How Not To Launch A Twitter Account

Recently someone registered a Twitter account name “mattcuttsmapxl,” which is very similar to my Twitter account name. The account was following many of the same people I follow, which is pretty annoying because people had to check whether it was me or not (it wasn’t). The account got suspended, but someone made a new account to claim that the “mattcuttsmapxl” wasn’t spam:

I am not a spammer!

Here’s the thing: if you have to explain to everyone why you’re not a spammer, you’re doing it wrong. It’s this sort of thing that can give a field a bad name. If everyone is mad at you because you’re abusing the trust within a community, that’s uncool. And if you’re in it for the long-term, it’s better to earn a reputation on your own. That seems easier.

70 Responses to How Not To Launch A Twitter Account (Leave a comment)

  1. Uh, wow. I can’t quite see the motivation behind these (quite illegible) tweets? The irony of spamming that you’re not a spammer is hilarious :)

  2. Sometimes I have to wonder if these people are for real or if it’s just some guy having a laugh somewhere. To take a British term, what a wanker.

  3. That’s awesome. You have a stalker. <3

  4. What’s funny is that people defend themselves against accusations of being spammers by appealing to their own subjective views, forgetting that spam is not so much a function of the sender’s intention as of the collective effect on recipients.

    In a related vein, I wish that Twitter users, and social network users in general, would optimize for a more meaningful measure of reputation. I’m trying to push measures that are resilient to gaming. Perhaps I can advance those efforts by spamming your readers:

    http://thenoisychannel.com/2009/01/13/a-twitter-analog-to-pagerank/

  5. Dave (originial)

    How could anyone think mattcutts is the same as mattcuttsmapxl? IF he was trying to inpersonate you, surely he would use a simliar looking username, like matcutts etc.

    What did this user do that is against Twitter rules to get his account suspended?

  6. “What did this user do that is against Twitter rules to get his account suspended?”

    Dave, impersonation is uncool and deserves to be punished.

  7. Saw something similar today with the fake @LisaBarone_ account. Twitter was fast in catching it though and had the account banned minutes after Lisa began tweeting it wasn’t her account.

  8. Dave (originial)

    [quote]How could anyone think mattcutts is the same as mattcuttsmapxl? IF he was trying to inpersonate you, surely he would use a simliar looking username, like matcutts etc.[/quote]

    My question still stands.

  9. Dave (originial)

    BTW, I think knee-jerk reactions are uncool along with being guilty until proven innocent.

    Quote from myself should be;

    [blockquote]How could anyone think mattcutts is the same as mattcuttsmapxl? IF he was trying to inpersonate you, surely he would use a simliar looking username, like matcutts etc.[/blockquote]

  10. Pffft. Matt, this is nothing. Wait until people start creating fake Fadbook profiles and contacting all of the people they think are your friends.

    You also missed the real reason this guy clearly isn’t a spammer…he repeated himself over and over and over and over again. IT DOESN’T COUNT AS SPAM WHEN YOU SAY YOU’RE NOT A SPAMMER REPEATEDLY. That’s the first spam commandment! Gawd, Matt, you’re such a n00b!

    If anyone wanted any additional evidence to support the overall worthlessness of so-called “social media” websites, this is it. Seriously, what practical purpose do these things really have? Facebook is just Classmates without the fee structure, and Twitter is a modern-day derivative of the famous Monty Python sketches of a similar but shorter name.

  11. Jag

    Dave , Nothing wrong unless he mentions what is for the account clearly in Biography section :)

    Followers can read Biography section as can decide whether to follow or not right?

    If followers don’t know for what they are following they can be called as real spammers lol

  12. Dave (originial)

    MWA, It’s a shame ALL those people called him a spammer based on his username and really forced him to reply to all of them. I see not 1 shred of evidence that this guy is a spammer.

    “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

    Don’t take it so seriously and start to have FUN.

  13. Jen

    I agree with Dave. Anyone who gets mattcuttsmapxl confused with mattcutts needs a more discriminating eye.

  14. Jag

    Adding a line with Dave comments yes

    Start to have FUN and get known well each other to share “What are you doing?” ;)

  15. Harith

    Tamar Weinberg

    “impersonation is uncool and deserves to be punished”

    Well said, Tamar :)

  16. Just take a look at his “real name” account created to try and clear his name. The last 3 letters are bhw which stands for Black Hat World, a forum especially for people who would definitely hold Matt Cutts or anyone from Google to be their “ideal”. So my take on this is that he’s probably up to no good and the account was better off closed. He should use his real name and if he wants to state that he is a fan of anyone he should dtate it in his bio.

