Information for Bloggers and People Who Use Pinterest

Pinterest -  Important Information for Creative Bloggers and Artists

 NOTE: This Pinterest article was written soon after Pinterest started gaining popularity in early 2012. Most of this article is still very relevant.

This is WAY off of my normal topic of interest here on Living Locurto, but I have recently found out interesting things about Pinterest that I wanted fellow bloggers to know. I’m not judging anyone, but wanted to give you all some information about my findings.

1. When someone pins your photo, it goes onto the Pinterest’s servers.

You no longer have control of that image, Pinterest does.

If you don’t want your image on Google or Yahoo, you just delete it from your blog or server. You don’t have that option with Pinterest. It’s there for anyone to repin and take whether you want them to or not.

What if someone pinned a photo of your cute baby and it went viral on Pinterest…. then others are using your baby on their site to get pins and Pinterest followers? (see point #2)

What if you were being paid to be featured in a magazine, but they wanted exclusive rights to your photo. You take the photo off of your site, but it’s all over Pinterest? (see a a comment below from someone who says this happened to her and she has yet to hear from Pinterest when asked to remove it.)

Once someone pins your photo, it’s on Pinterest forever until you contact them to remove it.

I wonder if Pinterest would remove ALL of the photos if your photo went viral? I don’t have the answer to that. All I know is that I have no control of my photo once it’s pinned.

(UPDATE: I have contacted Pinterest to remove my images or direct links to the correct URL and they usually do eventually. This is very very time consuming to go through each image you want removed or a link changed. )

 

Here is an example of how you have no control over a photo once it gets pinned and why you should be concerned:

My friend and very talented baker Amanda, says this about her amazing Heart Cake that has become HUGELY popular on Pinterest:

Amanda wrote: “Out of 100 of my images on Pinterest, maybe 5 actually link to me.”

Sample #1:

Amanda's Heart Cake

Sample #2:

 

In the pinned image above, Amanda’s cake is sourced via Google found on another blog who has made Amanda’s cake.

She shows Amanda’s photo as the finished product, that photo then went to Google and got pinned! So she is in turn getting traffic to her blog because of Amanda’s photo. She is using Amanda’s recipe, photo and directions.

Amanda does get credit waaaaaaay at the bottom of the post as “Source”.

That small hidden link is the only place out of these two pins where Amanda gets any credit to her wonderful idea and photo.

(UPDATE: Since writing this article, the website that this pinned image was linked to has been taken down. Obviously they realized it was copyright infringement and took measures to correct it. Now, Amanda’s photo is still on Pinterest with no credit to any source.)

 

2. People are finding pins from the Pinterest “Popular” section, then re-creating that idea in a blog post.

It could be your idea.

Why are they doing this?

  1. Not ALL, but a good handful are doing it to ride on the “Popular Pinterest Train”. – What the average person probably doesn’t realize is the amount of traffic people are getting from Pinterest. It’s higher than any other social media platform as of now. If you’re lucky, you can get more hits to your website from ONE pin than an entire year of Google search traffic. I’m talking thousands of hits from just ONE pin. For those people who don’t have websites, they probably have no clue about this. When more companies and website owners find out, they will flock to Pinterest. This is just the beginning and why I wanted to write this post now.

Why is this different from using one of my ideas and making a craft and putting it on your blog?

  1. You are doing it because you like it and it’s fun. You are not trying to re-create a popular pinned item in hopes that yours will go viral therefore bringing you tons of traffic to your blog.
  2. You are not giving Pinterest or your Pinterest board credit (to get Pinterest followers), you are giving me credit. We all have fun sharing ideas and everyone is happy. It’s not about getting more Pinterest followers which in turn will get your blog more traffic.

I admit, I have found amazing ideas from Pinterest and featured them (the original source) on my blog occasionally with a link to my Pinterest board. I have also benefited from people pinning my ideas and getting traffic.

I’m sure many people feature items that they found on Pinterest just for fun and link to the original source. I don’t see a problem with that as long as they link to the source, not Pinterest.

What I didn’t realize until recently, is that people were actually creating “Inspired by Pinterest” blogs based on this.

Whole websites devoted to this.

Your ideas used for someone’s Pinterest gain. I should make a shirt with that saying! Ha.

