Meet Radiodeactive: my Retweet to Win Twitter bot

It’s no secret that @radiodeactive is my ‘Retweet to Win’ Twitter bot.  She’s programmed to search Twitter, find ‘retweet to win’ competitions in the UK for me, and retweet them. Then I choose whether to follow the company who are doing the giveaway or not, and whether to ‘unretweet the tweet’ or leave it in place.  Radiodeactive is a fine tuned winning machine, who I’m very proud of.

It was all going kinda well, until a guy called Hunter Scott decided to fess up to his own ‘Retweet to Win’ bot, and how he’d won 1,000 prizes. Within a matter of days, there were a host  of unsophisticated bots trawling Twitter retweeting the most random tweets that looked like they may be competitions.  They were parsing competition entries incorrectly, and generally being an embarrassment to well-behaved bots everywhere.

Ironically, I only found out about Hunter Scott because Radiodeactive started retweeting the tweets relating to his story.

Eager to see how many other bots were roaming the Twittersphere, I decided to throw a tweet out there:

Initially there was only one RT from someone who wasn’t a friend: that was the retweet bot known as @MannysAlterEgo. Not particularly fine tuned, MannysAlterEgo seems to be retweeting an awful lot of ‘teen prizes’ – such as retweeting to win a solo DM with a boyband member, or voting in MTV’s Hottest.  It has no deduplication in place, so it’s retweeting the same tweets from different users for the same competitions multiple times, and will probably end up in Twitter Jail before too long.

Other bots soon got in on the action though. There was @themostunlucky who was a lot better designed than most, but retweeting a bunch of international comps. When asked, they claimed they were passing prizes on to pals in the USA: sounds good in theory, not so likely in practise, given the tax returns needed.

Very basic bots like KalGuntuku, John Buch and NiallFlorence used a ‘manual text RT’ to retweet other compers competition entries. They stripped out hashtags, and generally looked really suspect.

@jennym1979 seems like the best of the bunch so far, however, all the retweets are being posted as embedded tweets instead of actual retweets.

Do I believe a RT to Win bot is cheating? Not at all- I spent as many hours building and fine-tuning @radiodeactive as I would have finding and retweeting competitions (probably more). It was just a more enjoyable project for me than spending hours on Twitter.  Also, Radiodeactive does still have a lot of human intervention: I still enter twenty or more competitions a day manually. From me untweeting the competitions I’m not interested in, to adding more human communication with brands that are running a great competition, it’s not just pure automation.

To all newcomers in the word of RT to win bots, I wish you well – just please, stop retweeting Radiodeactive!