Tips, Ticks, Info, and Help about refollow.com

Refollow Service Restored

First off, I want to personally apologize for the loss of Refollow service on May 7th and 8th and any difficulty or issues this unexpected lapse in service may have caused you.  As an extension of our apology, we’re giving all of our paid users an additional week of service for free. 

More importantly, I want to sincerely to thank you for sticking with us through this snafu.

The information below is a brief explanation of what happened and the overall impact.  Please feel free to contact us at support@refollow.com or @refollow with any questions, needs, comments or concerns.  If the issue is specific to your account, please email us.

·         Refollow’s servers went down at approximately 12pm PST on May 7th and service was restored on May 8th

·         We believe this was caused by Amazon making a change to our servers without notifying us (retiring our EC2 instance earlier than scheduled) 

·         No personal or payment data was compromised when this happened

·         No payment information was lost and no payments were duplicated

·         When we re-deployed Refollow, we imported all data from our last backup on May 2nd

·         No data in Twitter was lost, as actions taken in Refollow update to Twitter instantly

·         Tracking of follows, unfollows, or locked users done in Refollow between May 2nd and May 8th was lost; as a result, the sort and filter functions may be slightly inconsistent

Mainly, I want to clarify that zero personal or payment data was compromised or lost from any of your accounts.  

I sincerely appreciate your continued membership, and hope this clears up any questions or concerns.

 Thank you,

Brady Dehn

10 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using — Now

Thanks to Neil Patel and enterptreneur.com for the great @refollow review!

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222837

17 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using (and Why)

Thanks to Shawn at KISSmetrics for the mention in the article below!

"17 Little Known Social Media Tools You Should Be Using (and Why)"

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/17-social-media-tools/

Refollow Facebook

With the term “social networking” cropping up in quantity, and with the expanse of users currently on Facebook, it has become difficult to “friend” someone whom you would actually qualify as a friend. Call it Circles, Degrees, Groups, or Types, we all have a variation of friend-levels or networks with which we are connected. What’s the best way to differentiate and keep track of these different connections?

Introducing Refollow for Facebook, a Facebook relationship manager developed by Originate.

RefollowFB is a powerful tool designed to help Facebook users discover new people and content that matches their profile and interests, and additionally it gives users a better way to manage and view their current Facebook connections. Making extensive use of labeling and filters for displaying friends, the interface is intuitive, organized, and simple to learn. Within RefollowFB, users can quickly view information about specific connections, explore public profiles, filter out irrelevant data, sort friends by network type, and message Facebook friends or post directly from their RefollowFB page. Overall, RefollowFB makes your search more powerful and targeted, by allowing users to discover new people, organizations, communities, and brands that align with their interests. Best of all, it’s a free app, so new users can jump in to test it out, without any obligation.

RefollowFB is not only for the casual Facebook user, but will also be used by PR agencies who want to better understand their client’s followers, and by brands who want to gain introspection into their consumer groups. In monitoring this data, RefollowFB creates opportunities for deeper analytics and usage pattern analysis, helping create more powerful connections with followers or fans.

While the application is currently stand-alone, Originate plans to integrate RefollowFB into Facebook so users can access this level of friendship management in or outside of their Facebook page.

Refollow for Facebook has a companion product, Refollow for Twitter that has been successfully helping individuals and brands manage their Twitter relationships since 2009. 

UnMarketing Refollow Mention

Thank you to Scott Stratten for using Refollow, mentioning us in UnMarketing and in the blog post below:

http://www.unmarketing.com/2010/01/05/saran-wrap-series-my-transparency-on-twitter/

A few answers to your many great questions

Q. Can I cancel my subscription at any time, or do you lock me in for life?

A. Of course you can cancel at any time. The billing is done every 30 days. So you will automatically be billed by Paypal at the beginning of each period for whole 30 days. If you cancel, you’ll still get access for the rest of that time you already paid for, but you won’t be charged for the next month (or ever again). If you cancel right away because you think we suck, then just email us at support@refollow.com and we’ll give you your money back. We want you to be happy and get value! P.S. Disputing the credit card charge in that case is fully unnecessary :)

Q. I have 1000 Twitter accounts and want to pay you way less than everyone else and get more than everyone else. Want to make a deal?

