History Repeats Itself: Beware of Spam Bots

Don’t kill the messenger…

I was recently in Amsterdam during ADE, the largest electronic music business conference, and I was honored to meet people from around the world all interested in creating new art and a community around their brand.

Ignorant people think of Amsterdam just for their coffee shops and red light district, but the Dutch are a very progressive society in the arts and use of clean technologies. I was super stoked when I was picked up at the airport in a Tesla taxi!

I’ve even met artists in Los Angeles who are moving to Amsterdam, so they can have a better opportunity innovating their craft because the music industry is broken and record labels in America are still working with the same formulas.

Messaging is not Email

Email marketing has not been personal and cluttered with spam for a while now. Unfortunately, we are already seeing the same trend occurring within messaging apps.

You can see this in Facebook Messenger, Kik and LINE bots. These bots are being leveraged for marketing campaigns, and I’m sad to say it, most are getting it wrong by not on-boarding their users properly.

Spamming Bots

I couldn’t attend the SF Music Tech Summit this year, but Brian Zisk is a badass and I try and support him anyway I can. This year there was a panel on “Bots in the Music Industry” and the bot creator Syd Lawrence, of the famous EDM Dutch DJ Hardwell, was on the panel.

The Hardwell bot is the most talked about chat bot in music. It serves a value to Hardwell, but it hasn’t shown a real value to his fans yet. So far, its just spam.

Word on the streets of Amsterdam, Hardwell is spamming users with content they never opted in for. Syd also mentioned that the bot has nearly a 100% open rate and a 21% click through rate (CTR). I’d be interested to know how many users have returned to the experience or have blocked, deleted, or marked the bot as spam.

Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE)

Leading up to this trip to Amsterdam, Mixmash Records, run by the Olga Heijns hired HANS, Brainitch’s bot platform, to help Laidback Luke engage with his fans, discover his super fans, and reward them with a free party in Amsterdam or in NYC to celebrate his 40th birthday.

Laidback Luke

HANS manages Luke’s verified Facebook Messenger account and between October 4th and 22nd quizzed users to see how much they knew about Luke. If the user answered 3 out of 5 questions correctly they were given a chance to enter to win free tickets to Luke’s Amsterdam or NYC party.

Laidback Luke Messenger Results

During this 3-week experience, HANS engaged with over 2700 Laidback Luke fans, experiencing only 423 deletes, 9 blocks, and no spam reports.

HANS hates spam and only sends out targeted messages to opt-in users. HANS is trained to ask the right questions to his users, so his clients can more effectively send personalized messages of real value.

So far Laidback Luke has a 100% open rate and a 98% CTR. This result can be attributed to HANS only sending out content that fans request.

“The HANS bot proved to be extremely effective in not only creating engagement really fast, but the way the functionality was implemented we were assured that those who were engaging were actually core Laidback Luke fans. This made HANS a more effective medium to communicate our messages then through boosted targeted posts.”
— Olga Heijns, Founder / CEO Unmanageable Artists, Mixmash Records, & Syndicate the Agency

We have noticed that users are less confused when they know they are talking to a hired “bot” managing the client’s communications with the personality of the client intact, instead of framing each interaction as if it’s directly coming from the client.

More Pull and Less Push

Luke’s fans love leaving messages, photos, and demos; this explains why close to 60% of the traffic came from fans and the rest from HANS. HANS allows for the smooth organization of all these communications within a private channel for Luke and his team to monitor.

What’s Next?

A blend of automated chat and interactive web experiences within messaging apps. Chat apps are becoming the new secure browser. Facebook is making it easier for e-commerce sites to integrate Messenger payments into their checkouts.

You’ll be able to have a more personalized web experience within Messenger and use your Facebook ID to authenticate you with the brand through its bot and be able to easily purchase items, unlike other mobile browsers.

Facebook’s constellation of apps was just ranked one of the most secure among chat apps. Check this report out by Amnesty International, which shows Facebook beating Apple 73/100 compared to 67/100.

“What happens when there are too many bots?”

You originally started using a messaging app because it was easier to communicate and share stuff with your friends and family, but if bots take over, you will become bombarded by push notifications from everything you are interested in.

Yes, you can mute and block bots and turn off push notifications or even delete the app and move on to the next ‘bot free’ chat app.

So how do you solve this problem?

News publications are already taking full advantage of bots to send out daily/weekly digests. We are soon going to have too many subscriptions and we will be faced with the same problems email brought us.

What we need is more support from messaging platforms. Everyone needs a bot, but not like some of the personal bot examples I have seen in the wild where they are just reproducing a website within a chat workflow.

We need a bot that can talk to other bots, filter incoming messages, create a daily digest of notifications, and allow us to flag certain alerts as important.

I believe the messaging platforms should create this bot or subscription management feature for its users to make it easier to on-board everyone.


Think about those pre-sale tickets going on sale tomorrow at 10am for your favorite music festival, but you are going to be in class or at work. Your personal bot could automatically buy them for you.

Oh wait!

There are already bots that can do that, but they do it in bulk and resell them on secondary markets 😭

Back to Reality…

In the meantime, Brainitch is developing HANS into a platform that is mindful of excessive, unwanted messaging and serves a greater purpose than just promotional activations.


We are pioneers in this industry, creating best practices to help our client’s become more effective in engaging their fans one to one. We also help educate our clients on each messaging platform’s Terms of Use and promotional messaging Policies.

Interested in being part of our private beta group?

Fill out the Hire HANS form here or message Brainitch on Facebook.

Let’s chat!

Brainitch is an avant-garde technology company developing conversational software for fan-supported businesses in entertainment, politics, and sports.

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