A few weeks ago, I was followed on Twitter by @UK_Construction, which purported to be someone called ‘Eric Wellington’ who offered: “Tweets for UK construction professionals featuring the latest news, expertise and intelligence from the Building industry,” and the reassuring avatar featured a man in a site hard-hat (though, with the benefit of hindsight, the photograph does look familiar – perhaps it’s a photo-library stock shot?).
I followed the account (which is not to be confused with the useful @UKConstruction account run by Su Butcher), and was initially encouraged when some of my updates were re-tweeted, but I got suspicious as it became clear that the RTs were entirely random. As well as my work-related tweets, occasional tweets about cycling, transport issues and even – yesterday – lost hamsters were RTed by @UK_Construction. Moreover, repeated tweets appear daily: “If you’d like to bring in better prospects…”, “Want to get extra visitors…”, “If you’d like to get better site traffic...”.
A closer look at the output from this account showed it is a false account apparently set up by a US-based company, ‘High Gear Marketing’ aka ‘Get TwitterFollowers’ (“200 followers for $9.95″). The domain is registered to a Andrea Bauernfeind of Los Altos in California (as are other domains such as baby-gift.info and upskirtsite.info), and despite its home page claims that “Real people will follow you not fake accounts”, it appears that fake Twitter accounts such as @UK_Construction are being created to help market its services.
Some people will obviously pay to increase their number of Twitter followers, and quantity can seem more important than quality, but this is a low-grade follower that hopes most people will auto-follow or not look too closely and notice the dross being spewed between the RTs. No original content arises from this account; it wastes your time and other people’s. I’ve blocked the account and reported it to Twitter for spamming. If you follow or are followed by @UK_Construction, I suggest you do the same.