Pinterest – What’s All The Fuss About?

Follow Me On PinterestPinterest 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.

Follow Button

Here is an example.

Follow Me on Pinterest

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?

Remember, I’m not a lawyer and I’m just telling you what I think in the above post.  If you’re using Pinterest and you have any concerns about their Terms of Use, Acceptable Use Policy, and/or any copyright issues you should seek appropriate legal advice.


Tim Bonner

Tim Bonner is a Stay At Home Dad, Blogger and Internet Marketer. Learn more about him here.

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  • Ilka Flood

    Hi Tim,

    Things are still very “fuzzy” over at Pinterest to say the least. Yes, it’s a great way to get “visibility” but you also have to be very careful. Especially with copyright issues. I only add my own images, but I do re-pin images from other users…after I checked where they lead to. I always click through to make sure they don’t lead to spam, affiliate links or other objectionable sites or pages.

    There is nothing wrong to link your images to your blog posts. If you want to promote a certain product, just write a short review about it on your blog and then link your image to that post. I have had no problem whatsoever doing that. But if you link directly to an affiliate page, or clickbank link, then I think that link will be taken off by Pinterest.

    Hope this helps :)

    Have a great weekend!


    • Tim Bonner

      Hi Ilka

      That is very helpful thanks. I really appreciate your input.

      I was hesitant to use Pinterest at all. I had linked a few of the posts from my blog to images on my board but was going to take them off again.

      I may reconsider that though. None of my pins link directly to an affiliate page or ClickBank link so it sounds like I would be ok.

      Do you find that Pinterest really helps drive traffic to your blog or increases your ranking on search engines? There is so much hype about it on the internet.

      Hope you have a great weekend too! :-)


      • Ilka Flood

        Hi Tim,

        I’ve seen a little traffic, but then again, I don’t have that many followers yet and I’m not as consistent in pinning my content as I should be. As time goes on, I am expecting a lot more. Right now about 87% of my traffic comes from Google, so I’m pretty happy with that. How much of that has to do directly with Pinterest (I started hash tagging pins) I don’t know.

        • Tim Bonner

          Hi Ilka

          That’s an impressive traffic figure from Google! :-)

          I haven’t hash tagged my pins yet. I’m going to try that and see what happens.

          Thanks for the tip!


  • Andrew Stark

    Hi Tim

    I joined, but I don’t think I’m in the right demographic to use it, so I’ve just filed in away as time wasted.

    Now, speaking of demographics the real growth in pintrest was middle aged women sharing pictures of houses, fashion, babies.

    So if know your target market it will be very profitable, but otherwise it may not be worth the effort.


    • Tim Bonner

      Hi Andrew

      I know what you mean. I’m not sure I really get the concept.

      I read on Wikipedia that in the US the majority of Pinterest accounts are owned by women but in the UK more men have accounts than women!

      I’ll probably try pinning a few more of my posts and see if anything happens traffic-wise.

      I appreciate your comments.


  • Pauline

    Hi Tim
    I have heard about Pinterest from lots of people but to be honest have not ventured there myself as of yet. I will take a further look at it now you have reminded me and see if it will interest or benefit my business.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Tim Bonner

      Hi Pauline

      I’m still on the fence when it comes to whether I can make use of Pinterest but let me know what you think.

      There’s no harm in pinning images which link back to your blog and seeing what happens traffic-wise – so that’s where I’m at.


  • Simmeon

    Hi Tim,

    Pinterest has always been on my radar, but unfortunately none of my current projects are really compatible with the Pinterest image sharing platform.

    About 3 years ago now I did have a quite popular image gallery that ran on the Coppermines script. Had over 2K images that people loved to view.

    Wish this site was round around then, o’well.

    • Tim Bonner

      Hi Simmeon

      Thanks for commenting. Sounds like you were ahead of the game with your image gallery!

      I’m merrily pinning away on my blog posts but to be honest I think the people who use Pinterest are more interested in pretty pictures than internet or affiliate marketing.

      I’ll carry on for now and see if anything comes of it.


      • Simmeon

        That sounds about right, they just want to look at something:

        1) New
        2) Pretty
        3) Cute

        • Tim Bonner

          Hey Simmeon

          Definitely! If you a photographer or an artist then Pinterest is the website for you.

          I’m sure it would also work well for retailers as well though.


  • Adrienne

    Hey Tim,

    I’m still not a big Pinterest user mainly because of the copyright issues. They are still a very touchy subject for me and I don’t want to get into trouble just from pinning something I saw and liked. I don’t have time to research where they got their images so that’s why I don’t pin much at all.

    I know it’s a great site, I know how much traffic it can bring you but I also know that you need to stick with what you enjoy the most and if you spread yourself all over the place you won’t be able to keep up. This is one of those I’ve decided not to utilize as much.

    But great post and I’m always eager to hear what others think or some of the experiences they’ve had from using this site.

    Enjoy your week.


    • Tim Bonner

      Hi Adrienne

      The copyright issues bother me too.

      Also the whole thing about the acceptable use policy – non-commercial use only but they suggest that they may have seperate accounts for companies. I find this muddled and not very well thought out.

      I’m not going to spend too much more time on Pinterest. I really need to get to grips with Google+ and Facebook anyway!

      Thanks for stopping by again Adrienne. I really appreciate it.

      Have a great week.


  • Sergio Felix

    Hey Tim,

    I do have a Pinterest account and have obviously heard about all the traffic buzz and stuff but I honestly don’t think I can use this too much.

    I normally create my own graphics and are highly related to myself so I don’t see how somebody would be willing to click on my face lol

    Anyway, great breakdown but I will definitely have to skip on this one man.

    Hope you’re doing good, take care! ;)


    • Tim Bonner

      Hey Sergio

      I’m doing good thanks. My wife is away with work for a few days so me and the kids are home alone!

      I think the concensus about Pinterest is that everyone’s heard about the traffic it can generate but it’s not really useful for what we do.

      I agree entirely. If I were a painter or a photographer for example, Pinterest would have been a great platform. Pity, I’m not!

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by mate. Cheers for your comments as always.


  • Dana

    Hi Tim,

    I have a Pinterest account – that I barely use. I’m still trying to figure out how to get excited over it…LOL. I haven’t quite learned the best way to use it for business although I had heard that it was a great social networking platform.
    I’m glad I came across your post because I never thought to look into copyright issues and affiliate links (not that my 7-10 pins are anything alarming) – but it’s good information to be aware of – especially to someone who is relatively new to blogging.

    I’m under the impression that it’s best for general interests and perhaps building relationships based on those commonalities. I personally prefer visiting and commenting on blogs :)

    • Tim Bonner

      Hi Dana

      Welcome to my blog and thank you for your comments.

      I’m trying to understand how I can use Pinterest for business too but I’m not seeing any great results as yet.

      I’m currently experimenting with being more active on the site though to see if that generates much interest in terms of traffic.

      It’s always wise to check out the source of what you’re pinning to make sure you’re not creating copyright issues for yourself.

      People can now add a snippet of code to their website to stop others from pinning their stuff or request that an image be removed from Pinterest.

      I’ve not heard of anyone being made an example of for copyright infringement yet but it may happen yet!

      I agree with you that Pinterest tends to be for general interests and particularly visually-based businesses will do well like artists.

      Commenting on blogs for me is better too. I do visit Pinterest once a week now though to try and get into it more.

      Great to see you Dana and thank you for connecting with me on Twitter.

      I hope you’ll visit again soon. Have a great weekend.