A. You’re awesome and we’re impressed by your ability to manage so many accounts! But our other subscribers are also awesome and that wouldn’t be fair to them. So check out our enterprise subscription. You can manage 20 accounts at any time, and you can swap out those accounts each day. So if you have 140 accounts that each want to use Refollow for 1 day each week, well, you do the math…

Q. Something isn’t working for me. WTF?

A. Our brilliant Refollow support team is dying to help you! Given that they’re human and sometimes sleep at night, you might not get a response back within 5 minutes at 3am (we’re in California). But you never know! Just email your problems, suggestions, compliments, and stories to support@refollow.com

Thanks and enjoy! 

-Rob

New subscription plans

Well, we did our best to keep as much of Refollow free as we could based on Twitter’s new limits on us. The only way we would be able to offer everyone all the follow and unfollow requests they would like and still stay within Twitter’s limits would be to buy a huge amount of servers to distribute the requests. But unfortunately we don’t have piles of money lying around here, so we have to pass on a little of that cost to you! 

Here’s what the new subscription plans look like (you can get here by clicking “My Account” after you sign into Refollow):

Free: No follows or unfollows included
Pro: $20.00/mo. - Unlimited use for 1 account (Note: subject to all limitations and policies imposed by Twitter for your account) 
Business: $50.00/mo. - Unlimited use for 5 accounts 
Enterprise: $150.00/mo. - Unlimited use for 20 accounts 
Non-profit: Free - Unlimited use for 1 account (requires verification of 503C Form) 

To get you started, you’ll get 10 free follow and 10 free unfollow requests after your first time logging into Refollow. And for a limited time, if you help us spread the word, we will give you 10 more follows and unfollows each day! Just follow http://twitter.com/refollow and http://twitter.com/originatelabs , and then send out a Tweet from Refollow mentioning @refollow and we’ll give you some more requests to play with. Obviously it would be much easier for you to just come up with $5/mo. to help support us and save yourself the time (your time is valuable!)

Feel free to send us any suggestions, complaints, compliments, or brilliant ideas… You can email us at support@refollow.com. Happy Refollowing!

Twitter forces us to come up with a business model (how ironic!)

Twitter’s new limit on POST requests from a single IP unfortunately makes it impossible for us to continue offering a free version of Refollow with follow and unfollow capabilities. We are still crunching the numbers on this, but here’s what we’re thinking! 

In order to cover the hosting costs necessary to work around Twitter’s limits, we will offer a membership subscription service with plans ranging from free to personal to enterprise support:

The free version will allow you to use all of the features of Refollow which are not IP rate limited by Twitter (basically everything except follow and unfollow). This includes loading users, filtering, sorting, tagging, and commenting. 

The personal plans (which will range from $5/mo to $20/mo) will allow a single Twitter account a certain number of follows and unfollows per day (or maybe per week). 

The enterprise plans (which will range from $20/mo to $200/mo) will support multiple Twitter accounts and the unlimited use of all features (you are of course always subject to Twitter’s account limits and policies across all Twitter apps). 

We will offer a day or two free trial for new users to try out the full feature set, and we will also offer a discount to education and charity organizations (saving the world is still somewhere on our product roadmap!)

Let us know what you think! We really appreciate all the support and feedback the Refollow community has provided this last year. Please email any thoughts/suggestions to support@refollow.com

And as always, here’s our latest discussion with Twitter support:

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From: Brian Sutorius [mailto:bsutorius@twitter.com]
Sent: Monday, October 11, 2010 11:03 AM
To: Rob Meadows
Cc: Brian Truebe; Tyler Buck
Subject: Re: Refollow-up

These kinds of requests are usually subject to site-wide per-account limits on each type of action, which are documented here: http://support.twitter.com/articles/15364 . I’ll also put some of them below:

250 DMs per day

1000 Tweets per day including @replies and retweets, further broken down into semi-hourly sublimits that are not documented (but you can use 1000/24 =~41 tweets per hour as a guideline)

1000 Follows per day

As Taylor mentioned on http://groups.google.com/group/twitter-development-talk/browse_thread/thread/eed29c3d9efcfad5 we are not sharing some of the other limits, such as unfollows per day per IP. Please let me know if you need anything else.

Brian

On Sat, Oct 9, 2010 at 7:52 AM, Rob Meadows <rob@originatelabs.com> wrote:

What is the rate limit for POST requests? How many requests can a single ip send per second/minute/whatever?

