Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hype, Meet Reality

After a peak in traffic in spring 2012, Pinterest has sputtered
despite dropping the invitation-only requirement.

To put things in perspective, Pinterest isn't doing all that much better
than the slowly imploding myspace.

That's right!
An 8% drop in traffic in the past 3 months.

Granted, this data is obscured to some degree by variations in the cat-and-mouse game between Pinterest, and our strange-bedfellow allies, the spammers; but before you buy that e-book from that self-appointed Pinterest guru whose byline is to instill a sense of panic YOU HAVE TO GET IN ON THE PINTEREST ACTION!, remember that Pinterest blows chunks, outside of recipe blogs and home decor brand names.

The hype machine doesn't appear to have run out of gas, yet, but it seems like the pin hags that spent 50 hours a week scraping third-party content to fuel Pinterest's hungry chase for venture capital, may have fallen behind on the laundry, and are too busy catching up folding threadbare socks and faded towels to infringe on pictures of cutesy socks and spiffy towels.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Google Pinterizes Its Image Search

Google Images' thumbnails are now much larger
at a set 180 pixels in height,
as shown in this unscaled screenshot.

I did a Google image search just yesterday. This morning, when I did it again, the array of images jumped at me. They were much, much larger.

They are measured at 180 pixels in height, and the even larger image that hovers over the thumbnail is now a relatively insignificant ~10% larger than the thumbnail itself. After you click to reach the actual website, there is a further intervening image that is near full-size (this is not new). Pin hags now have a choice of 2 large thumbnails hosted on Google, and a third, near full-size image that is hovering over the real one, but hosted by the content creator's website.

Pinterest's unique combination of wanton disregard for the creators whose images its users are feverishly scraping, and unfortunate success, has started a veritable conflagration of imitation that is changing the internet as we know it. And not in a good way. Where once citizen-publishers could turn a profit displaying their own images, there will be nothing but ashes left.

The latest Pinterest imitator is a heartbreaker. Google. It's a heartbreaker because Google is so large. It's not difficult to foresee a competition between search engines for who can display the biggest thumbnails without getting its wrists slapped by the law. Right now, competitor Bing's thumbnails are 75% smaller or less than Google's new supersized thumbnails. But for how long?

Bing Image search thumbnails haven't yet been pinterized.

How the other hand, it's easy to guess what Google might be thinking. Why not render Pinterest image collections even more pointless than they are now, by "improving" Google Image search? The downside is that the unashamed pinning from Google Images (which over-rides a site's nopin metatag, to add insult to injury) will be more rewarding to the pin hags, and that visitors can now spend more time on Google Images and have another reason to avoid visiting the creator's websites.

Pinterest forcing content creators to compete against their own websites was one thing. Now, Google is doing much of the same.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Hate Pinterest (Still)

From Thought and Poetry: Pinterest:
I think the idea of a site which takes an untold amount of hours, and which amounts to nothing more than digital decoration of a nonexistent spaces with things you wish your life had but actually doesn’t have is practically a form of self-mutilation.

[...] why is it so important that we cultivate the beautiful creations of others, instead of learning an art of our own?
From Cyclone Fanatic:
I. HATE. PINTEREST. To the creators of this social network, I'd like to be reimbursed for the hundreds of dollars of crap that my wife has spent on "projects" that she's seen on your website. You can give me money back Pinterest, but you can't reimburse me for valuable time that I've had to waste in humoring her about some of these things.
From eBay Unveils A Pinterest-Inspired Redesign, comment section:
I hate Pinterest, it's boring....can't believe a company got so big by making content boxes not align....hahaha.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Facebook Backs Off on Want It Button

The article: Unpinned: Facebook Shuts Down Test Of Its Pinterest-Style Collections Feature reports that the experimental "Pinterest-like" Facebook gadgets have already vanished from Facebook.

