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Habitat Apologies After Twitter Hashtag Spam Campaign

UK’s renowned furniture store Habitat has made an apology after it was accused of promoting offers at its stores by using keywords related to Iranian elections as well as the high-profile iPhone 3GS launch on its Twitter feeds.

The group running HabitatUK Twitter account were using keywords, known as “hashtags”, to their twitter updates, so as to make sure that the company’s feeds appeared among the hot “trending topics” on the microblogging website.

The company had erroneously used several contentious hashtags related to recent protests in Iran, including #Iranelection and #Mousavi, along with #Apple and #iPhone to capitalise on the launch of new iPhone 3GS last Friday.

Although the company has already deleted the offending tweets from its Twitter account, but many of them can still be accessed using the search function of the microblogging service.

The publicity stunt has drawn severe criticisms from the online community, which eventually made the furniture giant to come forward to apologise for the move.

Extending its apology, the company spokesperson said, “This was a mistake and it is important to us that we always listen, take on board observations and welcome constructive criticism. We will do our utmost to ensure any mistakes are never repeated”.

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Our Comments

It is early days on Twitter and Habitat has been swift to react before the whole thing went really pear shape. This episode highlights how easy it is to trick Twitter when it comes to riding the hashtag wave. Other entities with less noble intentions might learn a few tricks from what happened.

Related Links

UK Firm's Mistweetment Of Iran Is PR Disaster (opens in new tab)

(Sky News)

UK firm exploits Iran unrest to sell furniture (opens in new tab)

(Press TV)

Habitat apologises for Twitter ‘hashtag spam’ (opens in new tab)


Habitat apologises after Twitter fail (opens in new tab)

(Brand Republic)

Habitat Make a Hash of Iran on Twitter (opens in new tab)

(Direct Traffic Media)

Habitat says misuse of Twitter keywords was a mistake (opens in new tab)

(Retail Week)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.