Marketers often use Twitter and Facebook to conduct contests to pull consumers’ attention toward their events or products. Anyone can participate and win the prize, but one man developed a Twitter bot which made everyone else’s chances of winning slim.
Just out of curiosity
Hunter Scott, the man behind this, created a Twitter bot that could on its own participate in every contest it could find without raising a red flag. The bot made by this 25-year-old engineer participated in nearly 165,000 contests in nine months and won prizes in 1,000 of them, Scott said in a post on Quartz.
Scott’s creation of the Twitter bot is quite similar to the plot in the 1985 movie Real Genius. In the movie, a computer expert creates a program to participate in contests and won a new RV and many other valuable prizes. Scott denies a connection with the movie but says it was just out of curiosity. The idea to develop such a program came when he was working at Motorola Solutions in Schaumburg last year as an electrical engineer.
“It was all just a giant experiment to see what would happen,” Scott said. “It turns out it works pretty well.“
Twitter bot won him many prizes
The prizes won by Scott ranged from trinkets to trips. The most valuable prize he won was a Fashion Week trip in New York worth $4,000, but he did not claim it as it excluded travel expenses. His favorite prize was a Mexican Telenovela stars’ signed cowboy hat. Some of the prizes won by Scott are still with him, while some he donated. “The things I couldn’t give away, I just threw out.”
The prizes were delivered to his Northwest suburban townhome through December until the so-called Twitter bot was strangely closed down.
“It probably just got reported by another user,” Scott said.
On Sunday, Scott was invited to a national radio interview on which he narrated how his automatic retweets won him prizes. However, he shied away from revealing his methodology, fearing it could inspire others to come up with similar technology for contests on Twitter and other social media sites.
“I have not released the code, although if you’re a programmer, it’s not very hard to implement,” Scott said.