That's too bad, because Facebook's plan was one that shunned copyright infringement, partnering instead with some companies that gave permission before their images were used in the user's "Collections."

The experiment was a flop.

This is interesting because many commercial outlets are trying to get their foot in Pinterest's door and some may be succeeding to some degree, like the Martha Stewart Living Pinterest page. It truly drives the point home that people love to infringe on copyright of artists to fill their image hoards much more than they do commercial images with implied permission.

This reinforces the notion that Pinterest owes its success to the unabashed copyright infringement that it facilitates, and that it probably wouldn't have gotten anywhere without it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not Cool, The Cool Hunter

The shutting down of The Cool Hunter's Facebook Fan Page has set bloggers' typewriters on fire. The Cool Hunter's is a website whose sphere activity is very similar to Pinterest, minus the social aspect.

the cool hunter
You can still find The Cool Hunter's web page
but you won't find its Facebook Fan Page anymore.

The Cool Hunter puts third-party images together in a lattice, and calls them cool. Their attitude is that if you find your content on The Cool Hunter, and want it removed, they will remove it - just like Pinterest and its 10 million strong no-copyright-infringement-intended army. Both claim the right to infringe to their heart's content, and send content creators on endless goose chases for their images.

Unlike Pinterest, who earns its keep through raising of venture capital, The Cool Hunter monetizes the infringed content in a more conspicuous manner by placing advertisements around it.

The Cool Hunter marketed itself, in part, through a Facebook fan page. This fan page was recently shut down amidst the consternation of its 788,000 members, for cause of REPEATED COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. We're talking sending-a-message to a lot of people, here.

I'll give the author of APhotoEditor's blog the last word. In Facebook Shuts Down Business Fan Page For Repeated Copyright Infringement, the blogger comments:
It makes me wonder if Facebook is showing Pinterest that the proper way to curate is to upload something you own the rights to then enable the sharing.
Damn straight - Facebook is showing Pinterest how it's done.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Crowdsourced Censorship Board

The new censorship flag crowdsources content policing
and will stroke some much needed drama.

Pinterest is not satisfied with being a crowdscraper of third-party content.

Pinterest is now crowdsourcing the censorship of "offensive content" uploaded by its users, to its users.

Pinterest users are not just unpaid scrapers, and a legal shield; they are now Pinterest's censorship board.

Pin Hags can now bitch and moan to Pinterest about the following offenses to their sensitbility:
  • Nudity or Pornography
  • Attacks a group or Individual
  • Graphic Violence
  • Hateful Speech or Symbols
  • Actively promotes self-harm
  • Spam
  • Other

According to PC Mag, and on the plus side, the drama is bound to erupt:
Blocking someone will prevent you and the other person from being able to follow each other's boards, as well as like, repin, or comment on each other's pins.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Our Friends The Spammers

Below are some comments from a spammer forum. A lot of the Pinterest accounts may look legitimate on the surface, but many are fronts. In order to perform their spamming feats, these guys have to infringe on copyrights. But on the other hand, they are exploiting pin hags and degrading their infringement experience. It's hard not to feel ambivalent.

Becoming A Pinterest Authority
Im currently attached to a board called "Hawaiian Islands" has around 3,700 Images and 1,200 followers. I have not posted much but it seems to get a lot of attention. Might be worth making you're own board and giving it a trial run to see how things go.
Increase your Pinterest Accounts and boost your traffic and increase sales by yourself.
5000 Pinterest Accounts = 300$
Time Frame = 1 - 3 days
Must Read Last Pinterest Thread
Very interesting will implement this method.................. But how much time it will take to see traffic from pinterest???
Pinterest Journey
I pinned 3,700 odd images by hand in a few days, its very easy Plus i had some time.

