Every 24 seconds someone types in twitter.co.uk by mistake.

"You're one of about 3,000 people who do exactly that every day - and that might not be a problem for Twitter if it actually owned the domain twitter.co.uk" - The Guardian more...

A thorn in the side of American Imperialism

Update: 23 April 2010 (St. George's Day)
This domain is for sale at offers over 30k. This valuation is based on the fact that I devoted 9 months of my life working on my own t.w.i.t.t.e.r. project in 2005. I have offered the domain to Twitter Inc, giving them "first refusal", and as they turned me down I am now offering it to anyone else who may be interested. Obviously there are limits as to what you would be allowed to do with the domain and you should familiarise yourself with Nominet's policies and, in particular, its Dispute Resolution Service (DRS). - Steve (webmaster@twitter.co.uk)

What are you doing?

But don't worry because thousands of people are doing
exactly the same thing every day. So here's the deal:

Publicise your business on twitter.co.uk by sponsoring an event for charity. See below for details.

Note: Twitter Inc have made some changes in their software to address the problems I had with them intially, which have been largely resolved. The following information, therefore, serves as a chronological record (ie blog).

Friday, 1 May 2009

About twitter.co.uk

I registered this site in March 2005 - a full year earlier than the .com people began - to promote a piece of software I had developed to help blind people use computers. The name is an accronym - Talking Wordprocessor, Internet, Typing Tutor, Email Resource (the idea was to have an all-in-one programme for the basic tasks a blind person encountering a computer for the first time would require). I finished the product but only managed to sell a handful before my savings ran out and so I moved on to the next project. However, I kept the domain name because I had always hoped to return to the project and make a success of it ... and I also felt it was a great name!

The problem with Twitter.com

The problem I have with Twitter.com is that it accepts new subscribers without them having to confirm their email address (ie by clicking on a link in an email from Twitter.com). This means that anyone can create a new account and give a fake email address - either one that doesn't exist or one that belongs to someone else. (This seems odd to me - for if a person can create as many accounts as they wish, I don't see how Twitter.com are able to tell how many actual people use their service.)

Anyway, lately, quite a few people have, perhaps mistakenly, registered with Twitter.com and given out an email address with the domain name @twitter.co.uk. I don't have a problem with the individuals concerned because mistakes happen, but as time goes on some of these members become more "popular" - and every time they get a new "follower", Twitter.com sends me an email to this effect.

So here's the bottom line: Twitter.com are sending me emails which I did not request or agree to receive (ie SPAM) and do not provide me with a means to "opt out" of receiving them. As I understand it, they are breaking both UK and US anti-spam laws. I have contacted Twitter.com to try to resolve the problem but they have not responded to any of my emails. (If anyone is interested in looking this up, they have given me Ticket #100140 but I haven't managed to communicate with a real person there yet.)

Let's be clear - I am blaming Twitter.com for allowing this to happen, not the individuals who have mistakenly typed in the wrong email address. Twitter.com are sending out the emails, they are responsible for the content of them and it is only Twitter.com who can fix the problem.

It is unfortunate that I do not have any means to contact the individuals concerned. The only way I can see would be to click the "forgot password" option and get Twitter.com to change it, but this could be misconstrued as an act of sabotage, as the individuals concerned would no longer be able to access their account.


This page gets quite a lot of traffic each day, so as well as letting people know about the problem with Twitter.com I'm using the opportunity to promote other websites and raise money for charity. There is a list of websites on the right-hand side of this page and you can advertise your business in this space in return for making a donation to one of the charity e'ents featured on this site. Here's how it works:-

Step 1
Choose one of the charity events on the right and make a donation to it via Justgiving. It's quick and easy - and you can give as little as 2 and it will still make a difference. When you make a donation be sure to mention that you found them on twitter.co.uk, as I'll be able to track it and it may encourage others to follow suit.
Step 2
Send me an email to let me know you've made a donation. As long as your website is age-appropriate and unlikely to cause offense (email me first if you are unsure) I'll create a link and add it to the top of the list of sites on this page. The site is updated several times a day and it is usually just a matter of hours before your link is added and appears at the top of the list.

New sites are always added to the top of the list, which is rotated and the site at the bottom of the list is discarded. However, every time you make a donation to one of the charity events listed I will move your website to the top of the list again - even if you haven't been in the list for a while and irrespective of the size of the donation.

If you are planning to do an event for charity and have a page for accepting donations online (such as "justgiving"), please let me know and I'll add you to the list. I'm also happy to promote a few blogs and personal websites in exactly the same manner (no donation required).


Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How long will the advert be live? - I don't know, maybe a week or maybe a day - but for a small donation, which goes to charity, it must be the best advertising deal on the internet. More than 3000 people view this page every day so it must be worth a punt.

  2. Can I buy a permanent advert? - No, please don't ask.

  3. Why don't you just switch off the email catchall? - Two reasons. First, the application I am designing requires this feature to be enabled. Second, why should I have to modify my configuration? It's like living in a quiet neighbourhood until a really noisy person moves next door - and when you complain to them about the noise they suggest you wear earplugs.

Update: 4 May 2009 - I have finally heard back from Twitter, within 4 hours of The Guardian publishing Twitter.co.uk - the tale of a forgotten domain. I am now hopeful that they may fix the problem described above.

Update: 5 May 2009 - Twitter.com have disabled automated emails being sent to my domain, so I guess that means the problem is solved! Not sure what to do with this site now ... but I'll think of something.

Update: 14 May 2009 - Twitter.com problem NOT fixed
Soon after the tale of this domain was told by The Guardian, the problem was fixed. And it stayed fixed for a couple of days. But now the problem has returned once more and this time it's in Technicolour (html rather than plain text)!

Update: 17 September 2009
Just when I was about to declare a successful conclusion to my campaign against Twitter sending me spam, Biz Stone goes and sends out a generic email about their new terms of service to everyone and floods my mailbox with over 200 messages! That's how many people have registered with Twitter and given them an email address @twitter.co.uk. And, once again, there is no "opt out" option at the end of the emails. Thank goodness I got them to remove my domain from all their automatic "follower" updates!

Twitter is the only social-networking site I know where you don't have to supply a verified email address in order to subscribe.

Update: 6 March 2010
Over the past 4 days my mailbox has been inundated with messages from Biz Stone entitled, "Twitter Newsletter 2010 - Edition #1". I counted 174. However, unlike the previous newsletter this one actually contains an "opt out" option and so I've managed to unsubscribe these email addresses without having to delete the accounts. Success! I think Twitter Inc are finally starting to listen to me. Now, if they would just add email verification when people subscribe I'll stop complaining.

Update: 14 April 2010
More messages from Biz Stone, this time entitled, "Twitter Newsletter 2010 - Edition #2". However, this time I only counted 49 so the "opt out" option obviously works and this figure must represent the number of new subscribers who (for whatever reason) gave an email address "@twitter.co.uk" when they subscribed to Twitter.


This site has no affiliation with the social networking micro-blogging twitter.com
You can find them at www.twitter.com

Visits since 29/4/09

(and we've also helped to
raise over £ 1086 for charity)











Charity Events

October 2010

November 2010

April 2011

Ongoing Past Events If you're planning an event for charity please let me know and I'll promote it here.


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