Pinterest, The Good, the Fun, and the Ugly

The growth of Pinterest has garnered a lot of attention. It is an addicting medium because it is image based (eye candy!) and so easy to use. Alongside the amazing growth stats there are some stories that could stop some from using Pinterest at all. Here is a quick look at Pinterest, the good, the fun, and the ugly. If you haven’t done much on Pinterest here is a quick tutorial:

Pinterest Growth

This Pinterest infographic from Mashable takes a look at Pinterest growth. The two that stood out for me were that, “unique visitors increased by 429% from September to December 2011″ and, “Pinterest driving more traffic than Google+.” PinterestIf that doesn’t get you maybe this tidbit from TechCrunch will, “Pinterest just hit 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors, crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history.” However you look at it Pinterest is growing fast and it is still invitation only. What’s the big deal? Spend even five minutes with Pinterest and you realize just how much time could be wasted within this medium.

Fun Tools and Uses of Pinterest

There are some that use Pinterest much like they might use Evernote, to keep track of researching everything for a wedding, ideas for a book, or weekend getaway. The less obvious are found in articles like this one that highlight interesting creations such as the Wall Street Journals informational board or another person’s sneaky use of Pinterest with affiliate marketing. There are also some using Pinterest for education or for non-profits. There are also Google Chrome Pinterest extensions and other tools like Pin a Quote that extend Pinterest. All this is well and good but there is an ugly side of Pinterest.

The Ugly Behind Pinterest

The part of Pinterest that many haven’t looked into is the copyright issue. As a lawyer named Kristen found out in this article Pinterest leaves all of the copyright issues on your plate:

“She browsed Pinterest’s Terms of Use section. In it she found Pinterest’s members are solely responsible for what they pin and repin. They must have explicit permission from the owner to post everything.”I immediately thought of the ridiculously gorgeous images I had recently pinned from an outside website, and, while I gave the other photographer credit, I most certainly could not think of any way that I either owned those photos or had a license, consent or release from the photographer who owned them,” Kirsten writes…”YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT, TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, THE ENTIRE RISK ARISING OUT OF YOUR ACCESS TO AND USE OF THE SITE, APPLICATION, SERVICES AND SITE CONTENT REMAINS WITH YOU.”

Of course many users don’t read everything they agree to and many not realize they may be up for a lawsuit until it is too late. The article highlighted the problems and Pinterest updated their terms of use, see this article for more on how to consider the new terms. Fair use and copyright issues are an ugly beast that go far beyond Pinterest. Although SOPA is considered dead, the issues live on as other permutations such as CISPA come forward. Pinterest and other sites like them are ripe for complications that most users might not realize before it is too late.

As more and more people use Pinterest marketers will find a way to convert the audience to their own sites. Is there an online social medium marketers won’t try to muddy? Sometimes it is fun to just share without wondering what else is going on behind the scenes.

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