  17. Dave (originial)

    Yep, no doubt about that, the lynch mob have seen justice done..To bad if the guy is innocent, the Twitter way is to shoot first and ask questions later, guilty until proven innocent and all that..

    mattcuttsmapxl V.S. mattcutts. Surprised anyone noticed actually, Twitter must full of sharp eyed users. It’s a good thing too, with 2 *usernames* being too similar proves beyond doubt the second person behind the, sort of, simliar username is a spammer AND a impersonator. Would have surely led to identity theft and who know what else.

    The World is safe again.

  18. Matt, think about it for a second. You are obviously well known for whom you work for and for what you do. Everyone knows the name Matt Cutts, and I would truly find it hard to believe that any webmaster whether new or seasoned, not being able to distinguish between mattcuttsmapxl & mattcutts,
    especially since you’ve mentioned your twitter account on your blog already.

    @Multi-Worded Adam:
    You made my day =). So true!

  19. Harith

    First off, lets take a look at the chache dated 21. jan 2009 of the said, now suspended account, “mattcuttsmapxl” profile on Twitter:

    ————–
    * Name mattcutts
    * Location United States
    * Bio Mattcutts
    ——————–

    And as you see too, and as Matt mentioned above in his current post, the account “mattcuttsmapxl” was following many of the same people Matt follows.

    So….. it wasn’t only about the name of the account “mattcuttsmapxl” :)

  20. Hey! When everyone knows that he is not Matt, then don’t respond him. Ignore him and he can’t do anything. Let him have fun and see what he do. He might be doing so to gain attention. May be jealous of Matt :)

  21. I’ve seen a few occasions of this on my site. I’ll get a complaint from a user saying they are being impersonated. The accused with typically have a “handle” very similar to the person they are “stalking”. They then will typically run a muck around the site posting comments trying to troll the other user. I even had one user who claimed their personal troll had been following them from site to site for years.

    It amazes me the energy some of these trolls will put into trying to become someone else, for whatever reason it may be… spam… anger… revenge… resentment… The end result is the same… The internet opens up an opportunity to act out in a way that normal society would never allow legally… It is almost a form of identity theft internet style…

    Interesting topic!

  22. All work and no play make Matt a dull boy. All work and no play make Matt a dull boy. All work… (from the movie the Shining in case you didn’t get the analogy)

    Seriously, many of us have had Twitter impersonators within the last week, though not quite like this.

  23. It looks like someone just trying to pull your chain. Oh the power of the web.

  24. There is a Matt Cutts Community over at Mixx. http://mattcutts.mixx.com/

    People have Matt Cutts fever. Shoot, you could compete with G itself if you went freelance.

  25. What an idiot! I’m fairly sure that anyone reading his Tweets would realise in seconds that he’s not you – you know the difference between ‘ideal’ and ‘idol’ for a start ;o)

  26. To those wondering how people wouldn’t notice, you have to understand that Twitter emails are titled “You are now being followed by {Real Name}”. So the email people got said that they were being followed by “matt cutts”.

    1. How cool would it be if Matt Cutts followed you all of a sudden? I mean tons of people would have been so excited they wouldn’t have checked the screen name.

    2. I don’t know about everyone else, but I get a lot of email and breeze through a lot of it. I skim a lot, but this stood out because Matt was already following me.

    If he was really trying to just follow his mentor, then he shouldn’t have had the bio and list the “real name” that he did. The email issue wouldn’t have happened if this guy had listed HIS real name and then the screen name he chose.

    So I don’t believe him AND think he’s full of it. Can’t believe he fought for it so much. It would have brought tons of interest and perhaps followers not paying attention, but he got caught.

  27. Look at it is as flattery, I guess it comes with the territory of being the unofficial voice of Google.

  28. This type of thing has been happening a lot. Just yesterday I received 2 fakes follows: @_Scobleizer and @JasonCalacanis_

    It was kind of annoying because for a second i actually thought Robert Scoble and Jason Calacanis wanted to follow me. ;)

    I wonder if Twitter is going to do anything to prevent future occurrences from happening.

    Thanks,
    Adam Boalt
    @boalt

  29. Sockmoney Said,
    January 23, 2009 @ 5:15 am

    I’ve seen a few occasions of this on my site. I’ll get a complaint from a user saying they are being impersonated. The accused with typically have a “handle” very similar to the person they are “stalking”. They then will typically run a muck around the site posting comments trying to troll the other user. I even had one user who claimed their personal troll had been following them from site to site for years.

