Pinterest is the flavour of the month at the moment. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I’d never heard of it until I started my blog. From what I hear though, it’s one of the fastest growing social media sites on the planet.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a giant virtual pinboard or in other words a website full of images. You can use it to pin images and videos from websites and put them into different boards or categories. Other pinners can then comment on your pins, repin any of your images to their boards, or they can like your pins if they don’t want to repin them to their boards.
Unlike other social media websites, access is by invitation only. You can ask for an invite here. Or if you know someone who already has an account, they can invite you.
There are various quick links you can use:
Pin It Button for Web Browsers
When you are browsing the web, you can use this button to pin an image to your board.
Here is an example.
Pin It Button for Websites
You can add a pin it button to your website to encourage readers to pin things to their boards.
Pinterest For iPhone
With the iPhone application you do everything you can on the Pinterest website plus you can pin with your camera.
Can you promote your business on the site?
Hmmm, the jury appears to be out on that one. I found conflicting information. Strictly speaking, under their Acceptable Use Policy you are not allowed to use your account for commercial purposes “except as otherwise explicitly permitted for you by Pinterest”. However under their Terms of Service it mentions a distinction between opening an account on behalf of a company and as an individual. Why else would you open an account for a company if you weren’t going to use it for commercial purposes?
I’ve seen posts on many blogs about how people use Pinterest for commercial purposes though. If you take a look around on the site you will also notice many leading brands have a presence there. Maybe they’ve been invited by the site directly? Or perhaps they’re holding out for Pinterest to change their terms to allow commercial use?
In any case, all the talk on the internet says that having a presence on the site can really improve your search engine rankings. That’s why, I’m sure many companies are going against the Acceptable Use Policy. Particularly as you can make use of videos on your boards.
What about Copyright issues?
There’s been quite a lot of discussion on the internet about copyright issues when using Pinterest. For example, you could be merrily pinning images from a website to your board not really thinking about who that image really belongs to. Next thing you know, you could be in breach of copyright law! Whilst Pin Etiquette suggests that you credit your sources, I’m not sure in reality how many people do this.
I’m aware that Pinterest have put together a small piece of code for websites who do not wish any images from their site to be pinned. But, I’m still concerned about the copyright issue when using the site. I read that they may be able to get around this in the US by only using thumbnail images on boards rather than large images. I guess I’ll wait and see on that and whilst that might turn out to be ok in the US, what about everywhere else in the world?!
From how I understood their Terms of Service, Pinterest also place all liability firmly in the users hands in any case. It’s your responsibility to make sure anything you pin to your board is yours to do so or you have the copyright. If anyone comes after you for copyright infringements, then not only will you have to defend yourself but also you are liable for any claims against them as well! You are on your own in other words.
But, the site encourages you to pin images from the web by providing the Pin It button. Ironic eh?
So how do I use Pinterest?
I had considered using Pinterest with an affiliate marketing campaign but after looking over the Terms of Service and general discussion on the web, I decided it was a bad idea. It seems that they’re are planning to remove affiliate links from any that you add in your comments anyway. Whilst the general consensus is that this is only happening for Amazon affiliate links, I’m sure ClickBank affiliate links and others won’t be far behind.
So, at the moment all I’ve really done in the way of using Pinterest is to add a Pin It button to my blog and write this post. If I’m going to use any images on there myself, I will make sure I own them or I have the copyright for them! Other than that, I think it’s wait and see. Even if that means I miss the boat!
How do you use Pinterest?
I’ve got my concerns about using Pinterest but do you use it commercially or otherwise? How do you use it? What do you think about the copyright issues? Have I got this all wrong? What do you think?
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