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UPDATED: Pinterest Traffic Dropping?

By Edited Feb 16, 2015 3 8
My Google Analytics Pinterest Traffic June - Sept. 2014 (Huge Drop)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Recently, I wrote to Pinterest about the unlawful use of my identity and content on HubPages.

I was shocked to find a Pinterest board titled "Pins from sousababy (dot) hubpages (dot) com" and immediately I reported the impersonator.

My Pinterest traffic has taken a beating since Seth Godin struck a deal with Paul Edmondson to sell Squidoo authors' user information and content (without the permission of content owners).

At first, I was baffled. Now, I know why and you deserve to know the truth too.

Remember Squidoo's TOS?

Squidoo's TOS
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

I Joined Squidoo August 2010

I never intended to ever join HubPages. Squidoo did not ask one writer (that I know of) for permission to sell their user information and content to Paul Edmondson et al. You've been misled and lied to numerous times throughout this illegal transaction.

What's even worse is that copies of Squidoo's TOS[1] have been hacked[2] on the Internet Archive. At first, the results led to this next page and then Squidoo removed it.[3]

Squidoo TOS 2012 Hacked Copy on Internet Archive
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Then Squidoo Removed It

404 Error Squidoo Removed TOS
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Keep Those Facts in Mind

Getting back to my crashing Pinterest numbers (and perhaps yours too). The following are the responses to my Pinterest report:

Pinterest Support (Pinterest Help)

Jan 19th, 2015 at 15:26:

Hi Rose,

It sounds like a Pinner might be impersonating you, and we’re here to help.

However, please note that sometimes a user might share the same name as you, but might not necessarily be impersonating you. If that’s the case, that account might not be violating our Acceptable Use Policy.

If someone’s pretending to be you or a well-known public figure (for example, by using your profile picture), we want to hear about it. Please send us:

  • The Pinterest profile URL
  • The real Pinterest profile, if one exists
  • Any other info we can use to verify identity, like a Facebook or Twitter profile

If you're not reporting impersonation, the best way to help us help you is to go back to the Help Center, log in and submit a new ticket under the correct drop-down menu option.

The Pinterest Team

What Happened?

Did My Ticket Get Closed?

I wrote back the following on January 21st, 2015 at 16:23:

"I'm disturbed, did my ticket get closed? I just posted this on Google Plus."[4]

I received an automated response from Pinterest Support which stated: "A member of our team will review your message as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience."

A Couple of Hours Later

Beatrix from Pinterest Help responds to me the following:

Jan 21st, 2015 at 18:26:

Hi Rose,

Sorry for the confusion! These tickets close automatically if we don't receive a reply to our autoresponder in 2 days - that's why we sent that message wondering if you still needed help.

The URL "www(dot)pinterest(dot)com/source/sousababy(dot)hubpages(dot)com" is what we call a source feed. It shows you everyone who has Pinned something from your sousababy(dot)hubpages(dot)com site, along with what they Pinned.

When you click through on any of those Pins, you'll be redirected to the source material on your own site. You can put any site address into that URL to see what people are Pinning from that URL (for example, www(dot)pinterest.com/source/jcrew(dot)com" would show you everybody's Pins from J. Crew).

Hope that clears things up! Let me know if you have any concerns about this.

Thanks,
Beatrix | Community Specialist

Pinterest Excuse (Cartoon)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Notice She Wrote "Your" Site Twice

Just Not Getting It

So, I wrote back the following:

Dear Beatrix, 

Here's the problem, "from your sousababy (dot) hubpages (dot) com site" was NOT set up by me. My real Pinterest account is: https://www(dot)pinterest.com/sousababy/ which you will find redirects to: https://www(dot)pinterest.com/R_Webster/
 
I am currently in the midst of legal action against HubPages. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received a complaint from me (and others).
 
I wrote ALL the content on sousababy (dot) hubpages (d0t) com and my former pen name is sousababy - which was solely intended for Squidoo (the platform I wrote on previously). I joined InfoBarrel and intended to put all of my Squidoo work on it instead. I prefer the name RoseWrites (hence the changes to my original account).
 
My complaint with Consumer Affairs can be viewed here (with screenshot proof) of what has illegally transpired.[5]
 
There is also the account of Naiza Oclares (who died Aug. 2013) and HubPages has her work and someone is pinning it too.[6] I am trying to get a hold of Naiza's mother (who is poor and a single mom). She will probably be complaining about the same thing. Other people are bound to come forth since the transaction was illegal.
 