PinPioneer is an awesome tool to have. You simply scrap images related to you're keyword and then pin em, all automated other than typing in the keyword you want and the description. I have no pinned anything over 150 images at a time but the owner Rick said the bot can pin 1,000 Images an hour.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

News Round Up

In How I got sucked into Pinterest, author Jennifer Bardsley completely forgets that all the things she "finds on Pinterest" actually come from another website.
I love gleaning ideas from other people on Pinterest to do with my kids at home.
In Will Pinterest dominate Facebook?, author Daniella Rivera berates the personal bickering on Facebook, and fawns over Pinterest. Much to her credit, she presents the other side of the coin:
Baronet believes as the popularity of photo-sharing social media apps and sites increases, some wonder if the photo quality online will be reduced. Baronet says this is possible.

“I do think the pervasiveness of social media does shift people’s expectations about what ‘acceptable photography’ can be,” said Baronet.

Baronet also said photo-sharing sites affect bloggers.

“I’ve been blogging since 2005, and it’s definitely caused me to blog less. I think that would be the impact for many bloggers,” said Baronet.
In Did You Hear The One About The Marketer Who Didn't Use Pinterest?, author Steve Olenski, spews forth some rather uncritical hype about Pinterest - enough to wonder about his journalistic integrity.
“70% (of Pinterest users) said they do so to get inspiration on what to buy.”
In Pinterest Users Can Now Block Users, Report Indecent Content, you can read about some new Pinterest features:
People will be able to block other users, flag certain pins, or report an entire user profile for review
Here comes the drama. Great! This should help pin hags infringe on copyright with less spam irritants, and fewer offending deep cleavage photographs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Want It: Facebook Plans To Steal Pinterest Thunder

Facebook is testing a new new feature called Collections where users mark images and create wishlists of products. Partners thus far include Pottery Barn, Neiman Marcus, and Victoria's Secret. The collection look like photo albums.

Currently being tested are "want" and "collect" buttons.

It sounds a lot like Pinterest, if Pinterest had chosen a path more clearly within the law. Facebook's system appears to be opted in by retailers, rather than opted out; Facebook limits users to photos of products selected by retailers. Beyond that, there is surprisingly little to say. The very fact that the default state is OPT IN renders the whole operation kosher, as far as infringement is concerned.

Man Imprisoned For Copyright Infringement

Forty months in prison for Sang Jin Kim, 37, who was distributing videos and movies to the US Korean community for profit.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pinterest Strike System: A Cruel Joke On Copyright Holders

Pinterest's online DMCA take down system now comes with a few options that give the impression that they are more serious about copyright infringement, while in fact making a mockery of the entire process, and grossly misleading copyright owners and their users.

Before Pinterest implemented this so-called strike system, all associated pins and repins associated with one complaint were routinely deleted as a group. Now, burdening copyright owners with an extra step, Pinterest gives them the option of removing fewer pins! That's right, now instead of removing all pins automatically, copyright owners must highlight, for each infringed image, a radio button to insist that all be removed. In other words, copyright owners must actively over-ride a new default state of only deleting the pin identified in the complaint.

Pinterest's new form has a new default state
of only removing the single pin in the complaint.
An extra step is now required to remove all.

The explanatory pop up windows obstruct the radio buttons unless one's cursor is in the exact small spot on the screen, another small detail that will irritate copyright complainants.

There was a time where Pinterest would send pinners a lovely letter following a take down notice, along with a copy of the photo that they "lost" for their "record." Let's gloss over the fact that copyright complainants do not get the courtesy of a list of the infringements in their complaints after the same take-down. It is not known if this practice was interrupted, if the letters changed, or what the take-down correspondence was like on the infringer's side prior to the new strike system. What we do know is that copyright holders now have the option of OPTING OUT of the infringer receiving a notification, when the notification was the default state some time in the past.

How does the new system work?

Repins: one letter, and that's it.
When a "strike" is applied against a repin, the infringer receives the letter chronicled here which is not a "strike" at all, but rather, a strongly worded re-assurance to the pinner that they have done nothing wrong: this complaint was not directed at you, or anything you did. There is only one letter for removed repins. Further repin infringements aren't acknowledged at all to the infringer, despite the complainant's application of another "strike."

