As night follows day, so spammers glom onto any hot traffic generators. Pinterest is the latest victim, with reports of multiple spam-bots and black hat scripts being used to generate thousands of dollars a day in affiliate commissions. The only question is, are any laws being broken?
If someone uses a bot to set up dozens of Pinterest profiles and to follow a million other users a day – both things that are alleged to be happening – and as a result attracts buyers to purchase things from Amazon then who is hurt?
It may be against Pinterest’s TOS, but really? Do we honestly think Pinterest hates the fact that affiliates are finding creative ways to make Pinterest hot?
Pinterest is the social media phenomenon of the month. It’s generating crazy amounts of traffic, already half of what Twitter is generating by some reports. And, like any social media site, it thrives upon users interacting with each other – the so-called "network effect" that is beloved by angel investors and VCs.
Daily Dot was approached a couple of days ago by a 24 year-old named Steve who claimed to be making $1,000 a day off Amazon links on Pinterest: Pinterest is by FAR the easiest social network to spam right now. Quite possibly the easiest ever to spam. It requires almost no work to get started and no money to invest. You just have to know how the system works and how you can fix it to your advantage…As the days came my earnings increased and increased and increased. First week of doing this I made around $2,000 which was Feb. 20-29. I stepped my game up and changed the way I was doing some things, and I saw a dramatic increase in my earnings. Went up to $500-800 a day. Kept at it and for the past two weeks I have made over $1,000 a day with the highest earnings being around $1,900.
He’s planning ahead:
Back when I started on Feb. 20, you could pin as many pictures as you wanted to with the same account and all the pins would show up on the boards. Well they changed that around the 23rd I think, and they banned one account. That was my first and only ban so far, maybe more when this interview is publicly posted. Oh how sad I would be. But like I said before, I do have a stockpile of accounts and I can easily create more if needed.
But then he thought twice about the fact that he was drawing attention to himself and, inevitably, he recanted. It was all a hoax (and please, if you believe him, give me a call about a bridge I have for sale):
“It was a hoax, period. My name is really Steve and I really do have three aviation associates degrees. I thought it would be funny to play this prank seeing how popular Pinterest is and see how fast it could go viral. I noticed the story on The Daily Dot and on Total Pinterest. I read both stories, and I saw his affiliate tag and wondered what kind of damage I could do. Honestly if it hadn’t grabbed this much attention I probably would have kept playing along.”
Daily dot follows the story to its end,
after Steve’s story went viral, Pinterest changed its algorithm to make the site more difficult to scam.
But really, do we think Pinterest cares about this? Really? They exist off people seeing things that are pinned and deciding to buy them. It doesn’t matter to Pinterest if a bot or a housewife or a vice-president pins a designer dress – all that matters is that someone buys it. Storm. Teacup. Say hello to each other.