#OpSpamHeadChop 2.0

Posted on April 2, 2012


Fight Spam

Fight Spam

It seems our enemies the Twitter spammers have (mostly) given up on their old tactics of using an army of spambots to @-direct people to one central account, which then directs people to a website. I guess the first iteration of #OpSpamHeadChop was too effective for their liking, and Twitter is wise to their games. Now, they’re using an army of spambots to @-direct people directly to an off-Twitter website, sometimes through an Amazon affiliate link and sometimes through a different kind of linktracker link to a site with advertising on it.

Advertising. I love to see spammers who depend on advertising, because if you’re a no-count spammer, you probably love Adsense; it’s the easiest ad program to get set up. And if you are in a dependent relationship with Adsense, you are my prey.

It goes like this: if they’re using an Amazon affiliate link, look at the link code (not the shortcode, the extended code). It will say something like:


Now, you see the part that says &tag=examplename-20? That examplename-20 is the ID of the Amazon user. Once you have that, you have them by the small and curlies. Go to the page to report the Amazon user for a violation of the Terms of Service and fill out the details, including all the Twitter IDs that are involved, the Amazon ID of the user, and, if you can, a direct link to one of the tweets. If you wish to, make reference to #OpSpamHeadChop. POOF! Amazon affiliate account is #TANGODOWN!

If they’re using AdSense, it’s even easier. You just look at the ads, see the part that says “Ads by Google” and click on that. This will take you to a page that lists all the different kinds of ads Google wants to sell, and towards the bottom you’ll see a link to report violations. You click to select the problem is with the website hosting the ads, not the ads themselves, and then you fill out a report as above: explain it’s twitter spam, list all the accounts you’re aware of (probably just the bot that @’ed you and the central account, if any) and say “I understand your terms of service prohibit behaviour like this” and let them do the rest. They will.

And there you go: hit the spammers right where it hurts, the wallet. Another round of high-fives is in order, and you are hereby empowered to wear a badass scowl unironically for one full day.