Hello, Pinterspammers … no, we’re not that stupid

Maybe I’ve missed something, but it’s only in the last couple of weeks that I’ve noticed the spam surge on Pinterest. Have you?

If not, here’s what to look out for…

Someone with a fairly exotic name will follow you, or like one of your pins. They probably won’t have repinned one of your pins, though.

You decide to follow them back, and click on one of their pretty pins, like this one, say:







But when you click through to the final image, you get something like this (and I have seen ads for types of bread, L’Oreal cosmetics and numerous others – I suspect this one is a spammy job, too):








Happily the Pinterpolice appear to be on the case. When I clicked on this cute little doggy’s pic on a suspect board…







…I got through to this:








If you haven’t run across these types before, here are the characteristics of the spammers’ boards so you don’t waste time on them:

**As I said, a slightly – but not overly – exotic name, female, accompanied by a picture of a pretty young woman.

**Many of the spammers have a description line that says “follow me if you like Jennifer Lopez/Madonna,” or something like “I’m just amazing.”

**They will have a few followers, but be following hundreds or even into thousands.

**The vast majority of the ones I’ve seen have loads of boards – 351 seems a popular number.

**There will only be one pin for each board (occasionally there’s a second one.)

**The titles of the boards will bear little or no relation to the nature of the pictures pinned, e.g. one called “food I love” will show a picture of a garden or pair of shoes

**If you come across one of these Pinterspammers, you’ll find a “report pin” button to the right of the large image, which you access by clicking on the smaller pic on the person’s board. If enough of us report the spammers they might get the hint and stop cluttering up our inboxes …

A friend of mine got one today that metamorphosed into an ad for knock-off Gucci bags. Various reports are coming in of other spam delights What has been your experience of Pinterspam so far?

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  1. So we can’t interest you in a nice Gucci spam, I mean bag then? 😉
    It’s good to see that Pinterest are on top of things 🙂

    • Well, Sarah, I wonder if the Pinterpolice are doing anything proactive – so far it only looks like they are blocking spammers who are reported by us pinners.

  2. I am such a Pinterest noob that I had not yet seen the dark and seamy underbelly. I appreciate the warning!

  3. I’m in the Mary sector, too: And this alert makes me even more wary of spending time getting my head round how yet another Social Media tool (and, in this case, one that doesn’t come at all easily to me) 🙁

    Does anybody know whether Pinterest is taken seriously on a b2b basis?

    • I think it’s beginning to be taken very seriously in B2B circumstances, Linda, but as always it’s “horses for courses” and any business user must be au fait with the main bulk of the Pinterest readership/viewership and align its product or service offerings accordingly.

    • I would say that Linked-in is taken far more seriously in the B2B space that Pinterest for most industries. For certain sectors, mostly those with female demographics as the target (hate that word), then it is starting to be seen as an important channel.

  4. You need not be on the site to get spammed , today along with a few hundred others I received an invite via a spam tweet to view what can best be described as a minimalist set of pinsboards with a total of 6 pins.

    • The spam gremlins get in everywhere, Steven … maybe we should call them “spamlins?” Or perhaps “spamgoyles,” as in gargoyles? They have become an occupational hazard on the internet but there have been snake oil salesmen and other slippery types in the business world for centuries now, so I suppose we should take them in our stride!

  5. I started experiencing the spammer rubbish a couple of days ago – so far it hasn’t been too bad and it’s certainly not enough at the moment to put me off using Pinterest. With luck the Pinterest community will keep them in check.

    • I imagine Pinterest will see them off pretty soon, Angela, as the last thing the PinterPolice want is for newcomers to be put off remaining in the fold by spammers. Let’s hope so, anyway.

  6. Beware the boards with pins that don’t go to a site with the content that matches the picture.

    More disturbing yesterday was on that opened to a fake Pinterest page that claimed my account has been verified as authentic and linked to a ‘prize’ page – a phone scam. Report any odd cases that you find and we may have a chance of reducing these pests.

  7. I have noticed when browsing there are a lot of those gift card posts that are clearly spam, but then I also see ones that are pictures of pretty things with crazy descriptions like, “oh this recipe looks amazing” but it’s a picture of a gorgeous outfit, or I’ll see the same picture floating around on every page I go to with completely different descriptions none of which relate to the pin. And I came across this just now that led me to this post http://pinteressts.com/Pinterest-Scavenger-Hunt/
    (screen shot) http://i43.tinypic.com/v454zn.png

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Katie. I just checked that link you found a while ago and that sure looks like yet more spam to me! Have you reported it yet?

  8. Wendy Janzen says

    I’ve reported about 1000 spam pins so far, and they just keep coming. The real problem (imho) is that Pinterest doesn’t have a firm policy in place to deal with spam. They block links when they’ve confirmed it is a spam link, but that is it. No blocking accounts that are obviously spam, no stopping those accounts from continuing to spread the mess, nothing. Pinterest is a great idea, but if their attitude is to ignore the issue, and to restict people like myself that have been trying to report it, then I’m not going to be around much longer.

    • That’s interesting, Wendy. I’m going to contact Pinterest directly and ask them if they’d like to comment on this.

      • Wendy Janzen says

        Please do – an official policy on what Pinterest will do with prolific spammers would be very good for everyone to know, then we can decide if we are willing to give them more time to clean up the site, or if we have had enough and will just close up our accounts.

        • I have emailed their Press Office asking for them to comment, Wendy, and hope to receive a response on here – or if they reply purely by email I will share it here with everyone.

          • Wendy Janzen says

            I’ve just returned from a week out of town, and decided to pop in and see if Pinterest has replied yet – their silence is deafening.
            Pinterest has also not removed pins I flagged for nudity before I left, guess it’s time to bookmark the pins I like and delete the account.

          • I have forwarded your comment/email to the press office at Pinterest, Wendy. As I said in my email to you, I really think it’s time Pinterest got a grip on these problems and took something other than the rather lukewarm action they have been performing up until now.

  9. Thanks for posting this. I get new messages quite regularly that I’m being followed by someone new, and lately, they’re more often than not from the types of accounts you described. I’ve never followed one back, but I was too naive to figure out what the point was.

    Now that I understand more about what they’re doing, I will definitely start reporting them.

    • I’ve been told that Pinterest are being a bit slow at sniffing out and expelling these spammers, Tracey, but if enough of us pester their head office with spam reports I suspect they’ll soon get the message and do something a bit more drastic! Thanks for your comment and let’s all work together to get the spam off Pinterest.


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