tedster - 3:17 pm on Feb 18, 2011 (gmt 0)
whats to stop me creating a 'Tweet farm', similar to a link farm, that tweets and retweets each others content, spins it as it goes, and drops links back to my site?
That's been going on for a while. Algorithms are evolving to defend against it at the social sites themselves - and at Google too, I'm sure. Services like Klout are doing some amazing things in this direction. See [klout.com...] for recent changes they've made in measuring real influencers.
I've been involved recently in a lot of analysis of the complete Twitter data stream, and we are seeing that many bot patterns are not hard to detect. The biggest thing is that bots do not actually have any true influence - their "networks" do not overlap and bleed into other networks in a natural way because few real people actually follow them. There are other signals that can also be identified simply from natural language processing on the text of the tweets.
In the past two days on Twitter there was a kind of bot war we were watching closely. The network was growing its size and following real accounts at a rapid rate. At the same time, Twitter's algos were identifying the growing bot network within hours and de-activating those account. Seeing them bite the dust so fast was both amusing and hopeful for the future.
And if Twitter has evolved this level of analysis, I'm sure Google has, too.