Original pins: two letters, and that's it.
A. strike 1
When a "strike" is applied against an original pin, the infringer receives a first letter, chronicled here, it contains a re-assurance to encourage further content scraping by the user: ...we believe the overwhelming majority of activity on Pinterest is completely lawful and provides substantial benefits to copyright owners whose material is Pinned, but ends with the promise of consequences: Repeated allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account.

B. strike 2
The second "strike" applied against an original pin is a second letter copied here. The wording is less friendly: Further allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account[...].

What about "strike 3?" Or "strike 4?" They don't seem to exist at all. The account I created for this experiment is still open and active at the writing of this post, and no further correspondence was received from Pinterest regarding my deliberate infringement.

"the termination of users who acquire multiple 'strikes'"
appears to be a fiction.
As far as I can tell, there is no termination procedure.

The "strike" wording gives the illusion that after an unspecified number of strikes, an account should be penalized. It’s a illusion that makes copyright owners believe that Pinterest is actually doing something against infringement. This is in fact a lie – nothing could be further from the truth. There are no penalties, and no strikes are counted after the first two. Any additional "strikes" are completely ignored, even if they come from different copyright owners.

A huge thank you for the people that participated in the experiment.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Strike Three (A Repin)

"I did nothing wrong" - Pinterest says so.
This is to let you know that we removed one (or more) of your Pins as a result of a copyright complaint. The complaint was not directed against you or your Pin. It was directed against another user who Pinned or re-Pinned the same content from the following address:


While many copyright owners are happy to have their content Pinned on Pinterest, we recognize that some do not want their content to appear on Pinterest. Where, as here, a copyright owners notify us that they want their content removed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), it is our policy to remove the allegedly infringing Pin, as well as all other Pins that contain the same content if the copyright owners so choses.

Again, this complaint was not directed at you, or anything you did. We just thought you'd like to know why we removed your Pin.

Happy Pinning and thanks again for using Pinterest.

The Pinterest Team

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Strike Two

Interesting! Pinterest sent a different letter for the second strike.
This is to let you know that we removed another one of your Pins as a result of a copyright complaint. The content was Pinned from the following address:

(user uploaded)

This is the second copyright complaint we have received against your account pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). If you believe this Pin was removed in error, or that the copyright owner was mistaken in some respect (e.g. you contend your Pin is not an infringement, or the complaining party does not own the copyrights), you may file a counter notification by following the instructions found here.

If you do not submit a counter notification, we will assume the allegations of infringement are correct, and we will assess a second "strike" against your account. Further allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account pursuant to Pinterest's Copyright Policy.

Thanks for your attention,

The Pinterest Team
Sounds like one more strike and I may be out! Underline is mine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Strike One

Mea culpa. I have infringed on the the work of an accomplice to see what happens to infringers after receiving from Pinterest after receiving a STRIKE (a intriguing new option when filing a DMCA take-down notice with yet-unknown consequences). Copyright holders are now asked if they want to administer a STRIKE to the offending pinner. What happens then? Here it is:
This is to let you know that we removed one (or more) of your Pins as a result of a copyright complaint. The content was Pinned from the following address:

(user uploaded)

While we believe the overwhelming majority of activity on Pinterest is completely lawful and provides substantial benefits to copyright owners whose material is Pinned, we also recognize that some copyright owners do not want their content to appear on Pinterest and may believe the presence of their content on Pinterest infringes their copyrights. Where, as here, a copyright owner notifies us of alleged infringement pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"), it is our policy to remove the allegedly infringing Pin.

If you believe this Pin was removed in error, or that the copyright owner was mistaken in some respect (e.g. you contend your Pin is not an infringement, or the complaining party does not own the copyrights), you may file a counter notification by following the instructions found here.

