While cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies have the power to disrupt every sector, they’re also filled with potential scams, mismanagement, and other issues. Of the 902 ICOs launched in 2017 (which collectively raised over $4 billion), 48 percent have already failed.
Surviving in this tough field requires tight community admin on social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter ban ICO ads, but Telegram supports cryptocurrencies and quickly became the go-to community platform for the industry.
Managing a Telegram group is a 24/7 effort, however. Dropping your guard for even a minute could lead to scammers flooding your groups with fraudulent offers, spam, and other problematic communications.
Like a Facebook group, a Telegram group requires vigilant community management to remain useful for its members. Otherwise, trolls and con artists will erode trust, degrade sentiment, and undermine the success of your entire project.
Following these five steps in your Telegram group will identify red flags, drive retention, and create a safe space for your members.
1. Create URL Whitelists
Phishing is a common occurrence in the crypto world. Even Telegram’s proposed ICO (dubbed Telegram Open Network, or TON) attracted a plethora of phishing scams.
These scammers create fake websites that look similar to the real thing and are often able to use SEO tactics to rank in search engines. Then they send links out via email and Telegram with enticing offers like “Free ETH giveaways.” Often, they’ll flood different groups with these links, and anyone who clicks on them risks a malware infection.
Some malware is even specifically targeted at Telegram itself.
Aside from malware, people are also being manipulated into providing personal and financial information to these fake ICOs. Some even have their accounts taken over.
A URL whitelist helps stop phishing scams. There are plenty of legitimate sources of crypto information to include, along with any partner websites. Other than that, there’s no need to allow clickable links within your group.
There are also anti-phishing security bots built specifically for Telegram. Consider using them.
2. Educate Admins on Fraudulent ICOs
Because ICOs can’t advertise on popular platforms like Google, Mailchimp, and Facebook, disreputable companies try to ride the coattails of other trusted brands. They’ll join your Telegram group and spam it with links to other ICOs.
This ease of use encourages more ICOs but also makes it easier to launch fake ICOs. It typically only takes a whitepaper and website to convince people. A joint U.S./Canadian regulatory commission recently issued cease-and-desist letters to over 70 possible cryptocurrency scams and fraudulent ICOs.
One common way to force these links is to use the URL as a username. That way when a person enters and leaves a group, the URL is posted twice in your group.
Your Telegram moderators should be on duty 24/7 to monitor any links posted to your group, even in usernames. Train them on how to identify fraudulent ICOs and to immediately delete spam related to these. It’s also a best practice to report and block any users with URLs in their username using a user whitelist.
3. Block Marketing Bots
One of the more annoying problems moderators face is the Telegram bot. Telegram’s API makes it easy to program a chatbot to interact with other users, dialing in on commonly used keywords. While many bots are useful, some are used only to spam groups.
At a bare minimum, these marketers and bots will fill your group with irrelevant and promotional information. That’s not going to attract as many members as useful, meaty, and legitimate content and conversations will.
A bot whitelist stops these marketing bots from filling your group with useless (or even fraudulent) information. You can also block a bot just like you can a human user. Some Telegram clients even have a “Stop Bot” button in the bot’s profile to disable it.
Treat bots like you would any other user - if they’re helpful and add to the overall conversation, let them stay. If they violate the group’s rules and disobey group guidelines, ban them immediately.
4. Ban Any Impersonators
Cryptocurrency celebrity impersonators are the new Nigerian prince email scam. Scammers routinely pose as people like Paypal co-founder Elon Musk and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin on social platforms.
Posing as trusted people, these scammers encourage followers to send BTC, ETH, and other cryptocurrencies to them. Sometimes it’s a giveaway where crypto is needed for entry; other times it’s a fake ICO, like the deluge of fake Telegram ICO websites.
It’s a good idea to keep a list of official accounts for any crypto-celebrities and other prominent people and groups. Be wary of anyone using usernames very similar to those, like @V1talikButerin or @VitalkButterin instead of @VitalikButerin.
They’re very subtle differences, but a simple typo can mean the difference between a legitimate cryptocurrency figure and an impersonator. Don’t trust anyone until you’ve verified their identity, and keep an eye out for possible imposters.
5. Enable Language Filters and Flood Protection
Not every bad actor is trying to commit fraud – the internet is filled with trolls who troll for nothing more than the sake of trolling. These people will post anything to trigger group members and create chaos.
Whether it’s lewd images, obscenities and profanities, or just plain nonsense, trolls get off on making people angry.
Certain levels of civility should be maintained within your Telegram group. Moderators should monitor conversations throughout the day to ensure these rules are being followed. An offensive language filter keeps things family-friendly and professional.
Group guidelines ensure everyone’s aware of the community expectations. Encourage respectful behavior and discourage self-promotion. Admins should immediately block and ban any users not following these guidelines to keep the community clean and spam-free.
Also ensure flood protection is enabled to keep trolls from flooding your group with impertinent posts.
Telegram groups are a great way to engage users and create a foundation for a successful ICO launch. They do take work, though. Leaving your group on autopilot is a sure way to let its quality degrade.
When properly maintained, Telegram provides a sustainable platform for your brand to connect to users. Don’t miss out on this important marketing avenue.