TweetBack Spam Happening Already. Or is it?

by Dan Zarrella on January 15, 2009

Recently some users of the WordPress plugin called “TweetBacks” have been noticing that their comments were getting hit pretty hard with Tweets unrelated to their blog. While this may look like “spam” at first glance, it really isn’t a case of unscrupulous marketers exploiting the idea.

What is happening is that a bug in that implementation of TweetBacks is flagging lots (some users are reporting tens of thousands) of Tweets incorrectly as TweetBacks. There could be a few reasons for this but the most likely cause is rate limiting by some URL shortening services.

The affected plugin is the one released last week on Smashing Magazine (which I did not write), neither my original TweetBacks javascript or the newer TweetSuite, (which includes TweetBacks as a feature) seem to be effected by this. That TweetBacks plugin does (I believe) have a feature to remove all TweetBack content from the blogs database, which should remove all TweetBack “spam”.

The TweetSuite plugin does not integrate TweetBacks into the WordPress commenting system and does not seem to be indexing unrelated Tweets. This means that if you disable the TweetBacks plugin and switch over to the TweetSuite plugin, you’ll see a different implementation and hopefully, no “spam” Tweets.

Also, keep your eyes open for an update to TweetSuite coming soon which addresses some other issues and a few new features.

Dan Zarrella is a self-proclaimed social media and viral marketing scientist, check out his viral marketing blog for more of his posts, research and tools.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff Finley from Go Media January 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm

yeah, can’t wait for the update cause TweetSuite doesn’t work well on the GO Mediazine

Daiv Russell February 5, 2009 at 10:55 am

Thanks for your post about the TweetBacks spamming issue. It was your post (among a few others) that led me to the conclusion that the problem was not my own isolated incident and that keeping the plug-in was simply more trouble than it was worth. If you’re interesed, I’ve blogged about my experience:

Per your recommendation, I’m looking into TweetSuite. :-D

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