Friday, April 13, 2012

Safety Pins

You may or may not remember last month when a spectacular array of spamming hit Pinterest like a brick wall. If you don't know what I'm talking about, think back to St. Patty's Day time frame. Do you remember seeing a bunch of offers from Wal Mart, Starbucks and Best Buy? Well if you don't, it's not important, just be aware that it happened because it will probably happen again. To my knowledge none of these companies have their own Pinterest accounts (yet), and this was the work of spammers, probably bots. 

You may have already noticed but Pinterest isn't just for moms and food addicts anymore. The big corporate world is turning it's eye on pinning and is beginning to join in. Because of it's visual foundation, Pinterest is a great way to advertise products. If you follow other mom bloggers you may have seen pins with pictures of weekly meme buttons or giveaway buttons, this is an example of how Pinterest can be used for advertising. 

Along with big businesses come annoying spammers and scammers. If you notice that your account suddenly has images on it that you did not repin, you may have been hacked. Although there is actually the possibility that Pinterest itself was hacked. In the case of last months spamming storm this was most likely the case, according to Windmill Networking, which specializes in social media business strategies. Pinterest was able to go in and delete all of the offending images within a couple of days. 

There are worst things than a free $1000 Wal Mart gift card offer that can be attached to your Pinterest feed however. A couple days ago my best friend from home (BFFH?) called to tell me this alternatingly hilarious and disturbing story of how she discovered extremely illicit penis pictures whilst searching for toddler friendly crafts. You can imagine her surprise! Paints.. crayons... PENIS.

Fortunately she was able to delete the pins, which wasn't the case for the spam images last month, and I'm not sure anyone else was able to see them because when I went to look I was left disappointed. Because it was so small scale it is much more likely her account was hacked. There really isn't a lot you can do in this case except change your password and make it strong. Here is an article that can help you develop a stronger password. 

I don't think this is cause to stop pinning. I'm much to addicted for that. lol. Plus, the concept is so new there are bound to be hacks and other problems that arise and I have confidence the Pinterest team will get us out safe. On that note, be aware as you pin, ask yourself if it looks legit, check the originating site (if there is one) and determine if it's a site you trust, or if it's from a user you know. It may not be long before hackers develop viruses attached to image files, so we should all become more adept at practicing good safety. 

Happy Safety Pins!

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