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pinterest as an alternative for collectors

8:05 pm on Oct 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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I had a chat with somebody after visiting a collector of star trek items.

I've little tendency if any at all to collect things myself. But the other person said she had stopped collecting things in the physical world and had started making virtual collections only. She used pinterest for it, making sure to have the best pictures in it, the best cover picture etc. putting a lot of work into it from the sound of it.

She had a whole theory about how it saved a lot of money as she'd be happy with collecting the images of e.g. jewelery and shoes instead of actually buying and owning the items.

This struck me as that it also means that if you sell stuff that those people who like to collect things buy, pinterest might eventually become your biggest competitor. Just consider what happens when more people think about or start to use pinterest as a virtual collection that replaces their need to have and own physical collections.

Sure it's early - and the person I was talking to is heavily into the virtual side of things. So I'm postulating it as a thing for the future, a future death of collectible value. Or a future battle between pinterest and the like and those trying to sell collectible items.
8:40 pm on Oct 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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How sweet is that.

You don't need to be a merchant to have Pinterest users screwing you out of earnings.

I looked the other day. There are still a pile of my photos on Pinterest, put there by copyright violators.

That equals thousands of dollars a year in income for me, even if you use the average CTR rates on my site over time.

I also looked at my stats, I get almost no traffic from Pinterest.

When visitors see my pics on my site, some small % of them click the adjacent ads, ON MY SITE and I get paid a few pennys. Those pennys, nickles, dimes etc add up to thousands of $$$$$ per year, I want that money!

See MY COPYRIGHTED PHOTOS on Pinterest ... I get nothing, no chance for even that small % to click an ad I'd get paid for.

I didn't conjure these photos up from thin air either. I've spent tons of time and money traveling the USA to take these photos.

[Can you tell this issue is a hot button for me?]
9:29 am on Oct 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Ken, I feel much the same about pinterest users "stealing" my pictures. But that was done long before pinterest came along just as well.
E.g. I still have a drawing of mine that's used (modified, but clearly a copy) without permission by CNN on their website - they don't even bother to answer to emails.
Sure they added to it - but the basis was stolen - unlikely they stole it from me - they probably got it from somebody else who neglected to mention (s)he stole it from me.
I can prove it as I have the original images in higher resolution ...

It's also a reason why I tend to not put most of the pictures I like online unless I have to.

BTW: if your pictures are *good*, try selling them as stock pictures.

But aside of the obvious copyright problem, even those that do not care about the copyright of their pictures and are just trying to sell physical goods might be in trouble with their customers switching from a physical collection to a virtual one ... even if you just sell collectibles via e-bay ...
2:59 am on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I've long realized that images are more profitable than the actual objects.

I sell very few of the lavish, opulent things I create. They're expensive, and they don't fit with everyone's decor. When I sell, it's usually at loss.

However, displaying pictures of these things is cash in the bank. *whistles*

That's what pinners are stealing with their virtual collections. They are taking away my right to display/distribute my images myself for profit, and giving this right to Pinterest.

The product IS image display. Yep. Displaying images on the web is a product. It is a thing. A thing that's better than real things.

A thing that people shouldn't be able to steal without consequence.
7:10 am on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

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I've just returned from what I thought would be a quick detour to logs to see just what pinterest looks like in action.

Hours later...

As luck would have it, the only recent pin I could find was a jpg blowup that opens directly from a gallery page. So dozens of extraneous hits to plow through.

Narrative as extracted from logs: Human does a g### search (naturally no clue what she was searching for) and lands on this picture associated with the page. As an alterative to rushing out and telling her eighteen closest friends, she first runs over and puts the picture on Facebook, and then turns to pinterest. And then there's some business with tumblr.com that's so much Hungarian to me.

The thing is: I cannot for the life of me figure out how pinterest gets hold of the picture. It isn't hotlinked. They keep it in their own archives. You may think Well, that's something at least. Actually it's bad, because it means you have no control over whether they continue to show your picture. I have to assume they made the pinner do their shopping for them, because there are no unaccounted-for visits. It's all the same human. One of them gives pinterest as referer-- but that's just the user testing her link.

I know because I tried the same link and got the same referer. You can follow it in the other direction and see the page you're pinned on. This time around, the only extra was a preliminary attempt at a HEAD on my page. I say "attempt" at because it was from an Amazon AWS range. Under-the-radar type of UA:
"Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 9.0 [really]; en-US)"
Yawn. No idea of course what would have happened if they hadn't been blocked. The page doesn't say anything like "We couldn't get through, so we can't promise the link is still valid."

They seem to have a little more confidence in their members' judgement, because there's no intervening "Danger! You are leaving Pinterest!" page.

Conclusion: As far as I can tell, it is impossible to prevent your material from being pinned. The only thing you can detect is pinterest in the referer-- and those are the very ones you don't want to block, because they're real humans heading your way.
1:08 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Visitors from Pinterest show Pinterest as the referrer.

Pinning actions are identified with Pinterest in the user_agent field.

You can use htacess to control what image pinners are pinning by blocking Pinterest as user_agent.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} Pinterest [NC]
RewriteRule .*\.(jpe?g|gif|bmp|png)$ http://imagehostingwebsite.com/copyrightwarning.jpg [R]

You can't host the copyright warning image on the website you're trying to block from pinning.

The pinner will try to pin your image, but they'll pin the redirected copyright warning image instead.

One downside is that it is my belief that Pinterest linkage is super-good for Pinterest, but hurts your rankings. The substituted image creates nofollow links to your website, and many more Pinterest inbound links designed to turn Pinterest into a SERP powerhouse without sharing any of the 'juice' with you.