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Dear Tiny Post, please stop the shady practices (heydave.org)
46 points by dave1619 901 days ago | 18 comments



Hi. I'm at TechCrunch and this is an FYI. I saw this and reached out to Tiny Post and got a response. Short version: it was a test they were running and is now being taken down. Slightly longer story here http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/20/tiny-post-bot/

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Awesome, thanks for investigating and writing the story!

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Before you jump to conclusions, please be aware its definitely possible that TP isnt doing this directly but that it is a bot doing this to get these users more followers or something.

Keep in mind most networks have this problem ( twitter, fb, etc.. ) where users will follow anyone/anything to get themself more followers or traffic.

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Valid point. I'll update my blog post. But it's difficult to believe that 3rd parties would be that interested in Tiny Post. I can understand 3rd parties interested in gaining followers on Twitter, Pinterest, etc. But Tiny Post? I would imagine they're facing more a traction problem (trying to get users using their app) vs 3rd parties trying to gain more followers.

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If you were a 3rd party spammer/marketer company, and you thought Tiny Post was gonna be huge, you'd probably jump on it fast and spam the *$^% out of it.

So it's very possible it could be a spammer getting on board early.

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True, but as a 3rd party spammer/marketer company why would you think Tiny Post is going to be huge?

Usually you'll need some indication that this is the next big thing, or at least that this app is taking off. I just don't see Tiny Post hyped in the press at all.

Also, looking at all the people these fake users are following, most of them aren't active and haven't posted much. Doesn't seem like a flourishing ecosystem where 3rd party marketers would be attracted to.

But then again, I could be wrong. I've added this point to my post and also I've tweeted the Tiny Post founders as well, hoping to hear a reply.

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The too-hip photos give them away as fakes. Looks like they are all from models and fashion blogs:

http://seedofstyle.com/manila-streets/

http://www.iamgalla.com/2012/07/70s-groove.html

http://kolonelmustard.tumblr.com/image/28952930859

I'm not saying you should do this kind of astroturfing (please don't)... but if you wanted to, a more realistic feeling way would be to use the FB Graph API and randomly select names and photos from there. Example: https://graph.facebook.com/4?fields=picture,id,name,first_na...

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The backlash from using real private-individual photos on a service without their permission would be large than using model shots (for which there's a chance TinyPOst has the rights).

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Maybe I missed it, but I couldn't see how it was 'obvious [that] Tiny Post is running these fake accounts as bots in order to fool their users.'

The argument seems to be 'Accounts which look like bots are posting on my otherwise dormant account, therefore the service provider is using shady practices to try and re-engage me.'

It is not a stretch to believe that this is the case, however it is equally plausible (to me) that the alleged bot accounts are run by a third party. I might have missed some aspect of the argument, however.

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I signed up for but never used Tiny Post, and I'm still getting emails about people following me. People with very similar accounts to the ones Dave mentioned.

For example, check out this profile: http://tinypost.co/users/jonig/#tab1

If you go through the list of people that "Joni" follows, you'll see that most of them don't seem to have posted anything either.

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Yeah, that profile has the same stats as the people following me: 4 posts, around 3000 likes and 7000 following. Plus the user looks like an attractive model.

I wonder how many of these fake profiles they have going. I would love to hear what Tiny Post was/is thinking.

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this doesn't look good.

Reverse image on that profile pic and it comes up with a person not called Joni Gilbert.

http://lookbook.nu/look/3792401-Sport-chic

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I was about to post the same thing. Both the posts and the profile pictures seem to come from Pinterest.

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I am amused by whatever they've concocted to create those paint-by-numbers hipster meme-y images.

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The images seem to be lifted from Pinterest(Google Image search found a lot of the photos on the fake profiles on Pinterest, among other sites, but Pinterest was the common one).

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Linked to from there is: http://tinypost.co/users/abhishek888/#tab1

It's like a self-growing ghost town.

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This is why I think CAN-SPAM shouldn't exempt "transactional or relationship messages" (and I send over 75,000 e-mails a week..!) Every automated/transactional mail, commercial or otherwise, should have an unsubscribe link or mechanism these days due to the noise.

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Can someone explain the USP of tiny post? It looks like it's a pinterest clone.

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