Has this ever happened to you? You’re on Pinterest and you spot one of your own images. You click on it because, hey, it’s fun to see your content in the wild. But then, horror! 😱You’re shocked to find that the image goes to another site. Someone has stolen your Pin!
What is a “Stolen Pin” on Pinterest?
Generally, when people refer to stealing a Pin, they mean that someone has taken your image and changed the URL on a Pin to direct those clicking on the Pin to their own website. Not cool.
Sometimes, when a person includes your image in a roundup post it can lead to what looks like a stolen Pin. So, for example, your article about Airbnb may be included in a “10 Best Ways to Save on Summer Travel” post and the image they included in the post may lead to your site. However, if someone Pinning that article selects YOUR image for the Pin, they create a Pin which leads back to this roundup post rather than your original post on Airbnb. Annoying, but certainly not done with malice.
Then there are even entire accounts which use tools to wholesale scrape Pinterest images and create Pins that lead back to their own sites. This is the ultimate in NOT COOL.
Unfortunately, there will always be those who try to capitalize on your hard work – no matter the platform.
Fortunately, Pinterest has made it relatively simple to report people who do this and they’re working hard to counteract the practice.
How to Find a Stolen Pin on Pinterest
There are probably more productive things you can do than regularly scouring Pinterest for stolen Pins. BUT, if you are curious, you can find your Pins by a keyword search, or just by looking in your smartfeed. You won’t need to click through every Pin to find incorrect links. Just hover over the image and the linked URL will appear. In an encouraging sign, I couldn’t find ANY stolen Pins, but just so you can see what to look for, this Pin has the creator (House Beautiful) logo on it, and when I hover over the Pin, I see it links to that site. If it had been redirected elsewhere, that incorrect URL would show up where you see “housebeautiful.com.”
How to Report A Stolen Pin on Pinterest Without Hurting Your Pins
If you find a single Pin that features your image with a link to someone else’s account, copy the Pin URL, go to this copyright infringement report page and report it, but do NOT choose Remove All.
AGAIN: If you select the “Remove All”, Pinterest may remove every one of those Pins – even the ones leading to your site. Even the ones you Pinned. DO NOT DO THIS.
You can choose to assign a Strike if you feel that this Pinner intentionally misused your content, which may contribute toward that Pinner being suspended. If you feel that this may have been done innocently, (for example, if the Pinner of this particular Pin is NOT the owner of the URL that shows up), simply leave both boxes unchecked. Most of us have likely unwittingly saved a stolen Pin at one time or another.
How to Report an Entire Account of Stolen Pins
Every once in a while these pop up, and they’re often shut down fast! But, if you find an account which seems to be stealing Pins in bulk, you can report an entire account for spammy behavior.
- Visit the contact page.
- Click on Report Policy Violation.
- Then, click Report Spam.
- Click “A Spammy Pinterest Account”.
- Fill out the form and hit submit!
If you recognize other Pinners whose images have been stolen, you can give them a heads up and they can report the account as well. This may help get it shut down more quickly. Also, they’ll appreciate that you’re looking out for them!
How to (Try to) Protect Your Content From Theft on Pinterest
Adding some subtle branding, such as a logo or your website URL is recommended by Pinterest as good design practice, but it also serves to let people know the rightful owner of content, whether or not the link is correct. It also makes it easier for Pinners to check for a correct link without having to click through on the Pin. Here’s a great example of a branded Pin:
How to Avoid Getting Flagged for Stealing Pins on Pinterest
You would NEVER redirect someone else’s Pin to the wrong site on purpose, but sometimes when you’re saving Pins, it’s easy to just save, save, save and go back to the articles later. When you’re Pinning for your business, however, you owe it to yourself to check every link before you Pin. That means either hovering over the image to see if the URL matches the branding on the Pin; or if no branding is added, clicking through to the site to make sure it goes to the right place.
Too tedious, you say? It does take an extra second or two, but you’ll be glad you did. You can also save time spent on finding great engaging content that keeps your Pinterest account active by using Tailwind Tribes. Tribes are groups of like-minded content creators who add their best content to a Tribe in Tailwind so that you always have a fresh supply of trusted content to share. BONUS: Your great content will get shared, too!
Can’t Pinterest Fix This?
Remember, content theft happens everywhere. There are entire websites that contain nothing but stolen blog posts and images, so it’s not a problem unique to Pinterest.
That said, Pinterest has made it a priority to address this problem, though they cannot share details of the particular measures they are taking – for obvious reasons! Here’s what Pinterest’s Head of Product Marketing said when I asked her about it:
Conclusion: How to Report Stolen Pins on Pinterest
As frustrating as it is dealing with stolen Pins, you have options! Report stolen Pins to Pinterest and they will be addressed. In the meantime, just keep creating great content!
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Alisa Meredith is Pinterest Product Specialist at Tailwind — a Pinterest marketing tool, scheduling tool, planning tool and analytics platform. She is a sought-after speaker and teacher on Pinterest and Promoted Pins in particular, having spoken at Social Media Marketing World, Agents of Change and appearing on The Art of Paid Traffic and Social Pros podcasts. Alisa has invested heavily in becoming an expert in her craft – realizing (and loving) the fact that the learning never ends! She lives in coastal North Carolina with her pampered pets Pepe the couch potato Cavapoo, and more cats than she’d like to admit to.