Thursday, February 12, 2009

TweeterGetter redux

As noted in my previous post on the subject, TweeterGetter is essentially an Internet marketing chain letter, Ponzi, whatever you want to call it -- but one in which the currency is Twitter "followers," not money, and one which is transparent enough that allegations of a fraud or scam ring hollow.

Yes, the thing is going to tail off at some point. Yes, the people who got in early and/or promoted it will do better than the people who got in late and/or didn't. This should be obvious. Right now, though, the thing is only in its second day of existence. The "ground floor" is still open.

Before I go any further, I'll plug my TweeterGetter page. Check it out. If you're interested in building a larger Twitter network, it's a plausible way to do so at this point. I've picked up about 30 "followers" since signing on.

Here's how it works:

- You go to someone's TweeterGetter page, probably because they promoted that page to you in some way (like I just did).

- You fill out a form. This form, when submitted, sets you to "follow" five individuals on Twitter, plus the program's founder (who is making out like a bandit, and good on him!). It also posts a "retweet" on your Twitter account about TweeterGetter which goes out to all of your followers.

If it stops there, you've got nothing (except the following screen, which is an "upsell" of a "special report" on how to market using Twitter). After all, the people receiving your retweet are already your followers, right? The only people who benefit from it are the four people above you in the program, and the program's founder.

That part has thrown a few people for a loop, so let me explain the next part simply. It doesn't stop there, at least not if you're wanting to actually gain from the program.

Also created is a new TweeterGetter page, this one ending with your Twitter ID, ie:

If you promote that page -- email your friends about it, blog about it, use traffic exchange credits or paid traffic to put it in front of people, etc. -- then the people who sign up there will be following you (and the four people above you, and the program's founder) on Twitter. And the people who sign up under them, four more levels down, will also be following you on Twitter.

Like I said, eventually it will get down to a level where there just aren't any more interested and easily reachable recruits, and the last generation of signers won't really benefit. On the other hand, all they'll have "invested" is following five people and the program's creator, plus whatever promotional effort they made. It's not like you're being asked to have your gold teeth pulled and melted down or anything. And they (or me, or you) can stop following anyone, anytime, with a couple of clicks.

There is, however, a certain amount of angst going around about TweeterGetter.

JoelComm, who seems to be a bit of a Twitter expert, is cold to the idea because it does not, in his opinion, constitute "organic social networking." To each their own, I guess. I don't see that it's especially different from many of the techniques people use to score "friends" on MySpace or Facebook, or that non-organic artifices necessarily produce poor results.

RossGoldberg asks, and the question is relevant, "Why build up followers that don't know, like, or trust you?" He's apparently more interested in a small circle of friends than a large list of followers (and potential followees).

Personally, I think RossGoldberg is writing off a big part of the way the social milieu works. I don't see any particular reason why a friendship or relationship can't start with, rather than precede, a Twitter association.

I mean, sure, I go to the bar with my existing friends, but when I was single, I also often went to the bar and chatted up ladies I hadn't known when I walked in the door. And I still occasionally meet someone and develop some sort of continuing relationship with him or her because we both happened, for one reason or another, to be in the same place at the same time. Twitter is a place where you "meet" people you know. Ideas like TweeterGetter make it into a place to meet people you don't know ... yet. Nothing wrong with that.

I figure there's a good chance that a high percentage of my TweeterGetter-acquired "followers" will eventually decide they don't care for the stuff I tweet about (mostly politics) and "unfollow" me. That's fine -- if they're not interested, I don't want to clutter up their Twitter feed. I may eventually "unfollow" one or more of those I "followed" to get into the program. That's fine, too.

On the other hand, I expect I'll also acquire lasting relationships -- new readers for my blogs, or even new friends -- from the thing as well. For now, I'm at least as interested in the whole discussion about it as in promoting it. But yeah, I'll promote it. I just did. Again.

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