TrueTwit Not Customer-centric, Epic Ad Fail, SteinVoxToday, I have five emails “@___ uses TrueTwit validation service. To validate, click here:” I’ve been a lemming, silently typing the advertisement tagline, until this post. Today, I rationally determine that TrueTwit is not customer centric.

While I like the concept of TrueTwit to create better brand audiences, I believe it unknowingly creates barriers and the user experience algorithm is flawed. It can, and should be fixed through innovation and design thinking.

For the record, Google “truetwit is spam” or “truetwit is annoying” and you will see that I’m not the first, but maybe unique in the scenario analysis.

In building a social following for business, at first glance TrueTwit appears it can help. The net long-term result is probably not helpful. If you feel TrueTwit helps you weed out spam know that it also disenfranchises your audience.

TrueTwit is not customer-centric in converting your social audience into potential customers. Caution is in order. Recall that Twitter helps businesses develop an expanding brand audience such that you can create and capture value. That is value defined by Drucker and Kottler. TrueTwit creates a barrier between your brand and its potential Twitter audience.

Experience Shows TrueTwit is Not Customer-centric

  • Recently, I was followed by a Dude Ranch in the western US, (Keepign them anonymous). They found me.
  • I have been interested in dude ranch vacations; their follow caught my eye, and invited me to be part of their audience.
  • So, I followed them back. Thinking, “wow, this is interesting, their marketing strategists knew what I was thinking!”
  • Imagine my shock when I received a direct message (DM) TrueTwit notice. They found me, and I’m trying to become their customer!
  • After already expending the effort to follow-back, I now had to type in the answer to an advertisement for TurboTax?  Seriously?

I estimate that this experience took 3 to 5 minutes, and so does it take time for every person forced by someone that followed them first, to use TrueTwit. For a brand, as in this case the Dude Ranch, that adds up to significant negative sentiment. Using big data and sentiment analytics this no doubt converts to real lost revenues.

Bad Approach

If you are a business, brand, or an individual using Twitter to develop a following, TrueTwit builds a negative customer experience with your audience and prospective customers from the very first interaction. Here’s why:

  1. TrueTwit’s approach doesn’t make it easy and is disrespectful of the follower’s time. The required steps force your audience to take orders of magnitude more time (read an email, click on a link, go to a browser window, read advertising, type in a phrase from the ad, and hope they didn’t mistype it,…, just to become YOUR follower, and part of YOUR audience.)
  2. TrueTwit’s approach is doubly horrid on mobile. loading the advertisement takes forever, the data YOU pay for in your mobile carrier plan, reading the captcha or advertisement is impossible without magnification, glasses, and typing in the answer with your thumbs is error prone, costing more of your time and data plan.
  3. TrueTwit’s approach exposes your audience to untargeted advertising, that they don’t want to see, or may already be customers of.
  4. TrueTwit’s approach uses you as the pawn to collect advertising revenues (are you getting enough of that back to make it worthwhile to treat your audience this negative way?)
  5. TrueTwit’s intent is good, but this approach creates a conflict of interest in the ultimate result – building a great audience and creating value.

Here’s the conflict, you want to build an audience to sell YOUR brand. TrueTwit is selling advertising of a third party, making you the mule to generate their business – heaven forbid they advertise a competitive product to validate your audience. YOUR audience has the bad experience.  It seems better to give your audience a great experience, and have a few spammers than to lose potential customers.

What Should TrueTwit Do?

Clearly, they have a good idea, and (potentially in their intent) provide a profound and valuable service. TrueTwit’s response might be “We have thousands of customers all satisfied with our service. And SteinVox should get the Mobile app, and become one of our customers.” That doesn’t mean it works for the long-term. The CMO at TrueTwit could analyze the customer experience scenarios and focus on generating value for both subscribers, followers and advertisers.

The TrueTwit captcha option is in the right direction, but it doesn’t shorten the overall time it takes, requiring typing, application loading and switching from email, to browser, to twitter, and so on. This consumes time and productivity.

Innovate or Die

These stories (see the google links) identify interesting barriers – and opportunity for disruption. If TrueTwit doesn’t do it, the lack of customer-centricity will drive a competitor to develop a better solution. Look at Netflix and how they have innovated over and over, sometimes with rocky transition, but always forward, and market-driving.

Advertiser Mistake

When advertisers require repeated user interaction to get past it in order to get something done, it builds a wall of negativity between the audience and that brand. If I were the CMO of TurboTax, Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cereal, Farmers Insurance or DISH satellite service on TrueTwit, I would do some research, and quick.

How many times have you typed “Get The Hopper?” Annoyed? It can’t be good to have the twitter universe annoyed by your brand. Customers of these products may leave them, and prospective customers will position these brands as “annoying” before all value claims.

The lesson and rule here for advertisers is: don’t abdicate responsibility for brand user experience. TrueTwit associates a negative experience to the brands it advertises when it forces typing in a tag line, repeatedly. I’ve typed taglines hundreds of times in TrueTwit, and I will not buy those products.


I’m not the first to make this observation. I may be the first to document the irony of the customer experience in these terms:

  1. being found as a prospect by a business account,
  2. being followed on twitter,
  3. following them back,
  4. forced to perform an annoying act by being asked type in another unassociated brand tag line,
  5. thereby defeating the purpose of the original business’ effort to prospect for followers, an audience, and prospective customers by the original business.

Understand that like everyone else, I don’t like to receive direct messages from shady sources, or spam, either. I use tools (e.g., Hootsuite and Tweetdeck) to ignore the noise and exercise good judgment in reading valuable tweets. Spam is ultimately not eliminate-able, it is only controllable.

