Like many others out there, the Pinterest craze has taken me over. I’ve had a great time pinning pictures, creating boards, and sharing some of my favorite images across the Internet. Also, from working in a marketing firm, I have also discovered how the website can be used to promote clients and brands. However, some eyebrow raising concerns have popped up as I’ve explored the site, and others should be aware of them as well before we all jump on the social media marketing bandwagon.
First off, with the remains of SOPA still hanging in the air, we know how close we came to censorship for the sake of copyright. It’s very difficult as it is to prove ownership and origins as it is on the Internet, but Pinterest does not help the problem. By allowing users to pin pictures from anywhere, there is at least a link that goes back to where they pinned it from. However, where is the credit for the photographer or artist? What if the recipe that you just pinned isn’t originally from that website? I see copyright issues coming back to bite us all if Pinterest does not take stronger measures to authenticate images and where they originated.
Another thing is the patience of fellow Pinterest users. While most don’t seem to mind a company trying out new ways to promote themselves, others can smell a marketing campaign a mile away – and they don’t like it. They don’t want to feel like information is being force fed to them, not do they appreciate spam. In fact, there have been articles written over the last two weeks about Steve, a Pinterest user who makes $1000 a day from spam bots. Out of the thousands that he has created, he claims that only one has been shut down by the website. With inorganic marketing campaigns and spamming galore on Pinterest, their users have to be skeptical about everything they see. And this includes what you’re pinning on your client’s boards.
Pinterest shouldn’t be avoided as a potential business tool. Facebook Ads and Twitter trends prove that social media is invaluable in the business and marketing world. However, just because the website is new and has huge potential doesn’t mean that its flaws should be ignored. Lawsuits await those who pin the wrong picture to their board without proper citation of the source. Thanks to scam artists and bad marketing, you have to be twice as careful about how you phrase your boards for brands and clients. Do the benefits outweigh the cons, or should brands start look elsewhere for a new marketing platform?