If you do not submit a counter notification, we will assume the allegations of infringement are correct, and we will assess a "strike" against your account. Repeated allegations of infringement may result in the suspension or termination of your account pursuant to Pinterest's Copyright Policy.

Thanks for your attention,

The Pinterest Team
Substantial benefits to copyright owners? HA. The arrogance. Completely lawful? This may turn out to be misleading, only the future shall tell. "...may believe the presence of their content on Pinterest infringes their copyrights." I love how Pinterest believes, but copyright owners only MAY believe. How Pinterest, in their opinion is COMPLETELY lawful. The OVERWHELMING majority vs. SOME copyright owners. The so-called SUBSTANTIAL benefits.

We shall see how many strikes are required for the account to be deleted.

Who knew that Pin, Pins, and Pinned were words that are capitalized? Good luck with that. It's still going to be lower-case for me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Picstopin To Picstospam

This post is for giggles.

Picstopin is a website I can only call a spammified Pinterest knockoff. Primarily, it is exploiting Bing's Image Search API to display thumbnails that the search engine Bing would show for some pre-defined search terms, or user-entered search terms. These thumbnails images might be deemed to be fair use in a court of law when diplayed by Bing in the course of a user's search, although they may be considered on the large side. When the same images are exploited by Picstopin through the Bing API, 'fair use' may be compromised - that's the sort of unprofitable legal hair splitting that no one would be expected to drag in front of a judge. It's not surprising that nopin metatags aren't respected, since the source Bing doesn't process them.

These images are arranged in the familiar format popularized by Pinterest, each image decorated by a PIN IT button. That's when the fun begins.

If a user uses the PIN IT button, the image will be credited to the website, NOT Picstopin. Gamerboat? What is Gamerboat? I looked up reviews and found out, ironically, that the web domain I typed in the search query ( gets obliterated from the search results, and the top result is some random Pinterest page. This demonstrates the negative power of Pinterest links: as they are treated by Google right now, having links on Pinterest is bad for the source website. Here is a screenshot:

That's the first chuckle. In trying to boost the search engine ranking of via an underhanded linking scheme in Pinterest, Picstopin destroys this ranking, as outlined in this blog's Nasty Linking Practices and Clone Wars.

You can see here: all the images allegedly pinned from; none of these images actually come from the site.

The second laugh is when a Picstopin user clicks on one of the Bing-provided image thumbnails, they are re-directed to the affiliate website of the day, mediated by Peerfly or Clickbank, for example. In some cases these websites will be denied by your virus blocker, in others, they may have intrusive pop up windows that prevent you from leaving the spam website. You may be enticed to pay for "satellite" service that consists of streams freely available on the internet, entreated to fill out phishing surveys, etc.

Picstopin is just a big old spam/virus delivery system with a honeypot aimed at pin hags. Let's hope the website is a thorn in Pinterest's side, and the hags' sides.

UPDATE: I'm sad to report that Pinterest has flagged Picstopin as a spam site and blocks pinning from it; however, pin hags can still get caught with the PIN IT button as it's coded by the spam-master as belonging to,

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crowdscraper Is In

Added to the Urban Dictionary:

A crowdscraper is a website that makes use of volunteer manpower to scrape content from third party websites under the guise of being a social medium. The volunteers receive digital rewards such as "likes," "followers" or "friends." Crowdscrapers, by nature, promote a culture of unbridled copyright infringement. While they are probably legally protected from infringement claims by the DMCA, their volunteer base isn't and serves as a human legal shield.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pinner Obituaries

It's October already and we've been exploring the conflict between the crowdscraper Pinterest and the content creators who suffer the scraping since May. Today, we're pausing to look at the big picture.

Once a robust tool to support faster and better creative outputs, computers have now devolved into perma-obsolescing digital consumption platforms.

