Just who are spammers trying to kid on Twitter?

If you’ve become quite popular on Twitter or happen to have a rather large gathering of people, then you might know the recent trend of people spoofing your name. A perfect example is what happened to Forrester Research Senior Analyst Jeremiah Owyang. A very popular Twitterer, Jeremiah has amassed a following of over 30,000 people – not small by any measure. But with great success comes the people who look to jump onto your coattails and try and trick you into helping their bottom line.

Let’s look at Jeremiah’s example and analyze it. Over the span of a few hours, spammers created multiple variations of his Twitter screen name. So while he is known as @jowyang, there were many attempts to trick people with other creations like @jowAyang, @jowByang, etc. and if you viewed these spam profiles, it looked “almost” like his real profile. “Almost” you say? Yes, because aside from the profile picture and the description, there’s nothing else that matches up to say it’s Jeremiah’s profile. You can read his blog post to find out his reaction, but the point I’m trying to make is that these spammers have no sense but just to clutter up the Internet with their fake profiles.

The people on Twitter are pretty clever, so did the spammers think that people will see that “Jeremiah” is now following them a second time and then log into Twitter and follow the spammer profile? Sure, okay…so they managed to get the people to the profile page only to have them discover that this isn’t the typical Jeremiah that they know and follow. Wouldn’t the fact that the spoofed profile has only one update be a giveaway? I guess I’m having a rather difficult time trying to figure out what possible ROI they could get? Granted that’s probably a really bad thought because spammers don’t need to worry about ROI, but if no one is stupid enough to click on those links, then what’s the motivation for spammers to create those pseudo-profiles? It serves no purpose.

Thank you all for watching out for my brand, I appreciate each and every message.

That quote comes from Jeremiah himself and proves yet another point. If you have a strong following, then you won’t have to worry about intrusions on your brand because word will spread that an imposter has set up a spam account spoofing your profile. So yet another failed attempt by the spammers out there to cause havok and reap any rewards from their attempt.

So I ask then: just what are spammers trying to achieve in their repeated attempt to spoof people or create fake profiles? I highly doubt that if I click on the link in their sole update that it’s going to cease this senseless intrusion. Because it’ll lead to more headaches and idiotic “marketing” tactics. In the end, all it’s going to be is an inconvenience in the Twitterverse because we just have to spend 5 seconds to block them from ever contacting us again.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently Flipboard's Assistant Managing Editor, overseeing news curation in technology, science, gaming and health. In addition to his day job, Ken's the co-host of "The Created Economy" podcast, examining the Creator Economy. In a past life, he was a former reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding.