Not only do they steal your stuff, but then they waste your time by requiring you to chase them down. :/
This morning I was doing my normal weekly 1 hour pinning session. Right when I was about to finish up, I stumbled across an account that had redirected nearly a dozen of my pins to their website.
I took a closer look and noticed so many blogging friend names….basically this guy hijacked hundreds of pins from reputable bloggers!
I spent an hour reporting all of my stolen pins. I told everyone in my Facebook group, Adventures in Blogging, but just in case you’re not in the group, I thought I’d let you know about it.
HOW I FIND OUT A PIN IS STOLEN
Every time I find a stolen pin it’s because I’m digging into Pinterest and repinning my own stuff. They appear as your own content under related pins.
As I was pinning my own pins, related pins popped up that Pinterest deemed highly relevant. Well, apparently they deem these stolen pins to be highly relevant. I’d be laughing if I wasn’t so furious!!
There are 2 main ways to tell instantly if a pin is stolen at a glance, before you even go to their website.
1) The blog post title won’t match
(unless they’re just a genius and thought to make theirs match, which I’ve never seen).
2) When you hover over the image, the URL that pops up won’t be yours.
Then of course, you can click through to verify the pin doesn’t lead to your website.
HOW TO REPORT HIJACKED PINS
If you want Pinterest to take action on your behalf, you must report stolen pins through the Pinterest DCMA reporting process.
Here is the link to do that >> Submit a Copyright Complaint on Pinterest
You can either fill out their online form OR send them an email using the instructions at this link.
Heads up – sometimes the form is really glitchy. The form wasn’t working for me plus I found so many this time, that I just sent an email instead.
If you send an email, make sure to follow all the instructions so they will be able to clearly see that you are indeed the copyright owner of the stolen image(s) so they will take appropriate action. I always hear back from my complaints, but sometimes it takes a couple weeks.
A WORD OF CAUTION
When you fill out the complaint form, DO NOT check the button that says “Remove All.” I believe by doing this, Pinterest will delete all instances of this image, including your own. Which we do not want!
Also, if you do STRIKE, and also click REMOVE ALL, this will result in strikes to your account as well (learned this the hard way).
We simply want them to remove the scammer’s pin. This is what “Remove All” looks like on the form:
I’ve thought long and hard on this, but I can’t see how deleting all instances of the pin would be in your best interest. Because even if that person has lots of repins, you ALSO have lots of repins and would be potentially deleting some hot pins of your own. I find that when someone steals one pin, they often have many of my pins redirected to their site, so the reporting feature is more of a warning than anything else.
UPDATE 3/12/18: I sometimes remove all when I’m seeing many instances of that same pin outranking my own. I wouldn’t do this on my very best pins, because I don’t want to lose the virality of my very old pins, but on newer/less popular pins I figure I can get everything taken down then start over.
It’s a dilemma for sure. What you decide to do is cool. Just try not to shoot yourself in the foot with the “remove all” option.
FIGHT BACK & USE WATERMARKS!
These scammers are basically stealing your traffic. It sucks, but it’s an unfortunate result of putting yourself out there. People steal. I try not to let it bother me, but man it hurts to see all your hard work going to benefit someone who just thinks it’s ok to steal your work! ☹
Whatever you do, make sure you’re making your content difficult to steal without consequence. If you catch someone doing this to you, you’ll need to prove it’s yours.
The way I do this is:
1) Make sure the images actually appear on my blog (i.e. you can see them when you go to the blog post) so I can simply link to the original source (one reason not to hide your pins) and
2) Make sure my watermark appears on my images. When at all possible, I put my watermark in a place that’s not easily cropped out. I have had one
scammer actually download my image, overlay a new title over mine, and portray it as his own.
Watermarks are harder to crop out when they are within the edges of the photo or inside of it. Basically, if someone can simply cut out a square or rectangle portion of your image and leave the watermark out of it, then it’s too easy to get rid of. I usually place my watermarks on top of something in the image or inside of a regular square cropping area. Like so:
See how you can’t simply do a symmetrical crop and take the pig + the text at once without my logo? That’s what I mean.
Hopefully your pins aren’t being stolen, but if you do find one, now you know how to figure it out quickly and report the theft! 😊
HOW TO FURTHER PROTECT YOURSELF
In a world where others can simply steal your hard work or your account could be marked as spam, it’s important to take steps to make sure your blog traffic and income is secure.
Pinterest is constantly making updates, and it really messes with my pins. They do things like accidentally strip your images of descriptions and stop showing your meta description on certain pins but not others.
I don’t like leaving my traffic to chance, so when this type of wonky stuff happens, I fall back on my trusty Pinterest tracking spreadsheet. It’s where I keep track of all my meta descriptions, Pin descriptions, and pin URLs so if anything ever happens, I have it all in one place to make a quick fix.
I’m a backup NUT. It’s a habit from my accounting days. It’s so important to make sure you have a copy of EVERYTHING IMPORTANT in your business just in case something goes wrong. In a world where anything can be deleted in a split second (or a crazy Pinterest employee could mark you as spam and shut down your account!). Ummmm no thank you. I will keep my information on file just in case.
If you want to be able to have a handle on your pins and overall Pinterest strategy at all times, I would love for you to have an exact copy of my Pinterest tracking template complete with pre-populated examples AND a training video to show you how to use it. For the cost of about one reasonably priced dinner, it’s a file that could literally save your business if something goes wrong with your Pinterest account.
In all honesty, this spreadsheet is the whole tracking system for my entire blog because it’s the one file where I can reference everything I’ve ever written.
Do you need more blog traffic?
Just look for the “FREE TRIAL” button on that page. (It’s the free portion of my flagship guide, Traffic Transformation, the story of how I grew my blog to 400,000 monthly page views).
- Simple Ebook Creation Guide
- Pinterest Tracking Template w/ Training Video
- Blog Income Boost
- How to Successfully Organize a Blog with Multiple Topics