It wasn't so long ago that computers revolutionized how we type, archive, and design; machines were welded to every work desk. Some of us may even remember some warnings about how anyone not proficient with PASCAL or COBOL programming languages would be unemployable. The internet became a repository for volunteered information, a virtual encyclopedia of human knowledge and pursuit.

Would there come a time where there the marginal value of an extra bit of information on the web would approach zero, and we'd just piss time away re-arranging and re-exploiting what is already there and accessible? We would have hoped not.

On the other end of what has become a spectrum, cell phones, after a bout of getting smaller, started to get smarter.

For a while we fumbled and put tiny keyboards on cell phones, but by and large, the tendency is to drop the keyboard. With this trend, written communications reached unprecedented brevity (think: Twitter). Their worth diminished, and the time invested in each communication suffered a similar fate.

Laptop keyboards aren't particularly ergonomic, and don't get much love. The touchscreen tablet was born.

Technology has progressed in a way that has led us down the path of least resistance. Instead of using computers to create, build, and transform, our hands firmly on the mouse and the keyboard, we are now consuming farmvilles, images, illegal music downloads, youtube pratfalls and social rewards such as likes and followers. It must be depressing for microprocessors these days. Like The Hitchhiker's Guide robot Marvin, brain the size of a planet, reduced to performing menial tasks like fetching meek, cooperating ship intruders.

This is where Pinterest fits in. Scroll with your index, press the pinmarklet, and you've scraped content for Big Brother. You moved some electrons, re-arranged some zeros and ones off a big server somewhere, and completely wasted your time. Each like represents one unit of someone acknowledging your existence from the anonymous time-wasting masses, and the illusion that you're doing something worthwhile. It's an illusion. Pinning is doing nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Someday, when the pinners from the Pinner Hall of Shame are laying in their coffins, the survivors will say, in their obituraries: "she pinned a lot of pictures on the internet." And the kids will laugh, because there may be no internet left to speak of, abandoned the same way computer punch cards once were. "What's the internet, mom? Is it what you used before we switched to the stratocube?"

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pinterest's SEO Pays Off, Infringees Suffer

pinterest seo
As predicted, Pinterest pages are now rising above
the original content in SERPs.

Photographer Mark Tisdale, in his article Search Engines Should Reward Original Works reports:
What I couldn’t help noticing as I worked my way through the results, my photo hosted on my site was the dead last that Google showed in its results. [...]it would ameliorate the cause for concern for a great many visual artists who feel they have to police the internet because of sites like Pinterest and the many clones that have sprung up over night. There’s no white washing for theft, particularly theft for profit, but at least those other copies shouldn’t dilute the brand of the content creator.
Meanwhile, on Webmasterworld, a webmaster laments:
My site is retail so our products end up all over these types of sites (pinterest, kaboodle, wanelo, etc.) only this year we've been noticing that these sites are outranking us for our own products and descriptions we wrote ourselves. Not sure if this is a widespread problem that everyone is seeing or if this is an indication of a problem with our site.

I just don't understand how another site can outrank us.
Another has this to say:
I'm seeing this too. The problem is that it creates an extra step between you and your potential customer. Getting outranked with your own descriptions and creating an extra gap between you and customers will not improve business. More and more online retailers are posting their products on such sites but might be in for an unpleasant surprise when those pages outrank the original.
We have warned our readers, in both Clone Wars and Nasty Linking Practices, of the danger that our original content be buried under the weight of duplicated images from crowdscrapers. The posts received a lot of attention from private "pro member" forums from Zazzle, to which I have no access. I understand that much of that attention was critical and skeptical.

Creators Against Pinterest's prediction is being borne out by results. The prophecy has been fulfilled.

It was, unfortunately, quite easy to see that one coming for anyone with enough experience and accurate knowledge of how search engines rank websites. Many people don't really bother peeking under the hood - they are the ones that will get burned by their excitement of a few extra visitors from Pinterest, failing to realize their net traffic is dropping quite possibly because of Pinterest.