Pinterest Spammers

Spam @ Pinterest

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Are You Being Fooled by Spam On Pinterest

Pinterest.com is a social media site where users can create the equivalent of an online bulletin board, pinning images of interest to them (the name comes from the two words pin + interest).

While similar sites have been around for a long time, it is Pinterest that has suddenly experienced explosive growth becoming popular with Internet users and the media. And because of that explosive growth it has also drawn the interest of spammers. In fact, many fake accounts now exist on Pinterest. And this too has recently been become a hot topic in the news media and blogs when someone claiming to be a spammer revealed their methods to The Daily Dot.

Pinterest has received some controversy over the pinning of images and the legality of it in regards to copyright laws, especially amongst many creators of images who earn their income from those images, such as photographers and artists. Pinterest at least encourages people to pin images from the original website source of an image and whether legal or not this at least gives the opportunity for people to find the original and learn more about it.

But spammers on Pinterest ruin even that possibility for artists and photographers.

Spammers on Pinterest post images on their bulletin boards, just like any other user. But they then will deliberately change the url link to the image to the site of their choice.

They may do this in the hopes of increasing traffic to their website or to trick Pinterest users into giving them information about themselves. And they may also hope that having all these links back to their site will help boost their rank in search engines such as Google.

Example of a Pinterest Spammer

All of these photos list "pinterestingfashion.com" as the source of the images. But clicking on any of these links takes one to the exact same dress on Amazon.com instead.
All of these photos list "pinterestingfashion.com" as the source of the images. But clicking on any of these links takes one to the exact same dress on Amazon.com instead.

Why should you be concerned about Spammers on Pinterest?

Here are a handful of concerns I know of, or at least suspect could be a concern, ranging from serious to mild annoyances.

  • Links on these sites could be dangerous, as they might lead to sites hosting malware or viruses that could get downloaded to your computer.
  • Some of these sites lead to a "sweepstakes form" where you have to enter in your personal information. Thus giving spammers your email address and flooding you with spam in your inbox.
  • If an image does not link back to the original source of an image it can effect the earnings of those who rely on the creation of those images for income. From photographers and artists, and even stay at home moms who earn extra income from blogging. A link back to the original source can result in a sale of a print of the image or ad revenue.
  • If you really were interested in how to make that recipe for asparagus or how to make that diy bleach pen t-shirt you won't be able to get that information you wanted after all. Leading to frustration when you find yourself instead taken to a site proclaiming to make you rich.
  • Spam can lead to a decrease in relevance on search engines. Meaning when you do a search you are less likely to find what you are looking for.
  • Spammers often use bots, flooding the site with entries at once...causing lag and other problems with the usability of the site at intervals.

URL Shortener Listed As Source

Clicking on url addresses that have been "shortened" with a url shortener can be risky and take you to a site that will put your computer at risk for getting malware or phish for your personal information.
Clicking on url addresses that have been "shortened" with a url shortener can be risky and take you to a site that will put your computer at risk for getting malware or phish for your personal information.

Ways to Spot Spammers on Pinterest

  • Below the thumbnails of each pinned photo it will often list the name of the website for where the image came from. For example, hubpages.com. If you have clicked on the thumbnail to make the image larger the website will show above the photo. Keep your eye on that website when reviewing a new Pinterest user that has started to follow you on Pinterest.
  • Instead of pins from several different websites it will show just one website over and over on all the boards and pins.
  • They will often use url shorteners listed instead of a website name, such as bit.ly or goo.gl
  • If you click on the link of a pin and it takes you to a website but the photo isn't shown anywhere on that page and actually seems to have nothing to do with the photo, thet the person who pinned it might be a spammer.
  • The description may not match the pinned image or may otherwise seem odd. A picture about home decor might mention a "fabulous new diet!" for example.
  • The avatars for spammers may just have the generic "egg avatar" from Twitter accounts rather than an actual picture. Or just a "red pushpin" from Pinterest. And I personally have noticed a few of these spammer accounts will have an avatar showing a hot blond in skimpy clothing, looking more like a picture from a risque dating site than the typical "soccer mom Pinterest user." Of course this doesn't mean a Pinterest user with a picture like these aren't legitimate...the other information already listed above is more of a real indicator. But avatar pictures like these might be your first red flag that this Pinterest user is really a spammer.
  • For some reason, that I do not know why, a lot of the spammers I've run across on Pinterest will have many, many boards, but have just one pin per board. Or one board with many pins, but all the rest of the boards will have just one pin. Strange.

Scammers on Pinterest

It recently has come to my attention that some of these spammers are actually scammers as well. (Which I guess shouldn't be any surprise.)

