #
  • Lasagna Update: as good — perhaps even better — reheated the next day. Leftovers for work week are GO. #
  • Adrift: Smudged handprints reveal a maintenance hatch; we’re not the first to use this route. Door .. http://tinyurl.com/c9mfue #
  • Did some xeriscaping in the front yard this afternoon in lieu of writing. Weather was just TOO nice. Procrastination, but productive. #

4 Replies to “Updates for 2009-03-23”

  1. So what, exactly, is the point of Twitter bots? I mean, I’ve seen them, and Twitter does seem to do a decent job of cleaning them out, but … what do they exactly gain, since I don’t see them Twittering spam.

  2. Well, in theory what happens is that the Twitter bot creates an account, follows about a thousand people, and starts posting links to spam havens and scam sites. Some people automatically follow anyone who follows them (or they use a service such as TweetLater.com to manage it), so until that spam-bot gets banned, you’re going to get deluged with spam messages.

    That’s the theory.

    In practice, most people will, when they get a follow from an obvious spam bot (someone names YRSRBQ, with one post linking to a “Free MacBook Air”), they hit the Block button located in the sidebar. Once the number of blocks exceeds the number of followers by some secret ratio, Twitter automatically puts the account on hold for review. This system works so well (provided people block diligently), that most bots only get a chance to get one or two posts out before they’re suspended, and a few hours later, they’re deleted. Works pretty well.

    There are a few spammers who survive this by working out deals with OTHER spammers so that they have a couple thousand followers and are therefore pretty much immune to suspension/deletion, but those are pretty few and far between, and eventually the total number of blocks even catches up to them.

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