Twitter is dead because it is now so popular that the spammers and the scammers have arrived in force. And history tells us that once they sink their teeth into something, they do not let go. Ever.
Twitter scams aren't new. But I've never seen so many hit in a single week or with such rigorous precision.
First there's the "ROFL" phishing scam that drives users to a fake log-in page to steal their credentials. Per IDG News' Bob McMillan:
The scam begins with a direct message -- one sent directly between two Twitter users -- that reads "ROFL this you on here?" and appears to link to a video site. When the victim clicks on the link, however, they are sent to a fake Twitter page and asked to log in. The scammers use that log-in information to automatically message the victim's contacts with the same direct message.
Why would a scammer want your Twitter logon? Because he/she needs to borrow your Twitter reputation for a little while -- just long enough to spew out spammy messages that send hapless twits to other Web pages where the scammers can abuse you further.
I've run into two other Twitter scams that have not been widely reported. They may not be new, but they both hit me over the same two days, and they're kind of similar.
One is ingeniously simple. The scammers create a fake profile with the picture of a pretty girl (like this one). The profile has no followers, and it doesn't follow anyone. On Twitter all you need to do to reach someone is to send them a "reply" containing their Twitter handle; even if they've never sent you a tweet it automatically goes into their feed. So the scammer sends @replies to people at random containing nothing but an abbreviated Web link. The ones I've seen drive people to a Web site by "Tammy Fisher" promoting Acai berries for weight loss. That's spam, pure and simple.
Scam No. 2: They create fake profiles of Boring White Men with handles like Edwardt42 or Georgel64, who have a mix of real and fake followers. How can you tell the difference? If the account has a picture of a smoking hot woman, it's probably a fake. These scammers know that, on Twitter, many folks scan the followers of their friends and pick out the good-looking ones to follow. (Not me, of course. I'm talking theoretically here.)