    Ummm…did you miss the similarity between your handle and that of a well-known Internet marketing type? Just wondering.

  30. maybe mapxl means “fan” in whatever his native language is?

    Seems creepy though.

    But lets be fair, your blog probably steals searches from framing shops and document archivists :)

    By the way, thanks for the crawl rate interface on Webmster tools. Very cool!

  31. Original Dave, when the Matt Cutts impersonator followed me, I received an email notification saying:

    “mattcutts is following you on Twitter.”

    (…which is exactly what Kate Morris said happens.)

    Only when I clicked on the email itself did I see that that the name was not associated with “mattcutts” but “mattcuttsmapxl.” It is misleading and still is impersonation. People followed back because they ASSUMED the person was Matt Cutts.

    Also, why should people be expected to know what username Matt maintains on Twitter? (Matt shared it in his blog post because not everyone knew, I bet!) To that point, I have plenty of friends on Twitter whose usernames are not what I expected them to be.

    Further, this isn’t an isolated incident. This issue has been happening throughout the week with spammers trying to capitalize on selling books and then some.

    I’m happy that Twitter took action and hope that Twitter continues to do so. It’s too bad that the spammers can’t assert authority under their own identities and that they can only be perceived to have influence by assuming another person’s identity. I feel sorry for all of those people.

    @panzermike: There’s also a “Cuttlets” group on Facebook for Matt’s fans :D

  32. Harith

    Maybe I would ask Matt to kindly approve my two new “Impersonated” user names just for this weekend :)

    Multix-Worded-Adam

    Dave (originals)

    Just to illustrate to those kind friends how harmful impersonation could be ;)

  33. thats crazy….any you made him what he wants probably ;)

  34. himynameis john

    Well this blog has certainly given http://twitter.com/pankajsharmabhw a platform… or was it just me curious enough to bother heading over there? Anyhooo… *adds to follow list* :D

    … There are also a lot less Matt Cutts whom work as Head of Web Spam at Google on LinkedIn these days too.

    You and your celeb status, tssk! Blame fame, not spam! Aha, I kid. But the irony of all this spamness is quite… well… humorous.

    john.
    PS; Now a fan of Fanboy – like the style of writting, so thanks for the heads up!

  35. Roger

    It is amazing to me how fast someone like Matt Cutts can get a spam account shut down. Yet, small business owners are at the mercy of Google to interpret these things correctly when someone sets up accounts impersonating you or your company — or, worse, copies your content.

  36. Thomas

    Spamming competitors

    What a coincidence, today I found out that one of most prominent german spammers (biggest comment spammer in Germany) also took our domain name as twitter account. Not only did he took it to prevent our use of twitter, but he also took many other brand names and keywords (SEO?).

    Just mailed twitter to take him down. Let’s see what happens.

  37. “Wait until people start creating fake Fadbook profiles”

    Someone already did that on MySpace. They made fake-me older than I really am, too!

    As I recall, a great way to spot email spam in the old days was phrases such as “This email is not spam.” :)

    I knew about the Facebook group, but not the Mixx group. Then of course there’s Danny Sullivan’s April Fool’s tribute: CuttsCon, which is a whole (fun but fake) Matt Cutts conference. :)

  38. If you’re going to impersonate someone, or idolize someone, be sure they don’t have a relatively distinctive name.

    BTW, Matt, I LOVE the Google Phonebook feature. I hope whoever worked on it sees this comment.

  39. Hey Matt, i noticed that your blog homepage displays the full post rather than partial posts, wont that count as duplicate content in the eyes of google because the post page and the home page have the same content.

  40. I suggested to nobody in particular as per Kate’s note, that it would be nice if Twitter’s email were “[name] [username]” in the subject line instead of just [name].

    I’ve had a half dozen of these come through this week from “big names” often in the format realaccount_ (underscore). Twitter’s a fast sport, it’s easy to overlook the email contents since they are clones aside from “who” it is – would be easier to catch unusual info in the subject line.

  41. Matchstick

    What I find ironic is that Dave is defending this person, yet he adds the term (Original) to his name, as to avoid the same situation.

  42. Alan Underwood

    Matt, I’ve never commented on your blog before, but I do read it occasionally (I’m not so much interested in spam now that I’m not with that company anymore). Still, though, I wanted to point out to the wider audience that this is exactly why “privacy” on the internet leads to problems.

    We do NOT need anonymity online, we need identity. (discuss)

  43. Dave (originial)

    Arrh, not being a Twitter user, I didn’t know only half the facts had been posted.

