In social media, so much stuff is undocumented by social platform vendors:
- What is the specific maximum number of tweets you’re allowed to send per hour? (You get 1000 tweets per day. But beyond that, it gets fuzzy.)
- Why does Pinterest sometimes tell you “Slow down, you’re Pinning too fast?” What, exactly, is “too fast?”
You don’t have to be a spammer to hit limits when you’re doing something creative on a social platform [example: Firstborn’s epic Pinterest hack for Uniqlo].
So how do you figure this stuff out? Well, if you’re a huge brand spending a bit on paid media, you may have an account contact inside company who can feed you the inside dirt.
But another great way of figuring out all this undocumented stuff is hanging out with spammers/blackhat marketers (not in real life. in forums, chat, etc). As annoying as hearing about Viagra on Twitter is, the people behind those accounts actually talk to each other and share stuff they’ve figured out about Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, etc.
I’m not very interested in the field of “security” (firewall rules? zzzZZZZ). But there are areas of the domain that actually end up being really related to modern marketing.
For this reason, my ears and eyes perk up around stuff like Trend Micro’s recent research paper: Russian Underground 101 (warning: PDF link). (source of the image above)
While half of it is about straight-up illegal, destructive stuff that in no way would benefit a legit business (denial of service attacking a call center?!? yikes! (and also: why?)), the other half dances around stuff that any hands-on social media marketer has to interact with if he/she is a power user: proxy servers, VPNs, seo, traffic.
Trend Micro’s report is a read-only, and extremely high-level survey of the field. WiredUK(quoted below) wrote a feature with an hacker-heavy interpretation of the report.
Ultimately, the i-want-to-hack-a-person (boo!) communities are quite different and usually separate from the i-want-to-hack-a-platform communities. The latter will get you much closer to understanding modern platforms. Stuffy suits and law and enforcement tend to conflate the two. (For example, the reports covers both.) But basically if you’re a marketer: the former is a bit more boring/irrelevant.
So what’s the lesson for today? If you’re never satisfied with social platform documentation, you gotta stop depending on “official” documentation, and start listening to some shady characters. Turns out, they’re pretty reliable.
If you don’t wanna bother with that, you can subscribe to my mailing list, but I’m way more boring than spammers.
If you want to buy a botnet, it’ll cost you somewhere in the region of $700. If you just want to hire someone else’s for an hour, though, it can cost as little as $2—that’s long enough to take down, say, a call center, if that’s what you were in the mood for. Maybe you’d like to spy on an ex—for $350 you can purchase a trojan that lets you see all their incoming and outgoing texts. Or maybe you’re just in the market for some good, old-fashioned spamming—it’ll only cost you $10 for a million e-mails. That’s the hourly minimum wage in the UK.