I normally wouldn’t do this sort of thing, but I’m really bothered by this. I also know that we’re dealing with “The Internet”, things like this are to be expected. But I don’t have to be happy about it.
Early in September I got an e-mail notice about a new twitter follower. When I get these notices I like to investigate a little bit. I need to decide if I want to “follow back” or not.
With a twitter handle of “@diabetesfact”, and a large number of followers, I expected good content and a high level of interaction (usually the signs of someone worth following back).
But something just wasn’t right. There was no interaction or conversations, only a long stream of link pushing. That alone is reason enough to not follow back.
And that picture? She’s a little too polished. Some model picture or something from a magazine, maybe more likely some picture yanked from some other website.
Speaking of websites, I checked out the website in her twitter profile, which is also the same one she’s pushing in all of her tweets. Very fishy, but I’ll get into that in a second.
I used twitter to ask Joan if she was a real person:
@diabetesfact Hello? Are you a real person? You come off as a bit spammy, but I don't want to be mad at you until I'm sure.
— Scott K. Johnson (@scottkjohnson) September 5, 2010
No response. So I asked again a couple of days later:
@diabetesfact Hello? Are you a real person? I want to know your story. Who are you? What are you all about? You seem spammy. True/false?
— Scott K. Johnson (@scottkjohnson) September 7, 2010
Let’s take a quick peek at her website.
A bunch of advertisements and links for Amazon affiliate diabetes products and books. Almost every “blog post” either has comments turned off, or exactly 5 comments. The fake comments all link back to the Amazon product page, but are staged to look like real people commenting (some say good things, some bad).
It’s really a pretty elaborate scheme to get advertising revenue and affiliate money. And it pisses me off, so I’m putting them on blast.
Living with diabetes is challenging enough. We don’t need to deal with having to sort through crappy internet money-making schemes, snake-oil salespeople, or false hopes.
I have no problem with you selling diabetes related stuff. Just be transparent about it. Don’t try to come off as someone trying to share valuable information about diabetes, and shame on them for taking up a twitter name such as “diabetesfact.”
The sad thing? They’ve got more and more followers every day.