By John Eberhard

Here’s a sequence of actions I have been observing over the past 6-8 years.

  1. Social media sites spring up.
  2. Social media sites become popular.
  3. People start using social media sites to market products and services.
  4. Social media sites take actions to block or stop people from marketing via their sites.

Two more things happened in the past week.

  1. Twitter stopped a third party product called Tweet Adder from having access to their API, effectively killing the product. I have been using Tweet Adder for years. It is a great product, allowing you to follow people according to various criteria so you could follow people who were your potential prospects. You could also unfollow people who didn’t follow you back within a certain amount of time.

    The product also allowed you to set up what are called “auto tweets.” You could write a bunch of tweets, say 50-100, then load them into the system. Then they would get sent to your list of followers on a random basis, at a certain number per day that you would specify. This was extremely effective in generating traffic to my own and to client web sites, as these tweets would always have links to our web site content.

    I learned recently that Twitter sued Tweet Adder in 2012, and now they have shut them down completely.

    This is only the latest in a long line of actions taken by Twitter to stop people from using the platform to market anything. It used to be that you could follow hundreds of people a day. I did this with my own account which now has 18,000 followers, and with various client accounts, several of which have over 5,000 followers.

    Then Twitter started limiting the number of people you could follow per day, until you could only follow 5-10 people a day. Even then they would sometimes suspend your account for being overly aggressive. Their rules said that being overly aggressive in following people made Twitter an environment that “wasn’t nice.” How touchy-feely. Not sure how that affects anyone in a negative fashion. How would people even know you were following a lot of other people?

  2. LinkedIn suspended the account of one of my clients, because we had been using the LinkedIn email system to send emails to their connections. I have been doing this for years for my clients and it has been working great. Of course we’d get an occasional complaint and of course we’d take people off that list and they wouldn’t get the LinkedIn emails any more.

Anyway, social media sites are clamping down, trying to prevent people from marketing via social media. I think it’s disgusting. Of course it’s their prerogative. But I can’t disagree strongly enough.