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New Twitter api restrictions will not allow us to support all users anymore :(

We are very disappointed to announce that Twitter’s new api restrictions no longer allow Refollow to support any interesting amount of users. Twitter has apparently now limited the number of follow/unfollow operations a single server can send to them (“rate limits”) rather that limiting it for each user via their api call limits. What this means is that we either need to stop supporting the 500K free users we have using Refollow, or we need to spin up many many servers to distribute the api requests to twitter from multiple places (very very expensive!)

We have asked Twitter support to whitelist Refollow to avoid these restrictions, but it doesn’t look like they are willing. It will be the same amount of requests hitting their servers whether they come from a few servers or a hundred servers, so I’m not really sure what their intent is with this move. 

We are open to any suggestions, but in the meantime, our ip address remains blocked by Twitter and it doesn’t sound like they are interested in Refollow continuing to operate as is. We are throwing around ideas including a read-only version of refollow (no follow/unfollow operations), a subscription version (so we can afford to purchase more servers), or just porting refollow to Facebook! Let us know what you think! http://twitter.com/refollow or support@refollow.com

Here is the latest communication with Twitter support:

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From: Brian Sutorius [mailto:bsutorius@twitter.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2010 9:45 AM
To: Rob Meadows
Cc: Brian Truebe; Tyler Buck
Subject: Re: Refollow-up

Yes, I’m sorry this new limit was not announced prior to going into effect. We understand the effect it has on applications like yours and will be more transparent about such changes in the future. 

Brian

On Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 9:40 AM, Rob Meadows wrote:

Also, it appears that this new limit was also affecting our users before our ip was blocked:

http://groups.google.com/group/twitter-development-talk/browse_thread/thread/eed29c3d9efcfad5?pli=1

It would be nice if we could be notified of changes like this that are going to break our user experience and previous assumptions. We are investing a lot of money in hosting this free service on fast servers so we can provide a great user experience. These types of changes cause us huge cost in terms of debugging and customer support which could easily have been avoided with some discussion or notification ahead of time. 

Thanks,

Rob

 From: Brian Sutorius [mailto:bsutorius@twitter.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2010 10:07 AM
To: Rob Meadows
Cc: Brian Truebe; Tyler Buck
Subject: Re: Refollow-up
 

Whitelisting IPs only affects their rate limit for HTTP GET calls on the REST API, and friendship/create and friendship/destroy calls are both POSTS that are not counted in this rate limit. Additionally, social graph calls are expensive on our end, which is part of the reason we’ve begun to rate limit them separately. 

If load-balancing these requests across multiple servers is not viable, you must at least batch these queries to send them at a steady rate to Twitter and hopefully offload some traffic to off-peak hours. At scale, this of course can cause delays between when the user requests an action and sees the output of this action, but this negative effect on user experience is hopefully better than no service or long outages.

Brian

On Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 9:57 AM, Rob Meadows wrote:

Is there no way to white-list our ip? Load balancing these requests across more servers would be a significant change to our architecture, and not something that would make sense for us to invest in. In the end, it would result in the same amount of calls to your api’s. We have invested in a few high capacity servers rather than multiple small capacity servers, so this is not a small change you are requesting.

As far as the new ip-based limit, this has the same implication. We would need to spread our requests across many ip’s in order to scale.

We have had a significant increase in the number of users using Refollow over the last few months and have invested in an architecture that will scale. Basically what you are telling me is that Twitter is limiting us on the number of users we can allow to use our service unless we change our architecture completely. Refollow is currently offered for free to your users – no fees, no advertising, etc. The only way we will be able to limit our number of users will be to stop accepting new users or start charging for the service.

From: Brian Sutorius [mailto:bsutorius@twitter.com] 
Sent: Thursday, October 07, 2010 9:25 AM
To: Rob Meadows
Cc: Brian Truebe; Tyler Buck
Subject: Re: Refollow-up
 

Hi Rob,

I can confirm that this IP is being blocked on our side for sending an abusive amount of follow calls. These blocks are placed automatically by our anti-abuse systems, and to prevent this going forward, I suggest adding another box or two and load-balancing your traffic so that the social graph calls you send to us are in line with our API rate limits, even if they’re technically not-rate-limited POST calls.

Please let me know when you’ve made these changes or stepped down the rate of these calls and I will remove this IP from our blacklist. I’m sorry for this inconvenience, and can answer any additional questions you may have.

Brian Sutorius

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