    Still that if it was an attempt to impersonate Matt, the user would have used a username that was very similar to MattCutts. Seems to me, the user just has on over zealous fascination with Matt Cutts.

  44. George

    hi all

    that guy (pankaj sharma) is from indian company called greymatterindia.com

  45. Harith

    Dave (original)

    “Arrh, not being a Twitter user, I didn’t know only half the facts had been posted.”

    No worries :)

    We live, we learn, we share and make friends :)

  46. Some of these spammers are just idiots. Twitter will get better at picking them out and killing them as we go on, I believe. Definitely true that it gives the whole field a bad name. I also find it funny that the o_O is now the face of spam.

  47. If he just explain it not so spammy, it will be not so funny! I find no problem if he use a nick on twitter that is almost the same with your name or somewhat like your name as long as it is not like a dog that keeps on following your tracks and make other people confused. I don’t know if this happens to other people (and not Matt) will they (twitter or others) give their time to look on this matter and suspend it the same that happens to this account? Just asking. :)

  48. Those things happen, unfortunately… Hopefully those accounts are chewable :)

  49. I have to agree with Nick at the top – what a wanker!

    David
    UK – USA

  50. Maybe I would ask Matt to kindly approve my two new “Impersonated” user names just for this weekend

    Multix-Worded-Adam

    Dave (originals)

    Just to illustrate to those kind friends how harmful impersonation could be

    In all seriousness, you wouldn’t be the first person to do that to me (yeah, I know, it’s sarcasm, I get it). Someone started participating in MLM and other pyramid scams using my name as early as 1998 (never found the person, but I have a strong suspicion as to who it was), and I’ve had a few fake profiles set up (including MySpace a couple of times, which is something I’ve never used…forgot about that until Matt mentioned it).

    Most of the attempts are usually weak and pathetic, and the ones that are “good” or “serious” can usually be taken down without much of a fight on the part of those that own the sites that they’re on.

    Someone already did that on MySpace. They made fake-me older than I really am, too!

    Being older sucks, but were you also bisexual? I was. I was looking for “Random Play” (or whatever Fadbook calls it these days) from boys and girls. There’s nothing quite like the conversation you have with your significant other when she finds your fake Fadbook profile and learns that you like to take swings from both sides of the plate.

    Again though, I contacted Fadbook, they took it down, problem solved. Harmless. Lame, idiotic, stupid, ridiculous…but harmless.

  51. Stalker on the loose, or just a another harmless fan, is there a difference :)

  52. I’m sort of with Tamar on this one. It’s kind of an honor.

    And I also agree with the guy who claims to be the “original” Dave (In fact, I’m the original Dave) that this guy was not really trying to be a spammer, or he would have picked a more similar name, like the spammer who followed me for a few hours as AndBeal__ and even used his avatar, until his account was suspended. In fact, IMHO the Matt Cutts impersonation is sort of like a “fan site”.

    By the way, I note that Matt is not attacking this guy for impersonation as much as for doing a very clumsy, ineffective job of launching his Twitter account, and I agree 100% with that analysis.

    Now if all the other “Daves” and “Davids” out there would go get their own name…

  53. Oh, this makes my head hurt. It is a bit scary to imagine the damage that a person could do if they really wanted to be convincing in their impersonation attempts. Fortunately, this is an instance where the Twit(erer) was not very clever. The idea of removing a “t”, now that is clever. This is the kind of stuff made-for-TV-movies start with. First it is Twitter, and before you know it, some guy walks up to you on the street in a Matt Cutts costume.

    I have to agree that if you say you are not a spammer, you should get a free pass … on the short bus! What ever happened to the nice legal disclaimer in email spam explaining how by some act of Congress that the email could not be defined as spam? I wonder how much that improved their monetization.

  54. I notice that we have a poster called “Dave (originial)”.
    Is he related to “Dave (original)” by any chance?
    Or is he a spammer/impersonator?
    There obviously can’t be any confusion between “Dave (originial)” and “Dave (original)”. Obviously totally different people.

  55. In hypnotherapy I call that delusions of grandeur.
    Maybe I should offer this guy some free hypnosis so he can just be himself. I’m glad to hear the guy got removed though.