If you are using Pinterest to get more traffic and hopefully make lots of money, great for you. I just hope you are using your own photos and ideas or asking the original creator to collaborate so it’s a win win for each side.

 

If you don’t believe me, read this Greekgeek article where the author sites this article and actually searched Google for Pinterest Inspired sites and found millions of results. Or just go search yourself.

 

To sum up, I just wanted to share my findings with you.

Owl Smores Recipe by Amy Locurto at LivingLocurto.com

I really love what Pinterest has done. I enjoy pinning and finding inspiring ideas. I just hope you will do what you can to protect your ideas and images. I know I will be changing the way I use Pinterest from now on.

As you will see in the future, my photos will include my URL watermark or  “Photo Terms” as in my Owl Smores photo above. Then when you go to Pinterest, you’ll see my note or url on my photos in the mist of this.

I hope someday Pinterest will make it where the original source must be pinned. Or at least provide a reminder before someone pins a photo. We can do nothing about those who mis-use Pinterest… only try to do the best we can to use Pinterest the way it was meant to be used as an inspiration board. If we get traffic, that is just a very nice bonus!

 

FINAL & IMPORTANT NOTE:

Please pin the original sources. I feature a lot of people here, it takes 2 seconds to click over to their site to pin their post. I hope you will do that from now on. I will.

I apologize for not doing that in the past. I like you, didn’t even think about it until recently. Just pinning things I liked, never realizing that person’s photo could go viral and they don’t get credit.

REMINDER: When you submit a photo to another site, they will probably be pinning YOUR PHOTO TO THEIR WEBSITE and not yours. If you are okay with that, go for it. Hopefully the reader will eventually click a few more times to find your blog and original project. In my experience, I haven’t found that to be the case, even with magazine or news websites that claim to have multi-million page views.

Thanks so much for reading this long post!!

****UPDATE****

Here is a follow up to this post with more info and how Pinterest is Changing The Way I Blog.

 

Link With Love Campaign

Please pin the “Dear Pinterest” image found on Link With Love. It’s a kind campaign to raise awareness about the importance of LINKING to the original source.

 

Related articles:

Is Pinterest a Haven for Copyright Violations? - Greekgeek.hubpages.com

Why I Tearfully Deleted My Pinterest Inspiration Boards – DDKPortraits.com (attorney & photographer)

Is Pinterest Already Making Money, Quietly? – NYTimes.com

How Pinterest Uses Your Content Without Violating Copyright Laws - ReadWriteWeb.com

Our Neighborhood Blog Watch Starts Today, and Some Startling News About Pinterest – AskChefDennis.com

Pinterest: Everything You Wanted to Know About 2012′s Hottest Startup - Mashable.com

The Electronic Frontier Foundation: Teaching Copyright

 

About Amy Locurto

Amy is a creative mom of two and graphic designer. When she's not working on Living Locurto, she's busy designing Printable Party Supplies and working on I Heart Faces, her photography blog. Find Amy on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You’ve made me think about how I use Pinterest myself because I was using the site as inspiration for my own blog. I’ll be changing my habits! Do you mind if I link to your post in the future on my blog?

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You’ve made me think about how I use Pinterest myself because I was using the site as inspiration for my own blog. I’ll be amending my habits. Do you mind if I link to your post in the future on my blog?

  3. If you store your images on flickr using a creative commons license, and then include them on your blog, search engines like http://flickrcc.net will automatically include the correct attribution and a link back to the original image if it gets pinned.

    Although not a link straight back to your blog, it does provide a path to it via flickr

  4. Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront. We all want credit for our hard work and creativity.

  5. Hi!

    It is really hard to be able to track where your images go on Pinterest. You can use the bookmarklet Picnic we created to see who else is posting and where your image has been. Hope this helps!

    picnic.dreamuplabs.com

    V

  6. Another idea would be to watermark every photo with the name of your blog

  7. Great post. I’ve been surprised that pinterest doesn’t require the original source myself. I realized it from the other end as a user. Whenever I like something, I always want to go to the original source. I hate when I’m redirected to google or another site similar to pinterest. I want to see the originator of the fab idea :)

  8. I admit that I was addicted to Pinterest and invited others to join in. When I realized the copyright issues I deleted ALL of my boards in March. however, I am STILL getting Pinterest followres that like my pins. What the? I just don’t feel comfortable with all of this. thanks for the continued heads up.

