Thursday, July 23, 2009

Update: Travelzoo's Twitter Account Hacked and Just Try To Get Someone from Twitter on the Phone

I reported yesterday that Travelzoo's Twitter account was suspended.

Travelzoo spokeswoman Mindy Joyce told me today that the account, which has some 8,000 followers, was hacked by an unknown party on Sunday. Travelzoo couldn't even get into its own account, and the deal-publisher on Monday asked Twitter to suspend the account, which it did.

"You are basically locked out of your own account and you are seeing tweets that are not even you," Joyce said.

And, that's a nightmare for Travelzoo and any other company or individual interested in brand protection.

High-profile Twitter accounts get hijacked all the time, according to Mashable, and Twitter's ability to service its users, the Twitterati, is severely limited.

Joyce said Twitter, which is investigating the situation involving the Travelzoo account, was quick to suspend the account at Travelzoo's request, and Twitter's online help desk has been responsive.

However, as of this writing, Travelzoo, a public company with a market cap of $215 million, has been unable to get anyone from Twitter to answer the phone to discuss and possibly speed any resolution of the issue. Voicemail messages have not been returned, Joyce said.

"It's not like Twitter has a huge help desk and they are ready to talk to you," Joyce said.

The Travelzoo spokeswoman said the company was using its network of contacts to try to reach someone on the phone at Twitter. After all, Twitter says that its research into these sorts of matters can take up to 30 days.

Joyce said the hacker was tweeting inappropriate material and a link to a sweepstakes that had no connection with Travelzoo.

"This is something we take very seriously," Joyce said.

Joyce said Travelzoo was not guilty of any transgressions regarding its Twitter account, and wants to resume tweeting "quality travel deals" as soon as possible.

She noted that hackers are very sophisticated these days and that perhaps the only thing that Travelzoo -- and other companies might do -- would be to change their Twitter-account settings and password more frequently.

Meanwhile, will someone from Twitter please pick up the phone for these folks?


Anonymous said...

who cares? this is a complete non story.

Dennis Schaal said...

It's difficult to argue with an anonymous who puts forth a vacuous statement.

Xavier Buisson said...

Travelzoo has a limited number of follower, 8000 is not that big... But now many people know about their twitter account.

Dennis Schaal said...

Xavier: Thanks for the comment. I obviously am not here to do marketing for Travelzoo. In fact, if you read my first post, it appeared initially that Travelzoo's account had been suspended, possibly for a transgression. That turned out not to be the case. 8000 seems like a lot of followers to me, but that's besides the point. I think the post raises issues about brand protection for any company using Twitter -- and for individuals also. Xavier, it's all about dialogue, including ours, i.e. you and men. Thanks again for your comment. My editorial board -- i.e. me:) -- felt the issue was worth a post. And, a lot of people read it. If it shed more light on Travelzoo's Twitter account, then so be it.