Twitter Search Results for “Larry Merchant” Littered with Spam
On September 17th of 2011, boxing fans worldwide tuned into what was expected to be one of the more exciting matches of the year. The highly revered and undefeated Floyd Mayweather, Jr. returned to the ring after a 16-month break to face Victor Ortiz, who entered the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as the World Boxing Council welterweight champion. The bout ended with a fourth round knockout of Ortiz by the highly favored Mayweather, albeit via what some called in cheap shot fashion. During the post-fight interview conducted by renowned analyst, Larry Merchant, Mayweather justified his fourth round actions and retaliated against Larry’s questions about the controversial ending. At the end of his rant, Mayweather insulted Larry and demanded he be fired by HBO. Larry stamped the verbal exchange by stating that if he were fifty years younger he’d “kick” Mayweather’s “@*$.” As unlikely as that would ever be, the heated verbal exchange stunned the viewing masses, and online spammers quickly took note.
The day after the fight, Twitter search results became littered with tweets from fake users or bots using “Larry Merchant” as the keyword. The tweets contained links to spam websites about travel and cheap flight fares, and car and health insurance, all of which seemingly used the same design template. Sample URLs included:
zveloLABS noticed that the domains were only registered for one year–a common characteristic of malicious, phishing and spam websites. These spam websites rarely stay live that long, though. They are typically shut down within a few days or weeks. zvelo has categorized a multitude of these websites as “spam” and will automatically and periodically revisit the URLs in case they are taken down and purposely relaunched at a later time.
Twitter Search Results Littered with Spam Tweets
Following are screenshots of Twitter search results showing the tweets that contained the “Larry Merchant” query, along with the links pointing to spam websites:
Image 1: Spam on Twitter - these tweets pushed hot photos of Angelina Jolle and stated Larry Merchant suffered a heart attack
Image 2: Spam on Twitter - these tweets pushed Natalie Portman and Paris Hilton photos
Image 3: Spam on Twitter - more tweets using the "Larry Merchant" keyword to lure people to spam websites
Spam on Twitter – Fake User Account
The following example is a fake user account used to transmit spam on Twitter:
Image 4: One of many fake user accounts used to distribute spam on Twitter
The following screenshots are examples of spam websites that Twitter users were pushed to:
Image 5: Spam website about cheap flight fares and travel insurance
Image 6: Spam website promoting travel insurance and cheap flights
Image 7: Spam website pushing health insurance