Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mashable think I'm spammy

Just woke up to read that think I'm spammy and should go away because my application isn't 'novel' enough.

My response;

Hi Peter,

I'm the developer thats 'not being sued' according to you.

Not exactly sure what the difference between a "hand over your business, your domain and your software within 12 days" or we'll see you in court and "Being Sued" is but thats for another time.

Firstly, when i along with 300 other NY based developers were invited by Twitter to their "Dev-Nest" event here in New York 6 months ago one of the API functions they demonstrated is exactly what my code now does.

What exactly do you have an issue with about how I use the publicly defined API?

If Twitter doesn't want people to auto-follow then turn off that function on the API

If i wrote an application that tracked "URL's where Mashable are mention" - would this also be spammy?

Basically I'm just replicating what, and half a dozen other applications already offered, just I'm doing it from the desktop instead of the cloud.

Yes I concede I'll maybe have to change the domain and change the application icon but i'm not doing anything that you couldn't already do by going to yourself.

Are you suggesting they also going to stop people from following users who search function on the Twitter homepage?

You are more than welcome to call to get my side of the story (nice bit of journalism you reach our to Fenwick and West but not me)

Dean Collins


  1. And they're right Dean. Be honest here. Where do you think denial is getting you? You made a couple bucks, got caught, game's up. Move on.

  2. Andy,

    what exactly is it that you have an issue with about my application?

    As you know I originally built it so i could follow baseball posts.

    Are you saying it's ok for me manually to go to and search for the term "Mets" and follow people who write about baseball BUT not to automate the process?

    Would a Macro or firefox plugin to do the same be illegal in your eyes?

    I'm at a loss to understand why the offer the functionality on the API if they dont want people to use the API?

  3. It's not the sheer act of autofollowing, but the patterns and rhythms to it. From everything I've seen/heard from you about it to date, the intent really feels more like "gain as many followers as you can given a certain target subject matter" than "I want to follow people tweeting about a certain subject." You can spin it now, but I believe past email threads buried in my GMail archive speak otherwise.

  4. "the intent really"

    lol so what you are saying is it's not the tool but the intent?

  5. Absolutely. Which is what the conversations on the dev list have always revolved around. They offer the tool, but it's possible to abuse it. Certain patterns of behavior indicate abuse. Unfortunately they've never been uber-specific about those patterns, but that is of course to protect their anti-spam measures from being easily or quickly circumvented.

  6. but it's not my account thats being closed - I'm basically being told to stop selling software for an action that i can already do on

  7. OK, so do it on :) Might I recommend a comfortable chair, wrist braces, an ergo keyboard and trackball? Or some cheap elance or odesk labor?

  8. lol yep i hadn't thought of that, so if i outsourced someone to sit in a desk and follow "Mets" posters BUT stayed within the twitter max followers per day etc (which my application already does), then thats ok.

    lol you can see why i'm confused exactly what they have the issue with.

  9. This seems like an ideal application of Amazon's Mechanical Turk, thinking about it ... dangit, you're making me evil Dean. Well, evil-er.