Now Available in Real Time: Spam!
Yep, now you can have spam delivered in real time to your search results on Google or Twitter. This is just why we all clapped for joy when Bing and Google hooked up with Twitter for real time results, isn’t it?
Oh, no? Hm. I guess we’re not the only ones. Search Engine Roundtable noted a Webmaster World forum thread complaining about the spam in real time search results. In the SER poll, 78% (as of the time of this screenshot) felt the real time results in Google are either somewhat or very spammy:
However, this may just be their perceptions: it may be less that the results themselves are spam and more than they’re merely unwanted, and therefore we consider them spam (like commercial emails that we really did sign up for but really don’t want to get anymore—except we didn’t get the choice to sign up for this addition to the SERPs).
Twitter, meanwhile, is doing what it can about spam on its site. The “trust and safety” unit at the company now employs 22 people, making it the largest division at the company. But it’s not just the blatant tag spam and mock-celebrity accounts they’re looking at. According to Ad Age:
The dirty secret of Twitter’s war on spam? A significant amount of it emanates from clumsy marketers that just don’t know any better.
So what do they flag as spam? They have automatic filters to catch accounts that follow a large number of Tweeple, unfollow them all, and then add more followers. (Follower spam.) They also have recently set up technology to filter links and check for phishing attempts. The team also handles hacking attacks and copyright/brand claims.
But even legit accounts can devolve into spammy practices, like keyword-based autoreplies. The rule of thumb? “[E]ngage the people you are trying to sell stuff to. If you are creating a dialogue with people and not just touting things because you want to make a buck, you are going to have a network of people that value your input,” says the trust & safety unit director Del Harvey. She says they’re constantly working on algorithmic improvements to catch more spammers and reduce false positives—sound familiar?
What do you think? Is Twitter doing enough to reduce spam—including the spam that filters into Google search results? Do you think Google’s real time results are spammy—or just unwanted?