If you are on Twitter, and you are not using TrueTwit validation, chances are you have received a Direct Message (DM) from someone using the service. TrueTwit promises to be able to (1) verify people from robots, (2) help you avoid Twitter spam, and (3) save you time managing your followers.
Here is how it works: TrueTwit Basic users authorize the service to send Direct Messages on their behalf. A user follows you, TrueTwit then sends an automated DM, through your account, stating, “username uses TrueTwit validation. To validate click here”. The potential follow-back is sent to the TrueTwit website, and required to fill out a Captcha, which theoretically proves the user is not a robot.
The theory behind TrueTwit is that spambots can’t fill out a Captcha, and most human spammers won’t take the time. The spammer works on volume. TrueTwit’s premise is human spammers follow and unfollow so many users, it is not worth their time to do the validation. The idea sounds reasonable, but it is a scam that will negatively impact your Follower growth.
Automated DMs annoy users
There is a general consensus among top Social Media experts that sending automated DMs to other users will adversely affect Follower growth, and is one of the fastest way to convince people to unfollow. Fact is, most people, human people, despise automated DMs, and perceive them as spammy.
This idea about automated DMs is not just focused on TrueTwit. It includes everything from a “thanks for following” to the “please also check me out on Facebook” messages. Users do not like them. Most will ignore these automated messages, many will unfollow you because of it, and some will actually report you as spam.
TrueTwit turns users into spambots
TrueTwit turns users into the evil they are trying to avoid, a spammer. The validation used by TrueTwit Basic sends a spam message to a user they may or may not want to follow-back. That user, in order to get the potential follow-back, needs to visit the TrueTwit website, and is subjected to unsolicited advertising in order to complete a Captcha countersign challenge.
The spamming of your Followers generates millions of hits to the TrueTwit website every month, and presumably hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, both in advertising revenue and in people who pay to stop the automated messages.
TrueTwit extorts users
The psychology of Twitter has many users wanting to gain as many Followers as they can. People are creating a soapbox, so they can shout to the world whatever message they feel is important. That message may be about their favorite entertainers, their political views, or their business ventures.
One way people gain Followers is by following others. The expectation is a certain number of users will automatically follow-back as a courtesy. Also, if one regularly engages with their followers, many will follow-back who did not initially.
The first TrueTwit message a person receives seems OK and even understandable. The second or third user sending an automated Direct Message is tolerated. The fifth and six automated DMs starts to become annoying. When the 10th request to validate one is still human, you just want it to stop. However, you can’t make them stop. Blocking TrueTwit on Twitter does nothing.
The only way to make these spam messages stop is to pay TrueTwit’s annual extortion fee. When one pays to become a TrueTwit Premium member, they are listed as human and the Direct Messages stop. If one stops paying the fee, one is no longer verified as human and the harassing messages begin again.
TrueTwit does not stop spammers
TrueTwit Basic uses a Captcha countersign challenge that most robots cannot successfully complete. TrueTwit Premium claims to use an algorithm to determent which accounts are spam, and which ones are not. However, there is a way around both, and TrueTwit can ultimately fail to identify robot and spam accounts.
TrueTwit Basic only targets robot accounts. Human spammers, who have the time and inclination, can simply follow the link, fill out the Captcha, and verify they are human. TrueTwit Premium, if it actually works, only works for Twitter users who are not TrueTwit Premium members. All a spammer, including a spambot account, needs to do is pay the $20 annual fee to get listed as human. Obviously, if spammers are making money, paying less than $2 a month is worth it.
Additionally, TrueTwit’s own Twitter account is an automated robotic account. They are the type of account many of their users are actually trying to avoid. TrueTwit sends out hundreds of automated tweets daily, with little to no interaction with other users. If one were to follow TrueTwit, their news feed would be filled with their self-promoting message, adding no interaction or value.
Using TrueTwit means you are lazy
Using TrueTwit to determine whether or not you are going to follow a user back is extremely lazy. It tells the other user, there is a good chance you have no real interest in them. You want to verify they are human, because you want to make sure they are valuable for you, but you have no actual interest in them whatsoever.
Spammers are easy to spot. They are overly self-promoting and automated… just like TrueTwit. Their tweets are only about what they have to sell, and how awesome they are.
When one uses TrueTwit validation, it says to the person who followed you, who took the time to look at your account and determine they wanted to follow you, that you can’t be bothered to look at their account personally. You are robotically following and unfollowing, just like those you may be trying to avoid.
You should not follow everyone who follows you
Not only is following back not required, many Social Media experts advise against it. There is a myth that the fastest way to gain followers is to follow-back those who follow you. This is simply not true. Once you are identified, by spammers, as someone who practices a follow for a follow, you will be flooded by spammers.
The best way to gain followers is to be active and interesting. Tweet regularly, retweet and favorite other people’s tweets, and communicate with other users. Even business accounts, who need to be automated to be properly managed, need to have a human person monitoring the account and interacting with people.
The best course of action is to follow those you want to follow, because you actually want to see their tweets in your Twitter feed, and also follow users who regularly engage with you. If you don’t want to engage with your followers, then you are no better than a spambot.