#Pinterest: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Feb 11, 2012   //   by Raylene   //   Blog, Pinterest  //  5 Comments

PinterestPinterest is all the rage in social media these days. In fact, Business Insider (SAI) says that Pinterest is the fastest growing site ever.

What is Pinterest?  From the Pinterest ‘About’ page:

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

Pinterest is very fun, and easy to use. You find a picture on a website that you like, and you can ‘pin it’ to one of your boards, collecting things just like you might on a bulletin board.  It really is kind of addicting, it’s so much fun!  Since it is new, and so easy to use, lots of people have jumped on board and are pinning the hours away!

As much fun as they are, when new social networks arise, there are always new things to learn, and new challenges to overcome.  One such challenge with Pinterest is ensuring that the correct sources get credit for the various pins.

I’ve been wondering about this for a while, as I see photos pinned and repinned and repinned again.  The issue was presented clearly by Living Locurto in her post Information for Bloggers and People Who Use Pinterest.  The main points of the article are:

1. When someone pins your photo, it goes onto the Pinterest’s servers.
You no longer have control of that image, Pinterest does. [And you may not be getting the credit – and website traffic – for that image if it doesn’t link to you.]


2. People are finding pins from the Pinterest “Popular” section, then re-creating that idea in a blog post.
It could be your idea. [And you’re not getting the credit – and blog traffic – if they do not link to you as the source of the idea.]

These are EXTREMELY valid points!

If we, as people or businesses, are posting original images to our websites, we would like to be credited with creation of that image, and would also like traffic to come back to our websites through anywhere that image might be posted. What’s happening right now is that people may pin your image, or they may download it and the share it directly on Pinterest, without leaving a link to your website connected to the pin or citing you as the creator or originator at all.

Living Locurto requests that we, as bloggers and business people, be courteous enough to pin the ORIGINAL sources. In truth, probably very few of us are pinning without intention to give credit where credit is due. But if we are just repinning and not being sure that the sources are in tact, then we are perpetuating the problem, and adding another image to the Pinterest system that isn’t properly cited or linked to the original source.

How pervasive is this issue of original sources not being included on pinned images on Pinterest, really?

I went through my Pinterest homepage to check on some of the photos that had been pinned by people that I follow to see if they were pointing to the correct source of the original photo. I randomly checked 4 images, out of the hundreds posted within the last couple of days. Only 1 (ONE) out of those 4 random images actually linked to the original source.

Properly Pinned Pin

Properly Linked Image.
Source: helpink.org via William on Pinterest on Pinterest

The image that was linked to the original source had been pinned by one person, and repinned by another, but it retained the link to the original source, so when I clicked on the image, I was taken back to the website where the photo originated. (This is the way, ideally, that these pins should work!)

One of the other photos went nowhere – it had been uploaded by someone and not pinned directly at the source, with no source cited in the comments or description of the pin, either.

One photo went to Google Images search – not even to the actual image on the Google Images search, but just to the Google landing page. No source listed, not even a photo shown.

The last photo I checked had been repinned twice, and was linked to a Tumblr photo. The photo had a small logo in the bottom corner that was completely unintelligible to me, though there was a link given beneath the photo that attributed its source to another Tumblr blog. Clicking that link took me to a Tumblr blog where I had to search and search and search through the photos to find the actual photo, which had no link leading anywhere and no source cited.  Going back to the original Tumblr blog, I thought I’d try clicking the photo directly, which took me to a 3rd, completely different Tumblr blog where I again had to search and search and search to find the photo, and again, it had no link leading anywhere and no source cited.

So, having images properly linked to their sources (or rather, the lack of proper linking) is a real issue on Pinterest.

It’s actually a copyright issue, and it could get out of hand.

Let’s be courteous to each other and pin the original sources and NOT be stealing others ideas and promoting them as our own. 

Making sure this happens correctly may make Pinterest more of a hassle, and not as fast as just clicking ‘Repin’.  However, with the “Pin It” bookmarklet for internet browsers, and with more and more  “Pin It” buttons showing up next to the Facebook “Like” and Twitter “Tweet” buttons on blogs/sites, it should just take a few extra seconds to get the right source pinned. And everyone will benefit from the extra steps taken. I know that I will probably be more likely to properly repin the pictures and pins of people who are properly repinning my pins and pictures.  (Wow, that was a mouthful!)

I will be writing at least 3 more posts about Pinterest.  With the first, I hope to help us to find out how we can tell if an image we’re repinning while on Pinterest (or one we see on Twitter or Facebook) is linked to the original source. The 2nd  post will address a couple of different ways that you can pin or repin those original images so that they link back to the originating website. The 3rd blog post will talk a bit more about what we can do as businesses and bloggers to help ensure that we stay connected to the images we are creating.

Stay tuned for those other posts shortly.

Pinterest is a LOT of fun. We want to keep it that way, while citing the proper sources and linking to the originators, by way of courtesy and for protection of copyrights. It’s a simple concept – give credit where credit is due – and it applies to Pinterest, too!



  • I am going to pin this blog post!!! I am so glad that I am not alone in thinking about this issue. If you look at http://pinterest.com/claireisabel/social-media/ – I have pinned/posted many things about correct Photo usage online. I am really frustrated with this issue. It has got out of hand, especially with sites like Tumblr, imgfave, weheartit etc. I have started slowly going through all my boards & checking my pins to make sure they all link to the original owners of the images. Google Image Search & my sleuthing brain have helped me to locate original sources. I have done about half of my boards so far. It is time consuming, but I don’t want any pins that are not correctly sourced. I now put all pins in my likes until I have time to check them & repin them. I wish more people would start doing the right thing.

  • […]   //   Blog  //  No Comments    Tweet In my last post, #Pinterest: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due, we talked about how many images are being pinned to Pinterest that are not citing the sources of […]

  • […] #Pinterest: Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due – by Raylene Wall […]

  • Great article but like all of the articles I have read on this topic, it doesn’t explain HOW to credit the source. I would love a step by step explanation of how to do it. So far just finding articles saying it should be done. Even Pinterest’s etiquette page says it should be done but doesn’t say how!

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