12 Most Spammy Content on the Web

12 Most Spammy Content on the Web

Spamming has evolved well past unsolicited direct mail and email. Further, spammers are not just Nigerian princes anymore. We’re all spam targets and producers today and we increase the likelihood that we’ll become spammers with every new social network we register with.

So let’s take a minute to consider the 12 Most Spammy Content on the Web today and reflect on our own content strategies. Be honest with yourself.

1. #Hashtag #Hashtag #Hashtag

We all agree there is too much #content on the #Internet, too many #networks and not enough #time to #consume it all. Do we need to compound this by adding six #hashtags in a #tweet? You only have #140 characters to begin with. Too many #hashtags #reeks of #spam.

2. Irrelevant commercial content

Posting content about (for example) SEO in an online forum or Twitter chat about parenting equals bad form, spammy and incredibly poor content strategy. We see right through your self-promotion or sales efforts. We’re not as stupid as we may look.

3. Association spam

Randomly tagging or including the name of a prominent “Web celebrity” in your social content does not bring you more attention or increase your social “influence”(Klout-addicts pay attention!). In fact, it’s more likely that you’ll be viewed as a spammer, which will impact your “real-life” credibility and influence.

4. Stealth invitations

I’ve seen this a lot on LinkedIn where I’m invited to connect with someone or join a group with a note that “we’ve done business together,” worked together or are friends when in fact I’ve never heard of the person or association. Respect the medium and rules of the community. If you don’t know me, reach out on Twitter or call me. Don’t ask to be my friend on Facebook or for a connection on LinkedIn.

5. Multi-network-itis

I’m noticing a trend to connect with the same people across multiple networks, especially among the social marketing sect. Friendship, collaboration and conversations are great but run the risk of infecting you and your contacts with multi-network-itis, an ailment that has you spamming your friends with the same content across multiple networks. I myself have been afflicted by this bug, which has caused me to forget that I engage people in different networks for different reasons. And that I should respect that in what I share in each.

6. Deceptive titles

Yes! I’m interested in learning more about the impact of social media on HR practices… wait, what? When did this turn into a solicitation for consulting services? Be upfront about your intent. If you’re selling something — say it. If you’re promoting a cause — say so. If you want my support — ask for it. Don’t try and out-clever me through surreptitious campaigning.

7. Over-inviting

Sending blanket invites to everyone in your contact list (take note Facebook-addicts) is 100% guaranteed to receive a “decline” from me… and maybe an “unfriend” click. It tells me you’re not thinking of me, but yourself. You’re too lazy to consider if it’s right for me or if I’d care about the event. And if you’re not showing interest in my interests, why would I show any in yours?

8. Repetitive tweeting

I understand that the lifecycle of a tweet is short and that in our globally-connected environment we have time zones to consider so reposting tweets and links three times in a day to cover those factors might be considered acceptable. More than that and you’re probably spamming followers who do watch your stream more closely.

9. Fake events

Note: the launch of your next blog post is not an official “event” that requires invitations. Duh!

10. Soliciting “Likes”

The number one rule of sales is: ask for the business. When it comes to Likes, +1s, +Ks, etc. however, broadcasting requests for such action — or basically shaming people into it — makes you a social-spammer.

11. Automated, well, anything

Auto-DMs on Twitter in particular. No one can stand the invitations to view your most incredible, earth-shattering, must-see web site when we decide to follow you. I can’t believe people still do this. It’s so 2011.

12. Over-tagging

I noticed the other day that the “pictures of me” link on my Facebook account included an image of a llama. Huh? I know I need a haircut but surely it’s not that bad? What are my “friends” trying to tell me? If you wish to share an interesting picture — post it. If I’m following you, I’ll see it. If I’m not, clearly I don’t want to see it.

Did you recognize yourself in any of these? I did. Time to rethink, reset and re-engage.

Did I miss any? Please share what you consider social-spam in the comments below.

Featured image courtesy of  Thomas Hawk via Creative Commons.

Sam Fiorella


Sam Fiorella is a globetrotting interactive marketing strategist who has earned his stripes over the past 20 years in senior management roles with corporate sales &marketing teams as well as consulting for more than 30 marketing agencies. Sam’s experience with over 1600 Interactive projects during the past 15 years spans the government, finance & insurance, manufacturing, national retail and travel/tourism sectors. Currently, Sam is the Chief Strategy Sensei at Sensei Marketing, where he is charged with strategic campaign guidance and marketing technology development that power the Sensei Customer Lifecycle Methodology. Sam is a respected blogger and popular keynote speaker on marketing, branding and social media communications having presented at more than 200 conferences in the past 2 years. Follow Sam on Twitter or Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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