Local paper uses Pinterest to track down potential criminals

Pinterest is popular for sharing images on topics such as crafts, gifts, hobbies/leisure, interior design, and fashion designers/collections. But here’s a way to use Pinterest that I bet you didn’t think was possible. A local newspaper in Pennsylvania uses the site to find people who are wanted by the local policeThe Pottstown Mercury has created a board called Wanted by Police with mug shots of suspects. It also has descriptions of the suspected crime. Apparently local police say there has been a 58 percent increase in the number of arrests since the Pinterest site went live.

mugshots-pinterest wanted by police

While that all sounds nice, the paper (and in other instances, the police), must strike a balance between assisting the law enforcement and protecting the integrity of people who are not yet convicted of a crime. You might remember how the Manchester police in the UK outed convicted criminals on Flickr after the riots last year? There’s always a risk when individuals are publicly outed as criminals, or suspects, that things get out of hand. What responsibility does that paper have if one of these individuals are later acquitted in the court, but in the eyes of the public still seemed as guilty? I’m not saying that this is entirely a bad thing, but acts like these have to be thought through, carefully, or they might cause more harm than good.

Traffic to Pinterest increasing again

In June, I blogged about some signs that traffic to Pinterest had stopped increasing. It seemed that after the initial boom in early 2012, traffic to the site levelled out. Now there are new statistics from ComScore that confirms that Pinterest grew moderately from March to June this year and that the number of pageviews even decreased. The good news however, is that there is a significant increase both in unique visitors and pageviews in July 2012.


Via BusinessInsider.com.

How much sales does Pinterest really generate?

Do you want the recipe for the ultimate viral piece of social media content? Take one part statistics (of questionable accuracy). Add the most hyped social sites like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Put the information in an infographic which you can then pin on Pinterest, blog, tweet etc. I am sure you will see a huge number of likes, retweets, repins by people who think your content is absolutely brilliant, or rather, people who are too lazy to examine the accuracy of the content. Because that is how most of us behave online these days, me included. We read something about a topic we find interesting and we share it instantly without reflecting much on whether the information is likely to be true or not.

When blogs began to appear we got all excited over the prospect that there were now an army of watchdogs out there, just waiting to bite into any piece of twisted fact, inaccuracy or lie. Transparency would rule and the world would become a great place again. Instead, the pace of social media has turned most of us into an army of watchers, often only passively looking at what others produce, only capable of amplifying a message, or worse, distorting it along the way so that what was initially a factual piece of information, becomes something erroneous. Much like a game of Chinese whispers.

For example, do you think it is possible that Pinterest will drive 40% of all social media sales in Q2 2012? I think that sounds unlikely, but that is what this infographic is stating.

pinterest drive 40 percent of social media sales infographic

The infographic has been published by Tamba in the UK and is a few months old, but is still being passed around online, for example a post was published yesterday on Ragan.com also claiming that Pinterest is “to drive 40 percent of all social media purchases”.

To start with, what does that mean? All sales on the entire planet, or are we talking about the US? After a bit of digging I eventually found the source of this piece of data. In April, Venturebeat published an article by the CEO of Convertro, that projected Pinterest to increase its share of social media sales from 17% to 40%. But this is not for all businesses online, this data is based on “measurements we made across 40 of our client sites — most of which are top 500 internet retailers”.

So, data from an undisclosed set of 40 retailers are supposed to represent every company on the planet that sells stuff online? That is just ridiculous. You cannot make any statistical conclusions from that type of data collection other than that you will know what sites that drive sales for these 40 retailers. Typically, these kind of details are often missing when someone else uses them to make an infographic and suddenly the Chinese whisper game is on.

Besides, as I blogged some days ago, there are some signs that traffic to Pinterest has levelled out. Since there are no official statistics from Pinterest that show us if the site continues to increase, we can only guess. But if you ask me, I would not state that Pinterest drives a certain percentage of all the traffic to e-commerce sites, because we simply don’t know.

Has traffic to Pinterest plateaued?

There has been an incredible hype over Pinterest during the last six months or so, to the extent that many claim it is a must for business marketers. While I have no problem in seeing benefits with the site, a word of caution might be in place. The site grew extremely fast for some time, but will this growth continue or will users leave the network once they tried it a few times?

I don’t know, but take a look at the three graphs below. Although there is reason to be careful with reading too much into this statistics, it sure does look like traffic to Pinterest has stopped growing as fast as it did in early 2012, or even stopped growing at all. What do you think, are you using Pinterest as much as you did six months ago?

DoubleClick Ad Planner:

pinterest traffic graph adplanner

Google Trends:

pinterest traffic graph google trends


pinterest traffic graph alexa

Pinterest spammers use bbc.co.uk redirect to fool users

There is a growing amount of spam on Pinterest and I blogged today on my Swedish blog about how it is easy to replace a link on a pinned image to send unsuspecting users to a spam site. Just replace the image link with a link using a URL shortener and no-one can tell before they clicked the image that they aren’t going to end up on the site where the image was originally published. In my blog post you can see the screen shots from an image of Strandvägen in Stockholm, which if you click on it, sends you to a site selling weight loss pills.

Here’s how it works. Pin an image to Pinterest, then edit the link and add a link to the site you want users to visit. Use a URL shortener to hide the real address. Alternatively you use the BBC redirect scam which works like this. Instead of using a URL shortener, you type the address of the landing page after this BBC redirect URL, example:


This way, Pinterest displays “bbc.co.uk” as the source of the image. Credible, right?

You can type any URL after that BBC link, for example http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/redirect.shtml?http://www.cnn.com This link will send you to a BBC page which automatically redirects you to the site at the end of the URL.



Here is a live (at least for now) example of the BBC scam, on an image I found by searching for Copenhagen on Pinterest:



Fake IKEA gift cards – Spam hits Pinterest

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:

“Earlier this evening, some kind of spam-exploit injected  javascript code that started replacing many Pinterest photos with ads for Best Buy. (see photo.) The actions resulted in disgruntled users blaming Pinterest.”

Fake gift cards for well known brands such as Wal-Mart, IKEA, iPad and others are suddenly all over Pinterest.

pinterest spam ads for ikea and ipad

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.

pinterest spam ad starbucks

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.

pinterest spam ads

Update: one of the accounts that seemed to be the origin of some spam ads have now been deleted: http://pinterest.com/ElisabethCarla/