Will spam be the death of Pinterest?

Posted by Katie Kalmes

By now, most of us have been infected with the Pinterest obsession, at least its true for me and all my friends. Every minute we’re not doing homework we’re repining our favorite wedding dresses, non-cafeteria food and the best motivational quotes.

(If you haven’t used Pinterest check out my peer Andrea Crowley’s post entitled “Why Pinterest is Popular”)

The question is though, how long will this newest obsession last? According to Jay Beer in his article entitled “5 Reasons Pinterest Works and 4 Weaknesses That May Kill It,” the top two reasons the life of Pinterest might be dated are because of spam.

Slowly but surely, spam pins have appeared on Pinterest. Pins that claim to be giving away free gift cards and merchandise from popular brands such as Starbucks, Cheesecake Factory and Coach.When you click on the pin you are first asked to re-pin the image and then fill out a short survey. Most of these pins are what are referred to as phishing scams – in return for some personal information you will get a discount or free stuff.

Screenshot of Cheesecake Factory Phishing Scam from my Pinterest account

Yes, these deals would be amazing but that is if they were real. The site the pin directs you to is not affiliated with the company it advertises, instead it is a third party.

Cameron Camp, a security researcher with ESET, in an interview with Venture Beat, stated that the phishing scam is relatively new and not that prevalent, as of right now. Other forms of spam on pinterest include e-mails that look like they are from pinterest but are actually from ‘cyber criminals.’

In an article on venturebeat.com entitled “Click with care: Pinterest falls prey to phishing scams,” Meghan Kelly posts the Pinterest terms of service. Generally, it states that it is okay for companies to post ads like these (coupons, free things) but their parent company, Cold Brew Labs, states that it is not their responsibility for any link to a “malicious website.”

My question for you is do you think Pinterest should be worried about spam? Do you agree with Beer that it could be its downfall?

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3 responses to “Will spam be the death of Pinterest?

  1. Yikes, I haven’t seen anything like this, but will be careful when repinning.

  2. I think we’re all so used to spam and this is just another avenue for it, but I hadn’t thought of how they would get us to give them personal information.Of course there would be a down side, nothing can ever just be innocent fun, can it? (Might be a little bitter about this.)

  3. I completely agree with you Ashton, its a little upsetting to know that whatever site you go to on the internet you will find spam. It kind of ruins the experience knowing that your personal information might be stolen at any minute. The key is to be smart about it and don’t fall for the ‘free deals.’

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