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It’s no secret I’m kind of obsessed with Pinterest. I love it, I could talk about it for hours, and I am still learning more and more everyday. Like a few days ago – when I received a big lesson. A lesson in why it is so important to brand your images for Pinterest – and I’m not just talking about design strategy.
I rely quite heavily (probably a little too heavily) on Pinterest for a lot of my blog traffic – with it accounting for more than 50% of my traffic sources. Because I am so grateful to all of those who share my pins, I like going over to their profiles and checking out what they like, repining some of their pins and showing some general love. I was doing this again the other day and I stumbled across one of my pins.
But there was a problem. It didn’t have my link to it. Instead, it was linked some kind of page that had a whole lot of books (amazon affiliates maybe) and images… with no apparent branding or contact information. I was mortified. If I found this pin, imagine how may others were out there without the correct url.
So I started searching, tracing back the pins, following the trail of ‘pinned from’, finding the pin on that users profile and continuing on. I commented on a lot of the pins along the way with a kind note saying:
‘Thank you so much for repining my pin however the correct url for it is…. Unfortunately it has been changed along the way – thought you might like the original article.”
I ended up commenting on so many pins I received a warning from Pinterest for ‘suspected spamming activity’.
An hour later I found the culprit. Somewhere along the way the pin’s destination url had been changed again, now to a personal Etsy account. That account matched the Pinterest page I was now on. I checked a few of her other pins to find they also directed to her personal Etsy page.
I was livid. How dare someone take an image that I created (I even took the photo myself!!) that displays my intellectual property, then redirect it to their own page. I would never have dreamt anyone would do this.
So I politely commented on the post and asked her to either remove the pin or change the url. But I decided that wasn’t enough. This woman had over 29,000 pins on her Pinterest account and I found at least another 10 pins that were redirecting to her own Etsy account (that were clearly not owned by her). So I reported her account.
I have to say, I didn’t actually expect anything to happen from Pinterest but they were amazing. Within 24 hours the pin was removed. But it was only the original pin – there was no way for them to remove all the other repins that had happened from there.
While I’m disappointed that I couldn’t fix all the repins, I am grateful for one thing.
On the bottom of ALL of my pinable images, I include my website name. That means, when someone clicks through that pin on Pinterest and realises that it doesn’t go to the site that the image says it will, there’s a chance that the person might look at the pin again and head over to my website.
I know it doesn’t fix the situation – but at least I have shown on my image what website that pin is meant to go to. It doesn’t have to be large and obtrusive, you can even incorporate it into your banding… just make sure it’s there.
This another reason why I always recommend to include your website. Previously I had done it for branding purposes, and realised it might be good if I did end up with any broken links along the way – but now I realise it’s good for these unfortunate times too.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this where someone has hijacked your work? I’d love to know how you’ve handled it.