Thread updated, the last bot net is now manned after I found it, but is still re-tweeting away! Additionally, H/T to Mark Buchanan for reporting on the issue, he writes “Could the same happen in the U.S. and Europe?” Yes, and it’s happening now, but the bot nets are getting better, moving beyond poorly created now. Read Mark’s piece here
Andrew Kalven has found another bot-net on Twitter, post updated
Update: July 21 5:57PM
Andrew Klavan has discovered another bot net:
You might be wondering why I know so much about bot-nets, that would be because I’ve created them for clients, and one of the focuses of our business is web automation (read more here).
Poorly constructed bot nets are very easy to spot because they are famous for not having a profile picture or cover image on Twitter, thus defaulting to the profile ‘egg image’ on Twitter.
On Facebook most bot-nets will use the picture of a smokin’ hot girl in a compromising position, and that account will ramble on about 1 or 2 subjects, post links to products, or click-bait stories, from here to eternity.
Another way that you can easily can spot a bot-net is by the usernames (like the examples in the image on the right), notice the random strings of numbers after the username.
The reason for this character string is so that your profile creating robot doesn’t accidentally run into an real live person with the same username, which would cause the ‘account creator bot’ to crash.
SIDEBAR: Bot nets are the reason that Twitter’s stock is going down, but the number of users is going up. Bot nets cause ad impressions to go up but return on investment for advertisers to go down. Click-bots are the bane of pay-per-click advertisers.
A well executed bot net can drive massive amounts of traffic to your websites, additionally, you can program your bots to spread a political message, send links to your products, etc.
If you are almost instantaneously attacked on Twitter or Facebook for something that you post, it’s most likely a bot net that is setup to reply to negative (or any) message.
Bot Nets Have a Lot of Shady Friends
Another hallmark of a bot net is looking at their friends, if you look at the following image on the left, you will notice that they are all following one another, and they have no description. DO NOT go to any of their profiles if you are at work, they are 99% porn (don’t say that I didn’t warn you).
This is a no-no in the bot-net community, you should never link them together! When 1 account gets banned they all do, totally a ‘jayvee’ move. Also, this screams ‘automation’ since none of the descriptions are completed.
However, we should give this guy props for at least having a profile picture and a cover image, but they are used to get the male juices flowing so that the person will click the ad and go to the porn site where they will earn a portion of the signup fee (affiliate commission).
Very Effective When Used Correctly!
While the run-of-the-mill bot creator is usually fixed on getting paid an affiliate commission, there new creators are focusing on a higher goal, winning elections.
The following article in Bloomberg details how one man was convicted, and currently in prison, for helping to fix the results of elections, his tactics were very effective if you read the article. With this in mind I’ve been on the lookout for bot supporters of any political persuasion.
I’ll make it a point to show you many more!
Bot Nets Have Good Uses Too
A good bot net could be very useful for catching online criminals, online forensics, as well as busting other bot-nets, so they can be used for good, or used to break the law just like anything else…