The Pinterest Debate

Jax from Making it Up wrote very eloquently about the Pinterest issue in February.  Pinterest have terms and conditions that don’t align with the way they want their users to operate.  On the surface, Pinterest seems like a very good opportunity to make pretty boards that organise pictures and images you like from the world wide web.

They state :

Pinterest is an online pinboard.
Organize and share things you love.

Almost all of us sign up to things without reading the full instructions through, and the majority of Pinterest users have likely done the same thing.  The problem that Jax points out, and explains so well is “I didn’t know that they keep local copies of images. Not little local copies like thumbnails which would be understandable, but 600px images that are usable.  And I didn’t know that you are only supposed to pin images you own, as you are giving them a whole set of rights that you probably don’t have to give.

Jax also outlines that Pinterest go against their own T & Cs by asking users to avoid using the service as simply a tool for self-promotion.

So, we can only upload pictures that we own, but we are to avoid using Pinterest simply for self-promotion.  It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the terms are conflicting.

Pinterest fuelled a huge rush in creatives who wanted to show the best examples that they could find, and it is indeed very pretty to look at.  Effective at driving relevant traffic to websites from followers, it does come with risks if you are pinning from the Internet.  Pinterest have protected themselves by putting the onus on the user, who has agreed that they own media before it is uploaded.

Potentially, Pinterest could then sell your pictures to anyone.  You could even find yourself promoting a dating website if you have your own images uploaded.  Is that a risk that you are willing to take?

Mashable have reported that due to the popularity of the site, it is harder to spot the scammers as you have to click on a photo rather than text.  I agree that it is harder to decide if a user is a scammer or a real person uploading images. Worryingly, Sam Laird reports on Catalin Cosoi, chief security researcher at the antivirus software provider BitDefender, who said “Most Pinterest scams so far involve surveys, and are the most common plots across all social media sites.”

Sam Laird went on to say “A seemingly great offer for a discounted service or product will first ask users for personal information.  That personal information enables more directly targeted attacks and come-ons to unsuspecting users.”

It’s a difficult thing to determine the right level of information distribution, yet at the same time, it is a successful platform to show your business off to fantastic effect.  What better way to showcase your work to a potentially massive audience?  It pays to be cautious and not to divulge personal information, but at the same time, the imperfection of the end-user is the point of it all.

pinned a few pictures from my independent blog, and already it has gained 43 followers from me doing absolutely nothing else.  Now that is an impressive result for almost zero work, and if I add more pictures and boards to it, the potential grows, as do the potential new readers who follow the link to my blog.

There is a code to protect your own website from being pinned, as realistically, anyone can come to your website, pin your image on their account, and Pinterest will have the authority to sell your images on.

That means ANY images you post online of your family, home and work life could potentially be sold on from the account of someone who had pinned an image of yours that they like.  How about the thought that you could end up advertising that dating company if someone pins your head shot to a pinboard of potential new hair styles?

Thanks again to Jax for the  code.  Add  <meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin”/> your potential pinners will see a message telling them that the site does not allow pinning.

The potential for showcasing businesses in Pinterest is very large, but with the current T & C’s, I would only advise pinning our own work.

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