I use Twitter to communicate with followers of my business writing. I have a twitter philosophy, and it’s posted. Perhaps I need to add these thoughts on TrueTwit, and its absolute miss-the-mark approach.

How we can change this? First, consider the customer experience scenarios with TrueTwit. If it is a negative, barrier, annoyance or hurdle to build your community, think carefully about it. Second, influence TrueTwit directly to innovate a better approach and true spam tool that does not alienate followers before they even become.

Image Credit: me.

11 Responses to Five Reasons Why TrueTwit Is Not Customer-centric

  1. David says:

    Fantastic Article, thanks for the great read. Here’s my input I have researched this Phenomenon. Around 80% of true twit users have a problem which has not yet been spoken about. Many of true twit accounts have very very high tweet counts and low follower counts. It makes them look like tweet spammers, they probably not it’s most likely because hardly anyone follows them back, but they still keep on tweeting and over time the problem develops. It becomes a double edged sword, you have true twit and also the appearance of a tweet spammer, it kills the account. If I look at an account and it has 500 followers and has tweeted say 2,000 times I will ignore it because to me it looks like a tweet spammer. I firmly believe that if your tweet count is excessively higher than your follow count that to me indicates a problem connected with the account. This problem affects lots of true twit users. I believe true twit is very destructive when applied to an account especially over long periods of time. More Education is what’s required, it really makes you wonder, do true twits ever use Google?

    • Andrew Stein says:

      You make a good point. TwuTwt is like inbreeding, of a sort. the gene pool is bound to get small, if one cuts out diversity. And, I still don’t know how NOT letting someone follow you, prevents spam. One can send a DM to anyone – followed or not, twutwtted or not. It just makes no sense.

  2. Robert says:

    Have seen much written about TrueTwit over the years but you have hit upon something that really rings home, ticks all the boxed. I really cannot understand why people use that service. It’s so outdated, so 1989.

    • Andrew Stein says:

      Thank you Robert,
      I’m reminded of that old Apple commercial, where the people, focused like Lemmings marching off a cliff to their death, are awoken by the hammer throw through the screen.
      What will it take? TwuTrit has created lemmings out of individuals giving them a false sense of “spam control”, when it defeats the very purpose and intent of twitter – which is to build big community, and reach.

  3. Andrew,

    Thanks for writing what needed to be said. The TrueTwit experience is absolutely not customer-centric. It’s 100% frustrating. I agree with JT… TrueTwit should be seamless to your customers. Instead, what it’s caused me to do is not follow someone if a TrueTwit validation is required. It’s too much of a PITA.

    Doing something that turns customers away is never a good business practice.

    Annette 🙂

    • Andrew Stein says:

      Thank you, Annette. Knowing of your customer-centric thinking, I think you have identified the only effective way to deal with this until TruTwt innovates a method that is one-click simple, and catalyzes real connections. Until then, my TruTwt filter sends these into the delete bucket.

      Interestingly, a few of my close blog readers send me private mail that this blog post was caught by their email provider’s spam filter, and they only saw it by the tweets. That implies that TruTwt has an even bigger issue – the spam filters at the major spam databases are taking them out. All the more reason for businesses, job seekers, and connectors like us, to stay away from it, lest we inadvertently get associated with something (like TruTwt) that competes with the primary goal of “connecting” and “creating value.”

  4. Kell Sloan says:

    Great observations this morning. As I am reading your thoughts this morning, I go back to a couple articles you have written, especially the one about neuromarketing where you state that “marketing is about people, understanding…developing products and services to satisfy..” an it’s readily apparent that TrueTwit fails on all accounts.
    As you have stated Neuromarketing is about designing a product or service for the habitual mind where every element of the design, its form, functionality, intangibles, etc. focus on creating specific and habitual behaviors. It’s obvious to use that the design process wasn’t guided by a habit-forming or customer-centric philosophy, as the designers would understand that users are unwilling to go through multiple hoops to use a product that should be intuitive to use. I recently read a study that stated that cellphone users are unwilling to go beyond two clicks to access a function, apparently TrueTwit doesn’t have access to open-source market intelligence.

    What I like about JT’s comment is his implication that the TT designers do not know their end users very well and the third party advertisers haven’t spent anytime observing actual customers using the product in a natural context. I’d love to a fly on the wall in brand reputation meetings when the shine of TT starts wearing off and advertisers start looking at the damage TT is doing to their reputation and market share.

    • JT Pedersen says:

      Hello Kell,

      I might refine the implication a bit…  TrueTwit is essentially a pass-through service.  In ideal circumstances, their existence should be as close to 100% transparent to the end user (the one ultimately funding the entire value chain) as possible.

      I suspect that the TT designers are focused on their product with minimal regard for the customer effectively hiring them.  In turn, I believe it’s TrueTwit’s customers that do not know their end users preferences and behaviors well at all.

      Good discussion:)

  5. JT Pedersen says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Great piece this morning.  I feel your discussion of TrueTwit’s negative value proposition is spot-on.

    Yes, spam is an issue.  A bigger issue is finding people to become your customers in the first place…without annoying them along the way.

    TrueTwit in my view is nothing other than a CAPTCHA system tied into a marketing feed.  It is a detractor and annoyance for customers made worse by the fact they’re being subjected to irrelevant third party advertising.

    If I attempt to follow you, and get a TrueTwit response, I assume a couple things:

    You are insensitive to your customer/follower experience;

    You neither need nor want my business, otherwise you would be addressing the prior point.

    As a result, I ignore TrueTwit anymore and proceed elsewhere.



  6. Jim Matorin says:

    Interesting. To me Twitter is still one big experiment for my company and one company I conduct for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *