Pinterest spam: newsflash! (Well, newsflush.)

After I posted here about spammers on Pinterest recently, a number of interesting comments ensued and one comment, in particular, spurred me on to further action, as I found it worrying:

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 restrict people like myself that have been trying to report it, then I’m not going to be around much longer (from reader Wendy Janzen.)

Enough already: I contacted Pinterest direct

I emailed as follows:

Hi guys
Here in the UK we’re all going mad about Pinterest – we love it! – but we’ve been worried lately about spam creeping into it.
I posted about this on my site recently and it has developed into quite a lively discussion.
Could you be very kind and post a comment on it, to let us all know how you’re handling the spam issue?
Here’s the link –
Thanks in anticipation
With all good wishes
Suze St Maur

Quick reply – shame its content wasn’t quite so sharp

Here’s what I assume is their marketing agency replied within less than 24 hours (win) but with typical PR waffle (fail) ….

Hi Suze –
Thanks for getting in touch and apologies for the delayed response! We appreciate your concern and want to make sure you know we take spam in the community very seriously. Below is a comment/statement for your reference.
As a growing service, Pinterest is not immune to challenges faced by sites across the web including spam. However, it is a tremendous priority for us to quickly address them. Our engineers are actively working to manage issues as they arise and are revisiting the nature of public feeds on the site to make it harder for fake or harmful content to get into them.
Also, want to make sure you saw that Pinterest also addressed how users can help protect themselves from spam in a blog post last week:
Please let me know if you have any other questions – hope this helps!
The Outcast Agency

Thanks Erica (and it’s no fault of yours!), but much as we feel for Pinterest’s troubled immune system where spammers are concerned, don’t your clients think maybe someone should have seen that one coming, and plumbed in a more robust filtering system in the first place?

Yours Pinterpuzzled

Suze and the HTWBers xx

UPDATE APRIL 25th: Watch out – the spammers are getting clever on Pinterest, mixing up genuine pins with spam ones. And I even found one yesterday that went through to a virus warning. Come on, Pinterpals – get your act together before spammers and hackers take the whole damned site over!

Newflash to help you with your writing!!!

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

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?

Write right for Pinterest and beyond:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English