  9. Andrea M says:

    A little off topic, but I got an email notification that somebody repinned something for my Pinterest Board, I was confused because it was a strange image that I didn’t recognize, then I realized that the whole board was unreconizable with the exception of a blurry picture of me, one of my e-mail addresses and my name, not even sure of the advantage of somebody makeing a fake account. I reported it.

  10. I find the whole Pinterest debate interesting, but think that it is just a focus for an issue that has been going on a lot longer and is a lot more widespread. If Pinterest disappeared tomorrow, there would still be lots of people reproducing your photos, your recipes, your ideas on their own blogs without due credit and the Internet is just too big to stop that happening. (I love the description of it being a ‘wild baby out of control’) Pinterest is just a very convenient way for a lot more people to do it and with the quantum leap from little known pin board website to mainstream traffic builder, it has become the scapegoat for something that is already deeply entrenched.

    I’m not condoning copyright violation in any way, but sadly, I think the internet is not a safe place to post copyrighted material, full stop. Once it’s out there, it’s ‘in the wild’ and you cannot possibly control it.

    And no one has even mentioned the fake photoshopped images that people are pinning thinking they are real …

  11. Jeannie M Romanello says:

    Wow, I apologize and I have some reading to do and then talk to my daughters and friends…

  12. Glass Arts says:

    Pinterest is an abomination for us content providers. I’ve had thousands of my graphics pinned and I get virtually no traffic from Pinterest. I cannot add a “no-pin” meta-tag and re-upload thousands of webpages, just beccause some site has decided to steal my content. I was able to provide graphics for free, because visitors meant revenue; but now with Pinterest leaching my audience, I’ll have to charge my visitors.

  13. I felt so bad that i deleted everything on my boards- and they were great boards too. the interesting thing is that after 4 to 6 weeks of nothing to see on my accountnew people are still following me. I also post on my blog that my copywirted pics may not be pnned. I have to learn to water mark.
    I enoyed Pinterest. so relaxings. But I don’t like the idea of an artists work being hijacked fro someonele to get the attention.
    thanks for updating usd all. Malika

  14. I just now bothered to read all this about Pinterest and have since deleted all my boards! I hope that counts. I never knew….I just did what everyone else was doing. I know that’s no excuse, but I hope someone else like me will pin wisely in the future. Thanks for the post and all the links! Much appreciated.

  15. I just read your article (after deleting about 2000 pins on my Pinterest boards today, due to copyright concerns). I did a quick search of your owl smores on Pinterest, just now, and gave up looking for one that credited you after viewing at least 100 pins! That is sad. I had no idea how bad it is!

  16. Very helpful! Inadvertently mis-using someone’s created efforts happens so easily when it’s made so easy to do. Posting a link to this on my FB, passing the word.

  17. Like with anything in life, you take the good and you take the bad.
    I once had wording taken directly {word for word} off my blog, made for profit, and then ‘featured’ on a HUGE blog without any link back or credit to me. The person featured who stole the content was not a blogger, but the huge blogger should know better, especially when it was brought to their attention. I had readers sending email after email asking if I had seen it. It was beyond irritating, especially when the blogger didn’t do anything to correct it.

    It is the nature of the beast when you blog and you put your stuff out there for people to take as they will. Yes, it’s a copyright issue. Yes, it isn’t right and ideally people would do what they’re supposed to. But, the fact is that people don’t always do the right thing.

    Lost traffic is irritating. I get it. But Pinterest has also increased most bloggers’ traffic by sometimes 2 and 3 fold. If you really don’t want your things pinned, there is a line of code under the ‘help’ section in Pinterest that allows you to block pinning from your site. You can also watermark everything you post. And this is a good reminder that we probably should be doing that.

    I also think it’s a wee bit ironic that you made this post very pin worthy. :-)

    • @Michelle,
      I won’t put my creative ideas out there now that I don’t want pinned or shared. Actually, I didn’t make this post pin worthy until many people asked me to. You can scroll through the comments here to read what they said. So I made a graphic at the top of the page. It’s more to spread the word to help educate.

