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Spammers Are Killing It on Pintrest

As all massively popular sites discover, there’s a price to pay for popularity.  Today it’s Pinterest’s turn to feel the growing pains of their success.

Spammers are eating up Pinterest at alarming rates.

It’s become so prevalent, so profitable for spammer’s in the know, there’s even a WSO sellingaspambot.  Word to the wise – when bots show up in public forums they’re most likely on their last legs in terms of effectiveness.

Here’s how the spammers are doing it

 1.     Acquire an account (Pinterest acct’s are invite-only)

2.     Generate invites to create new accounts (lots of ‘em)

3.     Auto-confirm accounts

4.     Implement auto-following based on keywords (to create a “human” looking account)

5.     Post Pins of product images with affiliate links built in by the hundreds, if not thousands per day

a.     The most popular bot does this by searching Amazon rss feeds by keyword.  Enter “mp3 player” and you’ll be creating pins of ipods and zunes in no time.

6.     Re-post the most popular pins

a.     The bot simply looks at what’s been most popular on Pinterest and re-pins that in your account inserting your affiliate link.

7.     Repeat indefinitely…

Pretty simple concept really.

Simple and deadly effective (at least until now).  Check out this quote from an interview done with a prolific Pinterest spammer

As the days came my earnings increased and increased and increased. First week of doing this I made around $2,000 which was Feb. 20-29. I stepped my game up and changed the way I was doing some things, and I saw a dramatic increase in my earnings. Went up to $500-800 a day.  Kept at it and for the past two weeks I have made over $1,000 a day with the highest earnings being around $1,900.


That’s a lot of cash.  Pretty hard to ignore that kind of money for a lot of folks.  Especially for those with the technical skill to make it happen.

And for those of you who are salivating thinking you’re going to go buy the bot and make a million dollars.  Hear this.

Pinterest knows what’s going on… They’ve been informed and even toldaboutthebotsforsale.  It’s only a matter of time before they pay a skilled technician to reverse engineer the bots and shut them down for good.  And, believe it or not, there are actually ETHICAL ways to profit from Pinterest traffic.  But that’s for another day, another blog post.

On a bright note…Not everyone with the skill is a spammer.  In fact I was just talking with a talented programmer friend last night.  Here’s what he conversation looked like:

Me : “Can you build something like this?”

Mr. S: “not going there even if I could, not my taste”

You can bet your butt he can do it.  I wouldn’t doubt it for a second.  But, as Yoda would say, the ethical fiber is strong with him.

So there you have it.  Which side are you on?  Would you take advantage of Pinterest’s growing pains to make a few bucks?  Or does just the thought of it leave a bad taste in your mouth?  Hit the comments and let me know.


This article was brought to you by: Dustin Bow

Dustin Bow is on the cutting edge of Internet Marketing.  His 8 years of experience in SEO, affiliate marketing, teaching, and consulting combines to create a unique voice in our industry.  He writes from an “in the trenches” perspective any level of marketer could find useful in their own campaigns.

7 thoughts on “Spammers Are Killing It on Pintrest

  1. As with all IM folk, I am very interested in new ways to make money online, to add more folks to my lists, to get traffic, and so on. But I think the internet is replete enough with trash that no one wants to see or benefits from. As tempting as it would be to implement these spammy techniques for quick cash, I couldn’t make myself do it. Ethically making money via Pinterest? Well, that’s another story 😉 Thanks for the excellent post.

  2. i’ve seen some good programmers out there who succumb to black hat ways but kudos to your friend for keeping the ethical fiber strong lol

  3. Thanks for the interesting post; I was surprised at how fast I got an invite from Pinterest.
    There are so many that has been trying to sell products to do ‘this or that’ that it can be difficult to know what is black hat and get you into trouble with Google or at least somebody.

  4. Nowadays there are ways to monetize just about anything, and if they are doing so to earn money to stay online for the benefit of millions, who really cares. I find ways to monetize my sites all the time, and I agree that there has to be a way for Pinterest to earn money in an ethical manner. It is their website and offerings, and it’s all for free. I could not imagine someone telling me how to run my websites or whether I could monetize them. They belong to me, and if I give someone a chance to use them to their benefit, then so be it.

    There will always be spammers, and you cannot get rid of them all. They will think of different ways to hit on Pinterest when you close one door, it really just opens another. Just look at what happened to Facebook and Twitter. They are still alive and well.

  5. I have been on Pinterest for about a month, and I had noticed the increase in SPAM accounts since I started. Goes with the territory.

    However, there does seem to be less of it now as those members are banned. I can’t imagine it is too hard to spot the spammers – just look for the accounts with lots of member invite and activation activity. Then set limits on what each user can do on a daily basis.

    Just like on twitter, facebook or Google +, you can easily spot the spam accounts.

    Will always be a big fan of Pinterest…

  6. Depends on your business outlook. Are you long-term and permanent-minded? Then by all means – NO. You must protect your business’s cashflow, reputation and Google-juice. If you are a short-term thinker, you could go for it, but watch the edges carefully so you stay out of jail. Look what’s happening to Kim Dotcom right now.

    Personally, I ain’t the one, Dude! Simply ain’t going there ever. Not my cup of tea.

    Take heed, my friends.

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