The popular online pinboard Pinterest has been hit by a series of spam ads. Pinterest user Craig Fifield found that a strange image had been posted on of of his wife’s boards. It was something she would never pin on the site, an ad for Wal-Mart. The same thing was noticed by Om Malik on Gigaom:
Fake gift cards for well known brands such as Wal-Mart, IKEA, iPad and others are suddenly all over Pinterest.
They all seem to be pointing to the site facebook-goodies.com and some spammer has probably posted several photos and then after they were repinned, the image changed to an ad through some kind of script. The original images seem to have been posted to boards themed “party ideas”, “beauty” and “quotes” to name a few.
Some of the spam ads have been repinned more than 6,000 times.
This is of course quite serious for Pinterest, since it is a blow to the very heart of the site. If we can no longer trust that images we repin aren’t going to turn into spam ads, dare we use the site at all?
Another form of spam that has been emerging is that the same image is posted multiple times on multiple accounts, but with the exact same text.
A while back, more than 200,000 Swedes were fooled to join a Facebook group that promised to donate 2 SEK per fan to the victims of the Haiti earth quake. Only problem was that once the group reached the goal, it changed name and added some really outrageous content. I was somewhat amazed that all these people didn’t see through that scam because when something seems too good to be true, it often is.
IKEA spokesperson Mona Astra Liss says the “false offer” is not some half-baked publicity stunt by IKEA. “It’s absolutely not a publicity stunt and absolutely not endorsed by IKEA,” she says. She adds that Facebook performs closed investigations of scams, so IKEA doesn’t know who’s behind the hoax.
Just in time for the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama on Jan 20, IKEA yesterday opened up their Embrace Change website. It cleverly piggybacks on the historical moment when Obama will be sworn as the next president of the USA. On the site you can furnish the oval office with IKEA furniture and then send your suggestion to the White House. Very clever. And doesn’t it look great with a bunk bed in the oval office?
Search engines increasingly play a vital role in how brands are perceived. A study in 2005 showed that 40%, or twenty of Britain’s top fifty grocery brands had negative commentary amongst the top ten results on their Google search page. For some the negative comment is the number one result. This week, Media Orchard wrote about a simple way of illustrating “the impression a brand’s Google results are making on potential customers (or investors, or employees)”.
By taking all the words in the first three pages of the search results for a brand, and add them into TagCrowd, Scott at Media Orchard got several “brand clouds”, this one below is for IKEA.
Here are the results for H&M.; Not quite as flattering as for IKEA. Common themes are children, child labour and cotton. TagCrowd doesn’t work very well in Swedish, but there is a stop list of Swedish words that can filter out unwanted words.
The Swedish furniture giant IKEA is in a bit of a trouble in Norway. IKEA had bought sponsored links for “Stressless”, which is a registered trademark for sofas and armchairs owned by the competitor Ekornes. On a search for Stressless on Google, a link to IKEA came up on top, which of course upset Ekornes. IKEA pulled the ads and apologised to the competitor.
When the Norwegian news site E24 asks the Communications Manager of IKEA Norway if they had bought links to other brands owned by competitors, he hasn’t got the facts straight and handles the crisis situation very poorly.
– No, I am not aware of any, he says. But E24 does a few searches and finds that IKEA has also bought links for “Tripp Trapp”, a brand owned by Stokke.
Now, do you know if someone is mooching off your brand?