Twitter threatened by spammers and marketers

Twitter’s explosive growth has made it a target for spammers and paid promotions, which could put individuals off using the micro-blogging service according to a report in the Financial Times.

The article cited said Sean Corcoran, an analyst at Forrester research specializing in interactive marketing, saying, “Twitter’s growth pattern has attracted some unsavory activity. It almost has a Wild West feel to it.”

Unique users are now estimated at more than 32 million, up from 1.6 million a year ago. US traffic on the site increased 83% in April, according to comScore.

Apparently Izea, a Florida-based company that pays bloggers to write promotional copy for companies, is developing a Twitter product that will pay users to post sponsored tweets. Izea, formerly called PayPerPost, has attracted criticism in the past for to be upfront about its activities, the FT says.

Another company, Magpie, enables advertisers to take control of a user’s account and send out ads from it for a fee, which again is hardly in the spirit of tweeting.

While executives at these and other companies defend their business models, there is no doubt that many other see it as spam, and by definition, a nuisance.

And all this on top of malicious attacks have hit Twitter in recent weeks, compromising user accounts and in some cases infecting computers with malicious software.

As the FT points out, all this third party activity is somewhat ironic as the massively popular service hasn’t yet figured out a way to make money itself, while the likes of Dell reckons it has sold more than a million dollars’ of products through promotions and coupons on Twitter.