The Dangers of Pinterest: A Cautionary Tale


It was something Robin Plemmons had been expecting to happen at some point; most artists on Etsy and other websites run into knock-offs of their work eventually. So she wasn’t completely shocked when she stumbled on an imitation of one of her cards.

Congratulations for creating a human with your genitals” is also one of Robin’s funniest and best known cards. It’s a pretty unusual phrase, obviously, and not your run-of-the-mill new baby sentiment. It didn’t take her long to spot the fake. And while it wasn’t a surprise to see the phrase repeated, it WAS a surprise to see the card design so directly imitated, right down to the font (an original font that is actually Robin’s unique handwriting):

Fake on the left, original on the right


Robin was able to reach out to the artist and the artist has stopped selling the card. So how did the imitating artist find the card? A customer requested it because she found it, uncredited, on Pinterest.

Artists, designers, and mom bloggers all ADORE Pinterest and have been avid users for months. Boards on Pinterest can be an amazing diversion, or, as Robin puts it, “Pinterest is visual crack for the visually stimulated.” But there’s a problem with the simplicity of Pinterest once you’ve installed the “pin” button in your browser toolbar, you can slap anything you see on the web onto your Pinterest boards. Unfortunately, that often does NOT include attribution.

Many artists and crafters are beginning to talk about the issues with attribution on Pinterest. As an avid Pinterest user herself, Robin had some great suggestions for using the site without hurting artists, designers, and crafters. “There areĀ lots of amazing things going around on that site, and many are just being shared, without any credit.” Robin said. She will take a minute to ask the original pinner where it came from before pinning it. She’s often found her stuff pinned, and emails the pinner to link to her stuff, and they usually do. She says, “Always credit the artist and link to the original to be sure!”

The siteĀ Link With Love offers this great flow chart about whether or not you should post an image.

So, think twice before you pin! You never know who might get hurt down the line.

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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