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Pinterest blocks simple 301 redirect
Any idea how to get them to fix it?

 2:25 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I recently changed domain names - everything but the logo and URL stayed the same. Pinterest interprets this as spam and puts up a big scary warning to people that my site is redirecting and might be spammy.

Meanwhile - because actual spammers don't use the 301, they use a java redirect - I've gotten redirected to #*$! sites from Pinterest. This is pathetic.

I've sent multiple support requests days ago, and they don't respond. I can't find a phone number or anything. Anyone have any idea how to get them to unblock my site? This is just so silly. Someone famous pinned one of my articles right before the change, and hundreds of Pinners a day are getting this scary warning and missing out on something perfectly harmless, and Pinterest doesn't care about their user experience anymore than it cares about mine.



 2:34 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

So use a "meta refresh"..on your old landing page..


 2:52 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I appreciate the suggestion, but I understand search engines typically disregard meta refresh, and 301 is really the best practice for changing domains. I'm not willing to lose search engine rankings OR irritate users with that inability to hit the "back button" without just redirecting again - I hate that - just because Pinterest is behind the times.

I really think the solution is for Pinterest to join us here in the 21st century, even though the weather isn't as good as it was in the 90s where they live.

I've written their press email address to tell them I'm going to do a story about their inability to cope with real spam. Still got the "we may not get around to responding in time, because support is, like, whoa, the very last thing on our minds, whee, we just spun 30 times in our chairs and we're like so dizzy" response. Unbelievable. Don't they employ anyone over 24?


 3:08 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Meta refresh is discouraged by W3C - 301 is considered best practice for my purposes. I also don't like the part where users can't hit the back button without getting redirected again.

If we all listened to the wc3 ..Google wouldn't have a search page ( and they wouldn't make squillions of dollars yearly ) ,Microsoft wouldn't exist ( and they wouldn't make squillions eithier ) , Apple ..likewise and Pinterest wouldn't exist..

And probably over 75% of the pages on the web wouldn't work..

But they do ..so :)

Pinterest are not about to start listening to anyone about re-directs "spammy or otherwise" if they did they would lose their "plausible deniability" ( "wasn't us was them damn members" ) which is their fallback in all areas for when the brown stuff eventually hits the fan,( on someone with some political clouts desk ) and they catch some ( or some one they know does ) and Pinterest are not able to brib^^^^^lobby their way out of it..

Or until the VCs backing this running IP abusing disaster, have found some mugs to buy it off them, before it falls over, and there is blood on the floor..

Meanwhile..back at the swamp ..meta refresh will get you what you need ..and those who cant get back to the kittens and stilletto lace pron site ..won't be wasting good "pinning time" telling each other about how you killed the back button ..:)

Why worry about the inconveniencing the users on Pinterest ..Pinterest sure don't..they already threw them ( and webmasters ) under the bus with their TOS ..

Their "flaky" "we're so busy" "chair spinning" "support" is an act ..they know damn well what they are doing ..appearing to be a bunch of ditzes is an old old way to be left to scam, and wait for the marks to come and buy the thing, and then one can go count the money in peace..and they can always blame the, we "we''re so busy and "the ditzes", if challenged ..

Hey ..works for Google with youtube :) ..they only do "take downs" for Governments that might take away their freedom, or their heads if they ( Larry and Sergey and the "higher ups" ) went there on Holiday ..


 3:21 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I understand what you're saying, leosghost, but I've been reading about this and apparently search engines ignore meta-refresh. The engines are slowly replacing my old pages with the new ones, and I don't want to screw that process up to accommodate Pinterest's inadequacies. 301 is the best practice from a search perspective as well as for user experience.

And as for Pinterest users, they convert, and that's why I don't want to irritate them.


 3:45 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Do SEs "follow" links out on Pinterest ?

Only way you could irritate a pinterest "pinner" / (ab)user would be to put a copyright watermark over your^^^^their nice picture on your site..even then they still take them ..and pin them..:)


 4:27 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I must be missing something. I don't care if SE's follow Pinterest links out, but I do want the SE's to work out that:


is now


(and so on with all my pages)

A meta refresh won't guide the search engines in that direction, because they ignore it. A 301 is the recommended method for changing domains. Is that not correct? What am I not understanding?

And I know *I* get so irritated with meta-refresh that I make it a rule never to visit a site I can't back out of again. Maybe my Pinterest visitors don't feel the same way, but I know I'm not alone on hating that browser behavior.


 4:41 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

You are understanding :) But the "gist" of your original question ( how to get around Pinterest making you look "spammy" to their users )..which I gave you a suggestion that will work on..

Has now become "modified" by your latterly expressed desire to have a solution that does three things ..

1) Stops Pinterest making you look spammy..
2) Doesn't affect the search engines indexing the "new you" as opposed to the "old you"..
3) Doesn't use a method which you personally ( and which you believe others ) find "irritating"..

I can't see how you can satisfy all 3 of those ..

Unless you use the java ? ( never seen it working so don't know what you mean there ? ) that you say the spammers do..

You already know that Pinterest are not going to help you..( unless you have a couple of senators and a supreme court judge in your pocket )..yes a301 is the "recommended way"..but Pinterest are not being co-operative ..

So your choices are limited to what you don't want to do..or in the case of the "java" cannot do ..or watermark your pictures, and hope that enough of the pinners get curious..

Some problems do not have easy or perfect solutions..

You want to play on Pinterest ..it is their ball ..and everyone elses IP..

* there might be a way via .htaccess and php together..but I'm waaaay to busy to try and work out a foolproof one..( maybe some else will stop by the thread ) and the SEs would probably ding you for "cloaking" ..


 5:04 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Actually, what I asked was if anyone knew how to get Pinterest to unblock the site. :) I didn't ask for a way around their stupidity, because I was already aware there wasn't one that wouldn't compromise the site in other ways. I just wondered if anyone had found another way to contact them or push them to respond during the same week support is requested.


 5:14 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Could you ask the Famous Person Who Pinned Your Page to update the URL in their pin?


 6:11 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I left them a comment doing just that, but there's been no reaction thus far - presumably, some assistant is maintaining the board, and who knows how many comments they might get in a day. Pinterest doesn't provide a way to contact other users privately that I can find.

That said, a couple of hours ago I wrote to their press email address for people letting them know about stories they're going to write about Pinterest, and told them I was planning a press release about their poor handling of spam, based on this experience. I've gotten a response from a live human apologizing and saying a team member will look into it as soon as possible. (Whenever that is, right? LOL.)


 6:30 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you need a meta refresh when people visit having clicked a link on Pinterest, then configure your site to do just that.

Serve a 301 redirect to everyone else and a meta refresh when pinterest is the referrer. There's several ways to code this - all in the page if it's a PHP (or similar) script, or at least partly in the htaccess file.


 9:05 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

Simple solution - can you say cloaking?

Send a 301 redirect to everyone except Pinterest.

Problem easily solved.

That's why I get the big bucks.


 9:14 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I said cloaking ^^^up there :)..but it comes with a risk..depends if the OP wants to take it..


 9:37 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I got it fixed, and I did it by getting Pinterest to do what they should have done immediately. Support wasn't working, so I wrote the press person and told him about it. He got it fixed within 90 minutes.

When you're dealing with customer support that seem to think the customer doesn't matter, forget support. Hassle the sales department if there is one, or press, or whatever.

So now we know. If you can't get results from support at Pinterest, try their press office.


 11:28 pm on Jun 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

but it comes with a risk

Cloaking search engines is a bigger risk than just cloaking Pinterest IMO unless you only get traffic from Pinterest and then you have bigger problems anyway.

The real issue with cloaking, if it's done too rigidly by IP range plus UA, is if they expand their IP range suddenly you're caught exposing your site differently to them depending on which IP range they use. How to handle IP range changes should always be taken into consideration in advance when cloaking.

Sounds like the OP fixed it already so it's not an issue anymore for the OP anyway.

I'm sure others are having this problem too so it's probably not the last we'll hear of it.

So now we know. If you can't get results from support at Pinterest, try their press office.

My support failed email methods usually included email to the CEO, chairman of the board, basically any higher level email address available including PR person and cc: support which usually gets things jumping all over the place.

Nothing tends to impress upon a CEO you're a really unhappy squeaky wheel like spamming a support problem to half their company ;)


 12:03 am on Jun 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

You can call it cloaking if you want, but I'd say it's zero risk.

There's no difference in content served to any user or search engine. All requests are redirected.

Some users see a HTTP 301 redirect while others see a meta refresh. In all cases the redirect is to the exact same URL.

Where's the problem?


 12:22 am on Jun 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Where's the problem?

There is no problem if there is no malicious intent which is what deceptive cloaking is all about that Pinterest is attempting to flag as a warning. The only problem is if they think you have bad intentions and block your site, which was the initial basis of this thread is that their automatic redirection detection can't tell a harmless redirect from a harmful one.

Therefore, trying to trick it could trigger an automatic ban.

Always best to communicate upfront as the OP did than try to dig out from escalating issues later IMO. I knew a webmaster that tried to get out of a similar silly penalty in Google by trying similar simple bypasses and it resulted in his entire suite of sites being dumped from the index for almost 18 months. That's the risk IMO that someone gets annoyed at attempts to bypass their safeguards and dumps you altogether.

Luckily it's been resolved.


 12:39 am on Jun 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Nothing tends to impress upon a CEO you're a really unhappy squeaky wheel like spamming a support problem to half their company ;)

You got it! The press email was literally the only contact email of any sort I could find for Pinterest. Fortunately it worked. And they also said they were going to look into their spam traps to improve the functioning there, which is good.


 3:45 pm on Jun 28, 2012 (gmt 0)


Follow-up: Pinterest added my site to a whitelist so it wouldn't be blocked, and told me it might take up to 48 hours to get unblocked. Nothing happened. I complained to their press person again, and Aaron is supposedly still working on it. It appeared to be unblocked for most users for a few hours yesterday, but it's blocked again.

They have no idea why it's blocked, and no idea how to fix it.

Considering that many of us around here are self-taught and we can figure out how to fix our sites, I don't think it's unfair to expect the same from Pinterest. I think these yahoos don't have a clue how, like, ya know, websites work, and maybe they should've spent some of that venture capital on hiring a script kiddie intern.

Pinterest is SOOOOOO ripe to having someone come in and copy their very simple business idea, but with better technology and a better way of dealing with copyright, and take their share of the net right over. Seriously.


 11:48 am on Jun 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

"a better way of dealing with copyright"

ALL that's needed is a Pinterest clone with thumbnails only. I would support such a model.


 3:30 pm on Jun 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

LOL, if I can find myself a script kiddie this weekend, I'll start that right up!

They claim my problem is "unique" and they will try another fix today. For the past couple of days, it has periods where people seem to be getting straight through from Pin to my page, and periods when they all seem to be hitting the block page and only getting through if they click "continue to scary devilspawn spam page."

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