We all know by now that I’m a huge Pinterest fan. I love it. I could talk for hours about it. I spend upwards of 6 hours a day either on it or learning about it – to be fair that’s my job, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it! But there is one thing that I don’t love about Pinterest… and that’s stolen pins.
If you spend a lot of time on Pinterest (and/or know a fair bit about it) you will probably have some experience of stolen pins. Every so often a picture of my own nails will pop up in my feed, but it’ll be linking to westealnailpics.com (not a real address…I don’t think. Don’t click on it just in case.) This is not a Pinterest-only issue, in fact it’s fairly common all over the internet. As bloggers and businesses most of us have had blog posts, images, or ideas pilfered at some point.
WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT STOLEN PINS?
- Stolen pins mean less traffic for you. There are certain pins of mine that drive consistent traffic to my blog from Pinterest. But spammers tend to target viral or well-performing pins to pinch, which makes sense. But if someone searches ‘nude nails long’ on Pinterest and comes across the stolen pin, all that delicious traffic and lovely potential followers go to the spammer instead of me. Booooo!
- Stolen pins mean potential damage to your brand. If your images are watermarked or have your branding on them (something I definitely recommend btw!), and they’re linked to low quality or even harmful sites (scammers or malware, for example) then your name is unfortunately also linked to that dodgy content. Not ideal.
- It’s the principle! This is something I see many people disagree on: some think ‘life’s too short’ and just write those images off. They can’t be bothered to report each pin and see it as a small drop in a very large bucket and therefore pointless. But I am principled (some would say petty) and it really sticks in my craw that there are people out there just nicking other people’s hard work for their own gain. Quite simply it’s unfair and I am not ashamed to admit that I get a lot of satisfaction every time I report someone!
- Pinterest are doing everything they can to crack down on stolen pins but these scammers are sneaky and a lot of it is automated. I think it’s unrealistic of us to expect Pinterest to identify every piece of stolen content with no help at all from us – after all, we know our content better than anyone so it makes sense for us to do our part.
HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY STOLEN PINS?
- Every time I pin my own content, I use a branded hashtag in the description. Hashtags are still a bit of an odd one on Pinterest as they only really became A Thing earlier this year, and I’m not sure ‘normal users’ really use them in the same way they would on Twitter and Instagram. But they really come into their own when identifying stolen pins. Often the automated system of scraping content appears to save the image and associated copy – so although the website destination gets changed, everything else is exactly the same. So I can search #talontedlex on Pinterest and, mixed in among my own, there they are! To make identifying them easier, just hover your mouse over each image and the website it links to will appear.
- Pinterest has a wonderful little tool called Visual Search. It was designed to find visually similar items on Pinterest – we’ve all been there, we see a photo of some amazing boots but there’s no information and no link. Simply click the Visual Search tool (the little square in the bottom right of the photo)- et voila: every photo on Pinterest that matches will appear, and hopefully one will have a link to buy or find out more. BUT I also use this nifty little tool for finding stolen pins. I go through my most popular pins on Google Analytics (paying particular attention if a pin that usually drives a lot of traffic has suddenly dropped off) and use Visual Search to investigate further.
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU FIND A STOLEN PIN?
There are 5 little steps:
- Open the pin in question;
- Click the flag above the image;
- Fill in the form (information about what happens to this information is included below);
- DO NOT tick ‘remove all’ as this removal can sometimes include your original pin which you do not want!;
- You are asked if you want to give the user a ‘Strike’ – it may surprise you to know that even though I am a Petty Patty, more often than not I do not tick the Strike box as I believe sometimes it can be a mistake and getting someone’s account shut down is a big deal that I don’t want on my conscience if it did turn out to be an error. However, if the account is obviously spammy and/or stealing multiple pins from me, I will ask Pinterest to give them a Strike.
Other things to bear in mind:
- You can include multiple pins on each form so it’s not as time consuming as some people think;
- You can’t submit the form until you’ve filled in EVERY single box (this took me so long to work out!);
- And lastly, it’s important for you to know that whenever a DMCA request is filed (not just on Pinterest), the person being reported can access the details of the person who reported them, including your name and address (I use a business address just in case). This is just how it’s done – I don’t know why – but I wanted you to know that.
I hope you found this lesson on stolen pins helpful, let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help. You can read all my other Pinterest blog post tips HERE. Also you can follow me on Pinterest, it is my happy place! And finally, if you need any help with Pinterest, you can read all about my services as a Pinterest manager HERE.
==SAVE THIS IMAGE ON PINTEREST TO READ LATER!==