On March 31, 2012, Chris John Riley wrote a blog piece titled "Scammers gonna scam" in which he showed evidence that Gregory D. Evans was buying Twitter followers. This practice is becoming more prevalent, as some people want to appear more popular than they are. A simple Google search for "buy twitter followers" will show a variety of services that cater to this. In a matter of a week, you can go from 0 followers to 25,000 for less than three hundred bucks. This article reinforces what Riley outlined, includes more evidence that Evans has done this in the past, and throws in a final bit of irony regarding his follower count.
Using a free service like TwitterCounter, you can generate a chart that graphs your follower count. Most normal accounts will show a slow steady climb if they are popular, or perhaps a slow decline if they are not active. Accounts that show a huge jump in a matter of one week, especially to a nice round number like 10,000, are suspect. How could someone get the type of attention that lands exactly that many followers in a short period, and then almost no additional followers after? By purchasing followers.
Looking at several of Gregory Evans' Twitter accounts, you see a very clear trend:
With the @GregoryDEvans account, we see a very low number of followers, and then a series of big jumps ultimately ending right around 40,000 followers. You can clearly see he bought around 18,000 followers, waited a few weeks, bought around 10,000 more (likely from a different service that delivered quicker), and another batch of around 12,000 followers. He may have paid two services for the final followers at the same time given the slow steady rise of one of them. Both the @AmIHackerProof and @NCSbyLIGATT accounts show a jump from very little followers to around 10,000. In one case, it only took seven days, just as some services advertise.
In addition, another account operated by Evans and his companies show the same type of activity:
We see that the @LocatePC account has almost 14,000 followers, but is on a steady decline over three months despite the account being active and the service offering not change. This is easily explained by the fact that Twitter will suspend and delete accounts suspected of being used in this type of activity. Over that time period, Twitter likely killed off hundreds or even a thousand of these accounts, causing the drop in followers.
Based on these four charts, it is clear that Gregory Evans is paying for Twitter followers. Reading Riley's post also shows that Evans is likely paying for some of these accounts to promote his name or services. These are not the activities of a legitimate security company; rather, they are the actions of someone that is trying in vain to appear more established and well-known than they really are.
The real irony of this goes back to when Evans got in an email argument with the manager of an apartment complex over being denied a place to rent based on public financial information. In the email (leaked in Feb, 2011), Evans threatens the manager saying he would tell his 50,000+ Twitter followers about the incident. The reality? At the time, Evans only had around 1,000 followers. It wasn't until much later that he purchased the ~ 40,000 we see today, and it is still less than he threatened with.
From: Gregory Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org) Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 19:20:12 To: [redacted] Cc: [redacted] Subject: Re: [SPAM] Re: [SPAM] Fw: Manhattan lease app Jeff 1st. I do not want to rent your place. [..] 6. I will be posting this to my 50,000 + twitter followers and my 5,000 facebook fans. This is soooooooo funny to me. You went and pulled up a racist website.