How TrueTwit Helps You Help It Make Money – And Waste A Ton Of Time

If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter, you’ve likely received a TrueTwit validation direct message. It says something like “Nelly Nameless uses TrueTwit validation service. Please validate your account.”

If you think this practice is okay, you need a Twitter direct message refresher. And when you’re done reading THAT, we’ll tell you why this “harmless annoyance” (aka TrueTwit) is anything but.

In case you’re never clicked one of these links (and you’d be smart NOT to as most spammy DM links do little more than compromise your account), here’s what happens when you try to “validate” your account:

So “validating your account” does nothing to stop the validation requests. You’ll fill out the captcha this time and then you’ll have to continue filling out captchas every time someone sends you a request. This means you’ll get annoying validation requests forever – unless you sign up for TrueTwit Basic, that is.

Once you sign up for TrueTwit Basic, you’ll no longer get requests for validation, but YOUR account starts sending validation requests to your followers. Wth? You didn’t want THAT!

And now one of two things will happen:

1) You say “screw it” and let your followers worry about validating/signing up for their own TrueTwit Basic account, thereby helping this horrible cycle continue and grow exponentially.

2) You sign up for TrueTwit Premium for an “additional feature” – the ability to opt out and NOT send spammy validation DMs to new followers.

TrueTwit Premium is $20 per year. And just to be clear:

Okay, so maybe identifying spammers is worth $20, right? Too bad they don’t make any promises about this “spam detection.” Beyond a dashboard that (for me) labeled nearly everyone as a medium level “risk,” you’re left to rely on the captcha – and that’s not doing much:

Well, that captcha is better than nothing though, isn’t it? Nope! Because even if followers don’t fill it out – they can still follow you:

All the captcha really does then, is advertise TrueTwit. This would be fine, of course (though still kind of shady), if they were running an affiliate program and you received a percentage of each sale they made. But they don’t.

And the BEST part in all of this? Even if TrueTwit COULD spot spammers (which it admits it can’t), and even if it could do squat about it (which it also admits it can’t) – why in the name of flapjacks would you care if a spammer FOLLOWED YOU anyway?

Think about it. You’re not seeing their tweets when they follow you. Why on Earth would you waste your time sorting out who they are and blocking them, when you can simply just not care about their existence? (And FYI, if you really DO care so very much about who reads your tweets, just make your Twitter account private – problem solved.)

I asked them why people should use TrueTwit and they directed me to their FAQs:

So the service is supposed to help you figure out who you should/shouldn’t follow BACK? Hmm. Looks to me like its “follower management” could use some work as it relies on “verifying” people and we’ve already beat THAT useless horse to death:

If you’re a diehard “TT” user, maybe the way to go is to ask them to pay you for your efforts, that is, to offer an affiliate program. It’s only fair.

So, to sum up: If you use TrueTwit, you’re likely left wondering “Have I been scared/tricked [insert whatever shady descriptor] into helping TrueTwit peddle misguided fear to the masses?” You decide. Oh and if you’re a premium user, you may have even paid them for this privilege.

And not that we need any more nails in this coffin, but if you look at TrueTwit’s Twitter, they’re the definition of spam, posting the same (or VERY similar tweets) nonstop – and according to their tweets – they’re HUGE:

The only way to stop it, is to stop it! Stop using it, stop clicking its links – just ignore it entirely and it will go away (at least for a little while).

But they’re apparently pretty sure you won’t, posting this tweet after I followed up my @mention to them with an email (before they began replying):

FYI – “insouciant” means carefree. Ha. Awesome indeed.

If this post hasn’t convinced you to drop TrueTwit like a hot potato, they deserve your money.

Update: Another thing you can do – take TrueTwit’s advice – report it for spam (posting duplicate updates is spam):

(Image from @GoTrueTwit)

@MaryCLong Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost. She writes about everything online and is published widely, with a focus on privacy concerns, specifically social sabotage.