The twalentine rises

It was December 25th when I came up with this idea for a new project and my thought process went something like this:

  1. It’s been almost a month since I bought a new domain.
  2. I need to buy one today.
  3. Hmm, now what would be a cool thing to do for my next personal project?
  4. Wait, today is Christmas, the next big day celebrated globally will be.. *checks calendar* oh, Valentine’s Day.
  5. ???
  6. I should buy twalentine.com.

And so it began.

When I came up with the domain name I knew immediately what the twalentine service should offer – yes, name came first and the idea behind it was close second. The main idea was to give people of Twitter a chance to send short messages to one another without any of them knowing from who the message is. It guarantees anonymity, which allows people to be more honest. I also knew right then that this project must be launched before Valentine’s Day, as it would lose some of its magic if it went online after the Valentine’s.

On February 12th, about a month and a half after the idea was born, I tweeted about it.

And boy, did things escalate quickly from here.

Day 1 (Feb 12th)

Google Analytics

Soon after I posted that tweet, a Croatian online newspaper Netokracija wrote an article about twalentine. Out of 790 visits on the first day, 730 of them were unique. And out of those 730 people, about 130 of them decided to submit their twalentine message, which was pretty cool. But it got better.

Day 2 (Feb 13th)

Google analytics

It came day 2 or as it is known in history – a day when twalentine’s twitter account got suspended for the first time, but we will get to that.

If on its first day of launch only Croatia wrote about twalentine, it gained a lot more popularity on its second day. People wrote about it here, here and here. Oh, and also here. Twalentine website received a record number of visits that day, a total of 2,508, from which 2,360 were unique ones.

The most popular locations from where people visited were France, Slovenia, USA and UK.

Google Analytics

Messages sent through twalentine service that day? 530. But not all of them were Twitter material though. I also went out of my way and delivered messages written not only in Slovenian and English, but also some Croatian and French, because there was just so many of them.. until it got weird.

Original message:

Je m’appelle Eduardo et je cultive des oranges pour Tropicana depuis 15 ans.

Translation (Google translate):

I’m called Eduardo and I grow oranges for Tropicana for 15 years.

On the evening of February 13th, after 24 hours since launch and when around 420 nice tweets were already delivered, twalentine’s twitter profile got suspended because of, well, let me quote Twitter Support:

Twitter has spam systems that review account behavior and automatically suspend users who appear to be engaging in spam behavior. It looks like a disproportionately large number of users, including ones you followed or @replied, have chosen to either block your account or report it as spam.

So, that sucked. Apparently some people weren’t happy getting their well-meaning surprise tweets.

I saw that going differently in my mind

Luckily the account was un-suspended within a little over 2 hours, so not much damage was done. I then decided that only more creative and well thought-out messages will be delivered, while short and not too creative ones like, for example, “I love you”, “♥” or “You’re beautiful” shall not pass anymore.

Day 3, Valentine’s Day (Feb 14th)

Google Analytics

On day 3, I chose to be more careful and posted only around 80 tweets, hoped it would help. It didn’t. Account got suspended again, and although it was again for just a few hours (5 or 6), it was enough for me to not feel completely confident tweeting twalentine messages anymore, at least not to foreign people from unknown territories.

Current status

With 1,300 visits, twalentine is the most popular in Slovenia, second and third place goes to France and USA with around 800 visits each, while the UK is on the fourth place with 380 visits.

Numbers from the last 5 days since launch:

  • Almost 4,400 visits.
  • 230+ people tweeted about twalentine.com.
  • 105 Facebook likes.
  • 120+ Twitter followers
  • 500+ people that got more or less pleasantly surprised.
  • ..and counting.

To avoid any further account suspensions, the current plan is to try and post most of the local tweets, while being very selective about tweeting outside the Slovenian border. At least until I figure out a way where I won’t have to tweet in  fear of the account being suspended, which could happen permanently this time.

On a brighter note, I also received $10 of donations from 5 people who thought the service was cool. Thanks (you rock!)

  • I hope you will get it working as it should be. It really is strange, that Twitter policy about spam. What about Twitter birthday account? Spam everyday, hundreds of replies to unknown people. The people at twitter could be more ‘ready to listen’. And respect for the idea BTW.

    • I actually got in contact with the guy who made the @TwBirthday service. He said that his IP is whitelisted (can’t be done anymore), which basically means that he is one of the ‘trusted spammers’. Another thing about TwBirthday service is that people who get notified about their Twitter birthday must follow that account, otherwise they won’t receive those tweets. I’m also currently discussing with Twitter Support how this problem could be solved, so some progress is happening. Hope to solve it asap. :)

  • Andy

    Love the website! If we submitted a message when the twitter account was suspended will it still send or do we need to submit it again? :)

    • You’ll have to submit it again, but keep in mind that the message should be more than 15 characters long now, because there were just too many simple ‘I love/miss you’ messages submitted. Also, thanks!

  • I loved this one and wrote about it on http://www.qysh.me