A recent survey published by eMarketer on Social Networks and Spam describes the many growing pains that social networks have and the effects it has on users and potential users. In the past year, respondents reported an average of 64 spam/junk “Friend Requests” on top social networks.
In the article from eMarketer it starts out with this stark statistic on social network spam:
In the past 12 months, more than four-fifths of social networking site users said they received unwanted (or spam) “friend” invitations, messages or postings on their social or professional network account, according to a Cloudmark-commissioned poll conducted by Harris Interactive.
As the e-mail platform tightens the holes that spammers use to sling their messages promoting Rolex watches, little blue pills, and penny stocks to invest in, they have taken their operations to social networks to get Internet users’ attention.
I go into great detail describing spam on social networks, I suggest you check it out.
Leading Social Networks tend to believe that spam accounts aren’t all that serious because, “hey, it’s another user,” in an effort to drive their user counts up and demand higher payouts from advertisers. It’s no different than ‘cooking the books’, but letting a minority of users do it for them.
I validate my theory with regard to the “AIM CRUSH” spam. It isn’t in AOL’s best interest to kill spammer accounts. They would love to let their Platform-A (their gang of Advertising platforms) know that their service is sending and receiving millions of messages daily with hundreds of thousands of people signed on simultaneously. In conclusion, Spammers drive up the value of a social network or service for the service and their investors.
But I disagree. (Sure it boosts value on the short-term, but SRSLY, social networks need to think long-term game plans.)
Spam on social networks damage [positive] user experiences. Spam damages a social network’s reputation among users. Spam accounts deceitfully increase the value of a social network that an advertiser may come across or an investor that wishes to acquire it. Spam attacks social network user’s trust and reputation as well as weakening the advertiser’s experience when no one clicks their ads.
Despite this, the users who do social networking still access most social networks on a daily basis. But the ones who don’t, don’t because of fear for their privacy and identity theft. This is probably because social networks bury the safety tips for users in the footer of their Web site instead of guiding them along through the stages of input.
The only way Social Networks will learn is when advertisers pull out of deals and vicariously force the social network of their choice to clean up their act. EMarketer has published updated numbers on the growth of ad revenue… while still pleasing to the eyes, they were reduced substantially from their prior publication.
I think it’s time social networks start to focus on quality, promoting positive and engaging user experiences instead of the adage, “Anything to get a page view,” mentality that some have today.
What do you think? Should social networks aggressively go after spammers to clean their act up?