I am classifying these as Scams because they trick you into believing they are a part of Pinterest. But they most certainly are not.

Clicking on the pin or the url address for the pin from this class of spammers brings up a pop up message claiming to be from Pinterest or takes you to a website that may seem it's from Pinterest. These messages will pop up asking you to "vote" for a soft drink. Fill out a survey for a "gift card." Or it may ask you to download a toolbar.

Don't do it! Since they are pretending to be Pinterest they should not be trusted.

What to do if you find a Pinterest Spammer?

  • Don't follow them. Or if you have already followed them, unfollow them.
  • Don't re-pin their pins. If you have re-pinned anything from them delete the pins. Or try to find the original source of the image (using Google Image search can be useful for this) and use the edit option to change the url to the correct source. Or simply re-pin it from the original source.
  • Report the user to Pinterest. Pinterest has a page about reporting objectionable content or spam but that is for reporting individual images at a time and it could be tedious to report each one individually when an entire account is obviously spam. So thankfully they now also have a page where you can contact Pinterest and there is an option in the drop down menu regarding spam.
    Update: Pinterest.com has created this blog post about reporting spam on Pinterest and recommends simply using the report button on a few individual images that the spammer has put up rather than trying to report their entire account. This blog post also has other important information about protecting yourself from the spam there.

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Comments 13 comments

Nancy Hardin 4 years ago

Ye Gods, as if we don't have enough scurrying around trying to protect our writing...now we've got this weaseling behavior going on with Pinterest. If they spent as much time earning an honest living as they do stealing from the rest of us, they'd be in the money!


lisa42 profile image

lisa42 4 years ago from Sacramento

Very good info. I don't think I've run into any spammers on Pinterest yet, but now I know what to look out for.


quickbooker profile image

quickbooker 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

I know about Pinterest; it is an explosive social media website in sense of traffic and user's photos to gain +pins and sharing activities. I find really interactive platform and easy to share, understand! Through your hub, I anxiously able to know the tacky clues to make noticeable from the spammers user's. I will definitely kept listed points in my mind and do implement while i m activated on Pinterest. Thanks Dreamsinbloom :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

Good to know. Thank you for sharing this info.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Thank you for this useful information, I'm just getting to grips with Pinterest so this is very timely.


evelynsaenz profile image

evelynsaenz 4 years ago from Vermont

Thanks for the Pinterest Spammers warnings and signs to look for. I am adding a link to his hub on my Squidoo lens about Pinterest Tips. http://hubpages.com/community/tips-pinterest


BigSerious profile image

BigSerious 4 years ago from Harrisburg, PA

Wow. I am an avid pinterest user and have never seen this before - thank goodness! I'll keep your tips in mind to make sure it doesn't happen to me. I knew it was only a matter of time before some group found a way to mar the joy!


DreamsInBloom profile image

DreamsInBloom 4 years ago Author

I've started noticing that lately almost anytime I get an email saying I have a new follower of all my boards on Pinterst that if I check out their pins I can see that they are a spammer. And that's why I wrote this. :|


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 4 years ago from Templeton, CA

I appreciate your writing this. For the past few days I have received notices that people whose names I don't know are following all my boards. I haven't bothered to check them out because I'm too busy with taxes now. I never follow anyone without checking their boards to see if there are individual boards I want to follow. Normally I only follow people I know or who have boards I really like. I'm also pinning my original stuff and repinning only what appears to be legit. I"m almost afraid to pin the work of others unless they have specifically told me they have no problem with being pinned.


dnsbl 4 years ago

They're the ones that made this story so they could make people think they're "the web’s flavor of the month" when really, this is the first anyone's heard of them.


DreamsInBloom profile image

DreamsInBloom 4 years ago Author

dnsbl, I don't understand what you are saying. I have been on Pinterest for quite some time and I have for the past month or so been encountering more and more spam on Pinterest...until I got fed up with it and decided to write this article. So I don't get what you mean by anyone has made this story up.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

I am to the point that I do not check up on who is following me. If some dodgy scammer wants to post sweep stake things, who cares. I just like things at the top of my page, and no time or desire to go through each person's pins.


aa lite profile image

aa lite 4 years ago from London

Interesting hub, I did once find a really nice picture of a frog, and clicked on it to find the original webiste, to be treated to a long discourse about....the amazing secret to lose weight. I didn't report it, I guess I should have. The problem is if people don't check the images they repin, then these pictures just spread to different users and the person who's board you found it on might be innocent of anything (other than not thoroughly checking the pictures they repin).

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