Pinterest is definitely the hottest thing on the web these days. There isn’t any other website that even come closer to Pinterest in terms of growth and increasing popularity. But recently, the social networking site also began feeling the dark side of success.
But before I elaborate on it in details, please allow me to take you back three months ago.
Back then, many sites began noticing a big increase of incoming traffic from Pinterest. I even wrote a post describing how Pinterest became my biggest traffic referral source. Even though that since then other referral sources like Facebook and Twitter took their place again, Pinterest remained a strong source of traffic.
As you know (or maybe not), unfortunately success also attracts the wrong type of forces. Spammers revealed that Pinterest is essentially a gold mine for their manipulative efforts to make money. And so, increasingly spammers have enlarge their presence on the virtual pinboard.
Couple of days ago, an interview with a sophisticated spammers has been published on the Daily Dot. He revealed that by using bots which creates automatically thousands of accounts while simultaneously pinning many products with affiliate links, he is making on an average day $1,000 out of Pinterest!
The spammer said that he actually got the inspiration from Pinterest itself after its affiliate links story blew out (if that isn’t bad karma, I don’t know what is).
Although yesterday the spammer has claimed that it was all a hoax just to see “how popular Pinterest is”, after a brief research it was pretty easy to discover that a lot of spammers resides within Pinterest, possibly by using spam bots. Take for example the following profile of the so-called Sandra Stolley:
Looks legitimate, right? Wrong! Realistic as it may seem, this is actually a SPAM account that is full with pins with Amazon Affiliate program links! Take a look on the Twitter account on which this profile is connected to:
Yep, a zombie Twitter account- No followers, no following, no Tweets, no image, nothing. Created only for one purpose- Spamming! And this is just one example out of some I’ve found yesterday in just a few minutes of research. By the way, many of the Pinterest spam accounts are following each other so it will appear more legitimate.
Pinterest Reaction (So Far)
Pinterest didn’t officially comment on the subject yet, but it seems that there is much less spam pins wandering around the site right now. For instance I haven’t managed to find any pins that linking to Amazon at all. Does Pinterest deleting pins which specifically links to Amazon? It isn’t clear yet.
And if it is the case, it certainly can’t be considered as a serious solution to the problem, spammers would simply move on to the next affiliate network. Pinterest is discovering for the first time that being in the big league of social networking sites also constitutes dealing effectively with the malicious elements of the web.