Pinterest Controversies Giving You Second Thoughts? Just Asking!

Image Source: Stuart Miles /

Pinterest has been in the news lately not only because of it amazing growth and popularity but also for some different controversies.

I totally fell in love with Pinterest as soon as I pinned my first picture. I loved it so much that not only did I write a post about it, but I also invited my newsletter subscribers and friends to join the platform. But the ongoing issues are already giving me second thoughts about how I should be using the platform.

Pinterest Controversy #1: Skimlinks

The original problem was that Pinterest was using affiliate marketing tactics to make money using Skim links. This is a service that allowed Pinterest to add affiliate links to some users’ images which would generate a commission for them if you bought the article. The rumors were that Pinterest was being deceptive with their monetization method. Read more about it on

According to Pinterest, they now have stopped using Skimlinks.

Pinterest Controversy #2: Copyright

Although from what I’m reading, Pinterest seems to be following copyright laws, its users may be the ones infringing them.

Copyright is “the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.”

Copyright laws of course also applies to the web and most individual works found there are protected automatically as soon as an original work is created: using text or graphics without the permission of the copyright holder would be an infringement of copyright law (please consult a professional for more on Copyright laws as I’m not an expert or lawyer on this subject matter).

According to, more than likely- 99% of pins are in violation of Pinterest’s Terms of Service. “The problem with this is that Pinterest’s own terms of service states that you need to be the owner of or have explicit permission including all right, licenses, consents and releases to pin any image to their service”. Read more about it on

Pinterest does offer a copyright complaint form to report any violations and will take action if your image has been copied or stolen.

The company has also produced a line of “no pin” code which website owners can incorporate into their sites that will tell Pinterest users “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest,”  Simply add the code to the head of your site or page: <meta name=”pinterest” content=”nopin” />.

Controversy #3:  Terms of Service

If you read the terms of service, it says:

“By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services. “

So basically, Pinterest’s service agreement gives it the right to sell images that users upload. This is also making a lot of people unhappy. Read more about it on

I’m sincerely hoping Pinterest can work through all these issues because I can see the tremendous benefits for businesses to build a presence on Pinterest and also not to mention the usefulness and fun factor for any Pinterest users.

So, although Pinterest has put a few measures into place to protect their users, it is probably best for everyone to be very careful when Pinning or Repinning content on the platform. Make sure that you know where the images originated and credit the source or even better, make sure you have permission from the source before Pinning.

Here’s my question to you; with all these controversies, are you worried about using Pinterest?

Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »