You, Me, and Spam: 5 ways of Combating Spammers Online

I’ve been through a number of trends regarding Social Media.  However, the trend that annoys me the most is that someone out there is making a fortune telling people to essentially ‘cold-call’ prospects on Social Media, relying on consumer ignorance and apathy to get their message across.  AKA, it’s Spam, at it’s most boldest level, because it sounds sincere, but it really isn’t.  With enough complaints you can risk your profiles being blocked / deleted from SPAM complaints.

I’d like to run through some of the attempts that have been made that almost got through the filter.

LinkedIn

NOTE:  LinkedIn is notorious for ‘if you don’t know this person, don’t try to connect with them, because the consequences of such behavior can get your account suspended’.  So I don’t understand as of recent the increased number of invites with the Default invite line and really shady crap on their profile.

Without further ado. . .

A) Douchebag 1:  After asking “Why are you connecting with me on here?”  This guys response? “Found you through one of my connections and wanted to do some networking to see how we may be of help to one another.”

NOTE: Anytime the premise is vague, or they can’t be direct on what they are selling, or otherwise, it’s SPAM.  There is no benevolent purpose here.  Sure enough I was right, the very next email was something about his business, it said “To Bears Fans!” and had some non-personalized SPAM mail.  Was very sad.

B)  Douchebag 2: Again, after asking why. .reply? “Went to Loyola with S***** G***** and very good friends with D*** C*****”

Again, premise is vague, you didn’t say ‘recommended by xyz’ and I didn’t go to the same school you did either.  SPAM, next caller.

C) Douchebag 3:  Friended me, default invitation text (I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn) and viewed her profile, didn’t show me any information.  Did a quick Google search, her name was associated with a bunch of self-aggrandizing websites.  I mean, even if ‘befriended’ this person on LinkedIn, I already knew what the next email was going to be.

SPAM, reported to LinkedIN.

Facebook

NOTE:  Facebook is starting to take a Line from LinkedIn, now you can report to facebook for friendSPAM and people you don’t know.  They also guard against massive email imports and invites as well, which is awesome, and about time.

A) Someone friended me, with 0 mutual friends on Facebook, and with the message of “HI Will, I don’t know you that well, but I wanted to help you have a good year!!”

B) Someone friended me, had 42+ mutual friends, but listed Properties he was trying to sell in the invite information!  What a joke!

Both Spammed, Blocked and reported to Facebook.

3) Twitter

Is a lost cause.  I turned off Auto-Follow years ago, and there is no simple batching process for blocking / discouraging spammers.  There is currently a spammer who is doing random names, pictures of pretty girls, and some variation of ‘I help guys bang chicks’, and some yeast diet nonsense.  I don’t know how they can keep up, but if there was a way to batch report them all, I would do so.  Thankfully I don’t have to follow them back or indulge in their fuckery.

How to combat against this nonsense?  Very simple.

1) Ask the Spammers a Direct Question: Most spammers are obvious, but for the ones who pass the smell test, I always ask “How did you find me?”.   Not one person I’ve asked this to has given me a direct answer.  They don’t say ‘Oh, I’ve met you before’ etc. . it’s always vague or the reply doesn’t make sense in reality.  Instant Ban.

2) Do a little research:   Either Google searching by email, name or handle will usually reveal what the person has been up to on the web, especially if they have a picture on their profile.  For this very reason is why I’m so vigilant about my personal brand, because I don’t want someone looking me up and finding less than favorable information regarding my reputation.  The spammers are literally plastered in all corners of the web with really crappy information.

3) Tend and Hedge your networks:  I tend to batch invitations on my various networks, and I turn off notifications.  If you see spammers, or activity on your network, remove them immediately.  I have a zero tolerance for this kind of behavior.  The only exception I make is for Facebook games, because while it is SPAM in its most pure form, it provides entertainment value for those involved.

4) Can you meet them in Real Life?  If the spammer is a friend of a friend, it’s easier to find out what their story is.  Most of the ‘networkers’ I know who offer real value, I would have heard their name before somewhere.  This is also because I’m a very social person.

As a side note:  If you intend to add people on networks cold (or by ‘suggestion’), here is a suggestion.   Do a little bit of research on said person, and add context to the invitation.  For example, if you want to connect to an HR person at a specific company, mention in the invite that you were interested in a position at the company and were reaching out to them to make that happen.

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Will English IV

I'm just a kid from Chicago living the dream in tech. I write about a whole host of topics here including Triathlon, Web Development and Social commentary.

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