  56. Dave

    SockMoney LOL if thats not a rip off of shoemoney I dont know what is !! LOL

  57. This whole scenario reminds me of raising teenagers. There must be consequences for poor behavior. People push to see how far they can go, and when there are no real consequences, they keep pushing. A recent blog got thousands of comments, all spam related. I hadn’t put any prevention methods in place so my bad, but still, it would be great if there were some relevant punishment for someone from the same IP address inundating me with comments with no substantive value, hundreds of url’s per comment, no question spammy spam. As in this situation, the creator clearly meant to gain from your notoriety. (If it were one of my kids I’d take their door off the hinges, keep the car keys, charge a fine for bad behavior and take away their cell phone;) If only.

  58. Dave (original)

    shoomoney, shoemony etc

  59. #
    George Said,

    January 23, 2009 @ 11:59 pm

    hi all

    that guy (pankaj sharma) is from indian company called greymatterindia.com
    ==================

    George you are not allowed to blame any company without any proof.

    This is the worst comment i ever faced that we did spamming. we are very reputated company in India.

    Please make sure that in future you will not blame any one like this.

    This account is not associated with Grey Matter India.

    Pankaj Sharma from Grey Matter India not created any kind of fake account in any social networking site.

  60. Pankaj Sharma

    Hey George,

    Pankaj sharma is very common name name in India. If you will search on the web you’ll find thousand of Pankaj Sharma but not each of one is me.

    this http://twitter.com/pankajsharmabhw profile is not mine and i also don’t know about this. I haven’t registered on Twitter.

    So first confirm the person & then comment like this

  61. I think this is great to see. #1 – it’s funny that someone would do that, #2 – even though annoying, man this joker is just polishing Matt’s chrome, that’s gotta get him an “atta boy” and #3 – seems like no real harm is done so it can’t be too serious.

    Should Twitter become sooo intwined in a person or company’s identity and reputation, then this could be a problem. I think until Twitter reaches that level of usage – some “critical mass” stage where not having Twitter is akin to suicide – there isn’t much harm or foul done here.

  62. This is the worst comment i ever faced that we did spamming. we are very reputated company in India.

    Did you acquire your reputation by setting up splogs full of links created with anchor text designed for “off-page optimization”? Seems to me that a “reputated” company wouldn’t go around doing that.

    It’s also odd that “Pankaj Sharma” said the same thing as you did approximately 2 minutes later.

    George you are not allowed to blame any company without any proof

    Or else what? If you’re going to dictate to other people what they can and can’t do, you should at least have some clearly defined consequences for their actions.

  63. This entire thread is relevant to exactly what the biggest problem is with social media in general. An above comment stated that it’s scary to think about when you are indeed being impersonated by one or more people who know what they are doing. Social media as it stands right now does not have a long shelf life. Major issues have to be addressed with it before it goes years into the future with any teeth. One of those issues does have to do with being hidden on the internet. Is being totally anonymous the best way forward for the web? Or should there be an adjustment to that way of thinking? When is enough, enough already?

  64. Chris

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”
    :) I think the issue to this is not that he used the name “mattcutts” but rather what he did after. Just look at that repeating long line of senseless blah sent to a lot of people.

    Reminds me of friends taking over another schoolmates PC in college who left their chat accounts open. They would send “I am gay” comments to everybody on the person’s contact list. Funny if you’re not the person. Anyway, the net is littered with so much crap today that we don’t need any more. I will flag that guy if I were in Twitter without batting an eyelash. :P

  65. It’s amazing what people will do to deceive people.

  66. Jenna

    I was on Twitter for three months I hated every minute of it. It seems like a great big back stabbing community of middle school folks. I will pick only who I think is cool to be in my click sort of thing. Google indexed me and I frankly did not want to be on the front page of google. I like my personal life and I like it to be very private. Frankly it is no bodies business but my own what I am doing where I am going and what I have to say. So I closed my account and I am happy I did so.

  67. It seems to me that creating a Twitter account with that username was actually more towards a sign of respect than anything else. That being said, who knows what god-awful tactics he was going to start using to spam the Twitter user base. Good riddance, I say.

  68. Wow. It always seems to amaze me how stupid some people are. There doesn’t even seem to be any purpose of it.

  69. You’ve got to love the fans :) I agree – you shouldn’t need to explain that you’re not a spammer/fake!

  70. Only just found this article, thanks for sharing. I came across someone recently who was bragging about the fake facebook profiles they were creating for their social media clients. Their point was to show lots of interaction between made up people. Makes you wonder what their clients think. But don’t worry, we know you are not a spammer :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

If you have a question about your site specifically or a general question about search, your best bet is to post in our Webmaster Help Forum linked from http://google.com/webmasters

If you comment, please use your personal name, not your business name. Business names can sound salesy or spammy, and I would like to try people leaving their actual name instead.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

css.php