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Habitat Charged of Using Hash Tag to Spam Twitter Users

Following the revelation of scam in which Habitat, a furniture retailer in London, used hash tags to send spam messages to Twitter users, the retailer has come under severe criticism.

According to news reports, Habitat had privilege to use hash tags by which users could trace the topic of conversation on Twitter to endorse marketing messages though they were not related to the topic.

Investigation into the scam revealed that 'HabitatUK' (Twitter feed of the furniture company) publicized marketing messages like - Spring collection at 20% OFF - by using various tags such as #iPhone, #mms and #Apple. Besides, Habitat exploited the Iranian election to market this little gem - Join the database to win a £1000 gift card absolutely free.

However, all the Twitter users collectively condemned the abuse by the furniture company.

As the news of spam tweets is violently spreading across the social networking website, the furniture retailer has taken up the job of deleting all offending tweets and is replacing them with original products. Illegitimate tweets are also replaced by sales producing tweets that contain links to various web pages.

A Habitat spokeswoman said that the company had committed a mistake which they were checking now. The company showed optimistic gesture by claiming of listening to everything, considering on board observations and welcoming constructive criticism. It also promised of doing everything necessary and would take care of not repeating the mistake again, as reported by mad on June 23, 2009.

Antony Mayfield, Head of Social Media at iCrossing, a digital agency, said that brands should first comprehend the social networks and then use them for a marketing purpose, as reported by mad on June 23, 2009.

Mayfield further added the company should have first understood the networks, but Habitat learnt at the technical level and not at the social level.

Mayfield concluded that brands didn't misconceive that it had happened on a social network and people outside it wouldn't be able to know about it.

Meanwhile, the retail furniture retailer has reduced the offending tweets, but the damage to its reputation has already been done.

Hence, it is very important to know the netizen behavior before initiating such marketing plans.

» SPAMfighter News - 7/3/2009

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