      Even since writing this article, people have been using my photos on their sites, claiming them as their own and pinning their own posts to get traffic. When I confront them about it, they say “if it’s on the internet, I can use it as my own”. They believe it’s their content just by putting it on their website. I just don’t understand why people think this way, but they do.

      Now, I make sure each photo has copyright info and my blog title in it. It won’t stop those people, but what can you do?

  18. Bornagainscholar says:

    I am so glad I followed links to get to this post. My search started on another blog where a person wrote a very angry sounding post about people “breaking copyright law” by pinning her images on that site. But she offered no argument as to why it is bad or what her concerns are. As I guessed and from what I read here is a problem with people not sourcing the original creator. I agree that is a problem and not acceptable. I appreciate you taking the time to express your concern clearly so people can learn what the issue is and how to correct it.

    • @Bornagainscholar,

      Thank you. I’m glad my article helped you understand why some of us who do creative things and take “pinable” photos might be upset that others are using our images to get traffic. Not much we can do about it, but educate people about what is going on.

      • Bornagainscholar says:

        @Amy, I just received a update from Pinterest the other day. What I did not realize before and what I assume people were upset about is the initially claimed that anything pinned on their site gave them full rights to sell the work. Of course they had no intention of doing that (so they say). At least they changed that. I like your approach, if you don’t want people to use your work just put your name at the bottom. Like I said to the first blogger that I discussed this with (who had no clue to why she was upset other than other people were) at least if they pin a picture from your blog there is a link back to you. If they take a screen shot and then post it they can claim it theirs.

        Keep up the good work!

  19. Living Locurto says:

    Calm down, crazy person. You put two marshmallows and a piece of candy on a grahm cracker. You really want credit for that?? You are crazy. If you put your pictures on your blog, just expect things like this. If you have a really amazing, life changing idea…that is when it becomes an issue. But a cracker with a marshmallow?? That’s not even a good idea.

  20. Great post, thanks for supporting this big issue that is hitting a lot of people.
    One of your readers left me a link to this post on my own blog where I have raised similar issues after having content ‘stolen’ and placed on Pinterest. Read my own posts on the topic here:
    http://steve-morton.com/2012/02/23/why-im-against-pinterest/
    http://steve-morton.com/2012/03/02/pinterest-will-boost-your-web-traffic/

    I will be following your blog with interest from now on. Keep up the excellent work.
    Regards
    Steve

    • @Steve,

      Thanks for sharing Steve!

      • @Amy, Hi Amy. I’m in the middle of an ongoing discussion with Pinterest as to why they allow images to be pinned from Google Image Search…

        If you are the copyright holder, you are very unlikely to use Google Image Search to then pin those images on to Pinterest. You would upload them direct from your website for from your PC where you hold the files?

        Sadly this common sense logic hasn’t been taken too well by the staffer at Pinterest.

        I asked them to also consider some form of compensation to content providers who’s content does get Pinned on to the site. Especially if they are going to be making money from advertising. No response to that… what a surprise!

  21. I would like to know if you would mind if I shared your link on my facebook page. A friend of mind posted this link
    http://www.linkedin.com/news?actionBar&articleID=5580313351826706477&ids=dPgVdPASczcQdjkTe30Sc3wRdiMQdP0SdP4TdP4Rcz4Ve3wVdPkRb3wUcz0QdjwRcjARczwVd3sSdjkIdPsQdz0Tdz8UcjkPcP4Pc3wRdiMOdPgQejwUdzsTcjoOdz0UdPkR&aag=true&freq=weekly&trk=eml-tod2-b-pub-1&ut=2wvi861NimpB81
    about a lawyer removing all her pins. I tried to find a way to email you but couldn’t find it.

  22. I am so glad I found your post, it is so insightful. I may have pins that don’t go to the direct source, but that is mainly due to Pinterest not having a Pin It button for IPads, so I just repin! Hopefully Pinterest will create a Pin It Button for IPads really soon and solve this issue

  23. I’m guessing a lot of people have seen this article by now, but wanted to share just in case. Basically if Pinterest gets sued for copyright infringement, the pinner has to pay for all legal fees. I think if everyone followed Amy’s advice we could all live in nice pinning harmony. Sadly though, that’s not the case.

    http://ddkportraits.com/2012/02/why-i-tearfully-deleted-my-pinterest-inspiration-boards/

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