How many spam accounts are following you on Twitter?

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Sometime last week, @YukoFinnegan923 started following me on Twitter. A few days later, she stopped following me. Y U NO FOLLOW ME YUKO? I just now tried to find the account and it no longer exists. Fortunately, I took a screenshot of @YukoFinnegan923 from “Minneapolis, MN” while that cutie still existed. I already knew it was a spam account. That URL still works and goes to The website offers an assortment of Internet tomfoolery, such as backlinks to gin up you search-engine optimization (SEO) results, sites with 1,000 Google +1’s built-in, Twitter accounts with 500 followers at the ready, etc. I’ve long been fascinated by the ways people are tricked by the Internet. Recently, Newt Gingrich’s hapless presidential campaign was accused of buying twitter followers. Gingrich’s campaign denied it. The former Speaker of the House got his 1.3 million followers legitimately, his campaign said. Some reporters and pundits also scoffed. But then a new a people-search site, PeekYou, claimed it had researched Gingrich’s Twitter account and found only 8 percent of his followers were human. Douglas Main at Popular Mechanics wrote an excellent piece about trying to figure out what number of followers anybody has are spam or phony. I decided to do a little investigating of my Twitter followers. More

The dark arts of Google search manipulation

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Use The Google!

A new Google Translate app is now available for iPhones, and it does an amazing job (a version for Android phones was released last month). You can dictate something in English and it will show up as text (or you can type directly), then you translate what you said into another language, which can then be spoken aloud by the app. It can work in the opposite way, depending on what language is being translated.

Google has so many good, free services. I use Gmail, Google docs, maps, the RSS Reader. I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s available. The search engine, of course, is the most important. It’s still incredible for finding stuff, but it is becoming polluted by companies that have learned search engine optimization, or SEO. More