Using Twitter for SPAM
July 6, 2009 at 2:06 pm #75208
From Ben Kepes’s blog
Quality my Friends, Not Quantity. Moonfruit and the Art of Spam (2.0)
Over the weekend the hottest topic on Twitter wasn’t Michael Jackson, Honduran Coups d’etat or Roger Federer’s win at Wimbledon (congrats Roger by the way) no in fact it was a competition run by website creation offering Moonfruit.
For those who didn’t see it, Moonfruit were giving away a Macbook Pro every day for ten days. All you had to do to be in to win was to use the hashtag #moonfruit in a tweet after which Moonfruit’s “algorithm” would chose a winner.
In the few minutes that it took me to write the above two paragraphs – my Twitter search for Moonfruit has delivered up an astonishing 219 results; but I’m going to go out on a limb and say… “so what?”
Of the thousands of people who have inserted the Moonfruit hashtag into a tweet (and I’ll confess – I’m one of them) who has a clue what Moonfruit actually does? I only checked their site in order to write this post, have no intention of using their services and am certain that in a weeks time I’ll not even remember who they are.
Moonfruit was leveraging what many would term spam 2.0, that is user generated spam. In the same way that Web 2.0 is all about users creating content for a site (a la Youtube) spam 2.0 is all about making web users want to fill the role of spam bots.
But just like traditional spam, the Moonfruit campaign is, in my curmudgeonly opinion, destined to fail.
Of course I might think differently if I’d won a Macbook pro…
A few weeks ago, we wrote about a promotion from website builder SquarespaceSquareSpaceSquareSpace, where the company offered up 30 iPhones in 30 days to be randomly awarded to users who included #squarespace with their tweets.
The campaign worked in getting exposure – #squarespace was on top of trending topics for several days in a row – but we took issue with some of the messaging, as in reality, users were getting gift cards, not iPhones. Commenters had mixed reactions – some questioned how we could complain about something free (and we did ourselves in the article!), while others agreed it was misleading.
In any event, rival website builder Moonfruit has launched their own version of a hashtag-based campaign, and seems to have avoided the problems we saw with the Squarespace promotion.
Like the Squarespace promo, Moonfruit is offering up free Apple products for tweeting their company name as a hashtag: #moonfruit. Specifically, they’re giving away 10 MacBook Pro computers in 10 days, as a celebration of the company’s 10th anniversary. Each day, a random user who includes the hashtag will win one, and Moonfruit makes a point to eliminate confusion and say “if you win we’ll deliver your new baby to your door!” Winners are announced via the company’s @moontweet account.
Not surprisingly, this promotion is working. #moonfruit is Twitter’s top trending topic today, beating out the likes of Michael JacksonMichael JacksonMichael Jackson, #iranelection, and Wimbledon-related tweets. The lesson is becoming pretty clear: free stuff works as well on TwitterTwitterTwitter (and perhaps even better thanks to Trending Topics) as on the rest of the Web.
Squarespace certainly deserves some credit for innovating with this type of campaign – Moonfruit even acknowledged this in an email to us, writing “We did learn something from the squarespace guys and we respect they did it successfully first, but we believe we’ve done it a little better.” And we agree – by actually delivering the product they’re promoting, Moonfruit is running a completely transparent, highly viral campaign that will most likely be worth far more than the cost of 10 MacBooks when completed.
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