A recent article on Mashable stated that Pinterest, which is still technically in beta, “…now beats YouTube, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace for percentage of total referral traffic in January, according to a Shareaholic study.” It was inevitable that with such popularity spammers would also discover the power of the pin.
Now we have Spim. Spam that’s pinned to Pinterest.
Earlier today I came across this pin:
Notice it says, “Get a FREE Victoria Secret Gift Card from Pinterest!” Well, I’m a bit of a skeptic. I was suspicious. Why would Pinterest give away a VS gift card? It’s not like they need the traffic. I clicked on it against my better judgement. It took me to this:
(Sorry. I had to put some clothes on that woman. It was just too much naked for this site.)
Notice that it took me to a Tumblr URL. If it was legit why didn’t it take me to Pinterest’s blog or to Victoria Secret’s website? I don’t think either one of them are posting stuff on Tumblr. The other tell was the counter. It kept counting down rapidly, but every time I refreshed the page the counter went back up to 400-something. And what’s with the Facebook icon at the top, and the Like counter which just happens to list my friends’ names on it?
You’re directed to click on the Pin It button. Then after you do that it says you have to “Click Here” to complete one more step. I didn’t pin it or click it. My guess is it takes you to another site where you’re required to complete additional steps to qualify, like sign up for marketing lists and buy memberships. I came across a similar pin earlier today that said re-pin to win a Free i-Pad that did just that.
Shady, shady, shady. Can’t you just feel the ick oozing out of your computer screen?
(Remind me to run virus check after I finish this.)
There’s one other form of spam I found on Pinterest recently. Pins that link to sites hocking scams. The one I came across showed a before and after weight loss photo. Underneath it said something like, “Blogger’s inspiring weight loss story.” When I clicked on it the link didn’t take me to a blog, but to a website selling a “miracle diet supplement” that would help you lose weight almost instantly. Many people re-pinned the site, likely because they didn’t click the link first to see if it was legitimate.
There are some legitimate Pin-to-win contests out there. How do you know they’re legit? How can you avoid getting taken by Spim?
1. Well, like anything else, if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not true.
2. If the pin doesn’t link to a legitimate site owned by the entity claiming to offer a giveaway, don’t click.
3. If you do click, and it feels shady GET OUT OF THERE!
4. Click through to verify the legitimacy before re-pinning. If it seems too shady to click, then for heaven’s sake don’t re-pin it!
5. Make sure your computer is protected against mal-ware.
If you do come across Spim report it by clicking the Report Pin button on the right of the pin.
As always, Happy Pinning!