I’m not really sure how long Pinterest has actually been around but I only heard about it a few months ago and recently started pinning myself a few weeks ago after seeing so many other bloggers doing it. I even added the Pin It button to the bottom of my posts encouraging readers to pin things from my site that interests them. As popular as Pinterest is, I figured it would help drive traffic my way and I have read elsewhere that it actually has helped drive traffic to sites. After a few days I started to wonder about some of my photos that I include in my posts and it brings questions to my mind.
As you all know, I write a lot of product reviews and there are many of them that include my kids. To me, I always felt adding pictures of the product(s) being used is better than just including a product image. It adds a lot to a review and also adds a visual for the consumer. The questions that come up in my mind are what if someone pins photos of products with my kids in them? Let me back up a bit and tell you a little story that happened to me causing my concern.
Here’s my story:
From time to time I post about my family, things we do together, etc. When our 2 year old was born, I even posted a couple pictures when he was really little. Well, one day a reader sent me a message (and I can’t thank her enough for that message) that a woman was stealing baby pictures from all over the internet posting them on her facebook page and telling everyone that these babies were her kids. One of those pictures that she was using as her profile picture was a picture of our 2 year old when he was a couple weeks old that she took off my site! She had all kinds of pictures and the most disturbing thing about it was that she had taken the time to find pictures of babies that kind of looked alike so she can pass them all off as siblings. She was even taking belly photos and posting them as if they were her being pregnant! Of course many, many, many people could tell she was faking and could tell that those pictures were not hers. I just wonder what is wrong with people sometimes!
What did I do?
Well, I reported her to facebook for a fake profile and for unauthorized photo use because it was my picture. That matter was resolved and after that I decided to disable right click on images/photos on my site. I couldn’t disable right click altogether because it would make copying/pasting a bit difficult for those entering giveaways. Please keep in mind that even if you disable right click on images, there are still ways that they can be taken. It just makes it a little more difficult for them. With sites like Pinterest, people can pin your photos or images even if you do not have a Pin It button on your site. If they do that, I found that they can save your pictures or images from Pinterest which is why I started thinking about it.
However, I did start watermarking my photos when I use them in my posts. That way my photos have my website directly on them and I place them on parts that would make it difficult for someone to try to crop it out. I do plan on re-uploading the same photos in my older posts as well with a watermark. I am only doing this with my own photos, not product images or images a sponsor has given me to use. I guess it’s almost like getting two birds with one stone because at the same time, I won’t have to worry about images in my old posts that were imported and redirected from blogger when I moved last year. Maybe by the end of the year, I can get rid of my blogger blog.
Will I take the Pin It button off my site?
Problably not. I still like the idea that anyone can pin up something from my review posts, crafting posts, and other posts driving the traffic my way. It just makes me think more cautiously about how I use my pictures. I probably won’t stop using pictures with my kids altogether when it comes using them for product review. It’s not that I don’t care what happens with my pictures, it’s just that for me, I think it’s important to add them to my reviews. I really don’t see anyone pinning photos from my site because my kids are in them. Most likely if any are pinned with them in it, it’s probably because the pinner likes the product and wants to share with someone how it works or what it does which happens to be the same reason I like adding them to my reviews. I do however take more care with my photos when taking them, keeping the product the focal point in the pictures and not my kids and placing that watermark in the best place possible on them.
There is a way that you can actually see what images have been pinned from your site.
I actually like this because now I know I can get an idea of what is being pinned. So far, I have found that none of my own pictures have been pinned but adding my own watermark on them makes me feel better if any of them happened to get pinned. There have been some product images that have been pinned from my site and what I love about it is that the link that is automatically created on a pin, it adds the link directly back to that particular post. I just think that is so cool! If you don’t know how to see what images have been pinned from your site, see the image below:
So, to see what has been pinned from your site, click on one of your own pins that you have pinned from your site (or pin one if you haven’t). Then click on the image to make it bigger. You will then see something like the picture above and where it says “Also from, “yourwebsite”, click the link and it will bring up another page with other images that were pinned from your site including the person that pinned it and the comments! This makes me feel much better about the whole thing.
What about sourcing?
This is another thing that I started thinking about. It makes me wonder how long the original source link stays with an image after being re-pinned over and over. For the most part, I think it sticks pretty well but there is still the chance that the orginal source gets lost. This is another reason why I though adding a watermark to my images or photos could be a good idea because even if the source link was lost, my website is still on the photo or image.
My thoughts about sourcing had more to do with me – if I was pinning someone else’s the right way. For example, my mom and I are planning a baby shower for my sister and I found that Pinterest has been great about keeping me organized when I search for ideas. I want to do some things the DIY and handmade way. I did an image search on Yahoo! and started pinning a lot of cute ideas for games, food, cupcakes, favors and of course diaper cakes. When I was looking through my board, I noticed the source URL was something along the lines of yahoosearch/images instead of where the pictures originated from.
So then I started to wonder if this was bad or wrong on my part. So then I went back to the image search and clicked on the pictures I wanted to pin and didn’t pin them until I was on the website they actually came from. Since we can edit our pins’ information, you can also edit the link so I replaced the “yahoosearch/images” (or whatever it actually was) to the correct link. I just wanted to make sure I was covering my own butt.
Some other tips to keep in mind about Pinterest
I have been doing some reading on the subject here and there about infringement and all that kind of stuff (I’m not too concerned with it because Pinterest has some rules like most social sites do that basically say the same thing about those kind of things about the user being responsible and not the website). From my understanding, it is important to add a description to your pin (if you are re-pinning, usually the last pinner’s description is still there which of course you can change) and to take care where the sourcing is coming from. Of course when it comes to re-pinning, it can make it more difficult depending on how many times it has been re-pinned. I’m not saying that the correct source of something WILL get lost, the thought of the original source getting lost is just something that I could see happening.
One last thing that I recently read is another good tip. Since images are the only things that are pinned, someone may not know what the point of it is even though they could always click on the source link. You can always add your description but that doesn’t mean that a re-pinner won’t use their own description. Depending on the purpose of the image, adding text to the image in a brief fashion explaining it, then it doesn’t matter what the description says.
Actually, this is the last thing – I think…
Make sure that you have a good balance between pinning your own stuff and other people’s stuff. The point to Pinterest is to pin things you like – not to only self promote yourself. That’s another thing to think about even though it’s okay to pin your own stuff.
Even though the way I think about my photos or images now, I still love Pinterest. It’s actually kind of addicting and it’s really fun and a great away to work on certain things keeping myself organized. It’s like my own little virtual world where I can keep my thoughts and ideas organized. I probably sound a little nutty but that’s okay. I still hope some of my stuff gets pinned by other users and I still love pinning others’ stuff. I do however, take more care with my photos and images that I use on my site. It’s just given me some things to think about – yikes, I know. Thinking……….
Feel free to follow me or pin some stuff you like from my site! Hopefully this does not discourage people from pinning from my site – I still encourage you to do so! I get excited when someone pins something from my site – makes me feel like I am doing my job as a blogger pretty well! Thinking about these things and changing the way I do things, makes me feel okay about it. Like I said, it just gave me some things to think about and thought I would share my thoughts with others because I know a lot of us use pictures with our kids in them.