Twitter impostors surface to sell book

Recently, impostors have been surfacing on the microblogging service, with account names and profiles indicating that they are well-known Internet personalities.

Within the past 30 minutes, I have received Twitter follower notifications from a couple of high-profile Twitterers, or so it would seem.

The subject line of one reads "Duncan Riley is now following you on Twitter!" Upon clicking through to the profile, it's obvious that this is not the Duncan Riley that we know from The Inquisitr, but rather an impostor trying to cash in on affiliate rewards from the sale of the book, 5 Steps to Twitter Success. According to the book's site, which I am not going to link to here, it is authored by a man named Ken Reno.

It looks like Duncan, but something feels off.

It's not immediately clear whether Reno is behind these fake Twitter accounts, but they seem to just be spammers trying to collect the reward for an affiliate referral. Even if he is not behind it, Reno may have set himself up for this sort of behavior and abuse, promising 100 percent commissions for all affiliate referrals.

In the cases that I have seen, the fake Twitter users can all be identified by the use of underscores in their name, for example, "Duncan_Riley_", since the real name is obviously taken. So far the only Twitter users that I have seen impersonated are Duncan Riley and Andy Beal, but feel free to leave other examples in the comments.

I have to hand it to Twitter for handling this situation very effectively. When I started writing this post eight minutes ago, both profiles were up, and as I am writing now, I see that Twitter has suspended both of the accounts in question. I am glad that handling this sort of behavior is a top priority for Twitter, since fraudulent users like this can really detract from the value of a social network, if allowed to run rampant.

About the author

    Harrison Hoffman is a tech enthusiast and co-founder of LiveSide.net, a blog about Windows Live. The Web services report covers news, opinions, and analysis on Web-based software from Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and countless other companies in this rapidly expanding space. Hoffman currently attends the University of Miami, where he studies business and computer science. Disclosure.

     

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