Researching companies in the Competitive Intelligence space uncovers spam & Twitter abuse

Disclaimer: we built a product for researching competition.  Part of its core functionality is monitoring Twitter activity related to a given company and determining where their popularity is coming from, and who is influencing it.

Naturally, we’re testing the product by monitoring other companies in the Competitive Intelligence space, so we know what we’re up against.  The list of companies we added was determined by questions we’ve been asked by prospects, “how does iTrend compare against X in terms of Competitive Intelligence?”.

One company, Owler, immediately stood out due to  some very unusual patterns.  Here’s the list of their most active promoters (Top 20 are shown, looks like the real number is closer to 45):

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 3.17.32 PM

Notice anything unusual?  Normally, for a typical company, the list would be populated by people with “social influence” (lots of followers): writers, tech bloggers, celebrities… but this one appears to be completely manufactured.  If you look at any of these accounts closely, their job is to spam companies alphabetically, asking them to complete their “profile” on Owler:

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 3.40.36 PM

Each of these company controlled accounts has sent tens of thousands of messages to unsuspecting companies, who are tricked into thinking someone is interested in them (note the language, “The Owler community added a new company profile”.

What do you think?  Does this look like a legitimate marketing method?

Talk to me on Twitter @iTrendTV

Technologist, parallel entrepreneur. Interests: travel, photography, big data, analytics, predictive modeling.

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