Sunday, November 20, 2011

A semi-scammy, semi-spammy new thing on Twitter


Ceciliadxp Turns out _fat_, drunk, and stupid IS a way to go through life. Take THAT, Dean Wormer. A tweet reading '@bjkeefe...

I think this is the first time I've had my content misappropriated for commercial use in that way.

Clicking the link in the quoted tweet takes you to a page on some site called (, in this case).

This site, AdFly, is apparently a link-shortening service whose shortened links first bring people to a page displaying ads. After five seconds, a "Skip Ad" button appears. Clicking that button then takes you to onto the desired destination, presumably the link supplied to to begin with.

I should say that a quick look around indicates that AdFly itself appears to be on the up-and-up; e.g., clear domain ownership, a good review (as far as these sorts of things go, at least), and they even have their own Twitter feed. AdFly is not hiding what they're about. However, it seems to me that eventually, more and more people will come to know what clicking on one of their link entails and they'll start avoiding them. And in any case, even AdFly's sales pitch ("Earn more than $4.00 / 1000 visitors to your links") hardly makes the whole thing seem worthwhile. Except, of course, to people like "Cecilia Hackworth" who will automate the process of gathering links based on keywords and use them to spam social media sites.

I suppose I don't think using AdFly-shortened links should be out and out banned by Twitter* and other social media sites. However, I do think Twitter and the others should not allow AdFly links that are masked by being sent through a second URL-shortening service. And, I guess, I'm not particularly thrilled by having a link to my site appear to be associated with this service.

* Twitter, as you probably know, will show the expanded URL if you hover your mouse over a shortened URL, at least for the more well-known shortening services, so in this case, hovering over the link shows that you're going to be directed to an AdFly page. And there's always LongURL.

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