So, I hope you reread my original complaint and check out these links I've sent to you.
 
This Pinterest account is completely impersonating me (with my own content) all without my permission and I am not collecting one penny from any of it.
Cartoon Paul and Seth discuss using Pinterest
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Five Days Go By and Nothing

I decided to find out what is going on with my complaint to Pinterest, so I wrote the following:

Dear Beatrix,

It's been 5 days and I haven't heard from you regarding my complaint.
 
Should I submit another report?
 
The gist is that HubPages is illegally posting my identity, profile and content on their site. Please see my Consumer Affairs complaint.
 
Clearly, someone is impersonating me on your site as "sousababy." At the end of the money trail, is HubPages profiting from this - not me. So to use your analogy "for example, www(dot)pinterest.com/source/jcrew(dot)com would show you everybody's Pins from J.Crew" is not the same.
 
Why? Because J.Crew profits from those pins, I do not. 
 
Here is the URL of the illegal use of my identity and content on your site.[7]
 
You see, HubPages not only broke the laws of California by purchasing content from Squidoo (content that never belonged to either platform owners), Seth Godin and Paul Edmondson both failed to ask my permission to import my identity and content. Furthermore, it is illegal to profit from stolen work (which is what is happening right now).
 
The fact that hundreds of other writers "went along" with this deal does not make it legal.
 
So, I need to know whether or not you intend to honour my complaint about someone impersonating me on your site.
 
If not, I will need to let the lawyer handling my case know about your decision (or lack of decision).

I Wonder

If Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest Was Consulted

If Pinterest's CEO was consulted (Cartoon)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Tobi [No Last Name Either] Responded

Told: "Report It via Email, Not Through Our Form"

Tobi (Pinterest Help)

Jan 26th, 2015 at 16:17

Hi Rose,

Thanks for reaching out to us. Is your concern that Pins on Pinterest are linking to allegedly infringing content (in this case a HubPages account)?

Our website lists the specific information we need you to submit and provides instructions for submitting it. (See items (1) - (5) at the link[8] below.)

In particular, we require links to individual Pins that are allegedly infringing as well as statements of authorization, including that you have a good faith belief that the use of the material you’re complaining about was not authorized by the copyright owner, and confirmation, under penalty of perjury, that you are the owner of the copyrights in that material, or authorized to act on behalf of the owner.

In this situation, please send us a complete copyright request via email, not through our form.

Kind regards,

Tobi
Pinterest Team

Tobi from Pinterest to Beatrix (Cartoon)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

I'm Not Impressed

Okay, so they are going to make this difficult for me, obviously. I imagine HubPages paid them a hefty sum for creating these accounts. 

Fortunately, when I viewed the phony sousababy account on Pinterest, there were only 11 Pins to report. Interestingly enough, another Rosemary Webster on Pinterest account has been taken down.[9]

What struck me as incredibly sneaky is that two of the URLs also had "-2" added to the end (making it difficult to find them on the Internet Archive).

Screenshot (Squeezed) of Actual Page

Pinterest Account with My Identity and Content
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Dear Pinterest Copyright Agent,

As per "Toby" who last responded to my Pinterest complaint, I am emailing this DMCA complaint (instead of using your form).

The following phony Pinterest account has been set up (presumably by HubPages) to both impersonate me and promote my work (currently posted on their site without my permission): https://www(dot)pinterest.com/source/sousababy(dot)hubpages(dot)com

Of the 11 Pins of my work, I found two URLs had been additionally altered with a "-2" added to the end.

The following is a succinct list of every pin I could find (to date) on this account with proof that I own the content.

The original work can be found at (shown as screenshot next for the purposes of this article).

Screenshot of URLs to Original Work
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

The Infringing URLs

Infringing URLs Screenshot
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

HubPages Imported and Changed URLs

HubPages URLs of My Work on Pinterest
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Next, Pinterest Requires My Contact Info

It seems unfair that I need to hand over more details about my identity to people with no last name. I'm fairly certain that Pinterest didn't want me to use "their form" since others in the company might see it. Guess they didn't think I'd publish an article about it.

Lastly, here are my sworn statements Beatrix, Toby, and Pinterest’s Designated Copyright Agent:

"I hereby state that I have a good faith belief that the disputed use of the copyrighted material or reference or link to such material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law (e.g., as a fair use)."

"I hereby state that the information in this Notice is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that I am the owner, or authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyright or of an exclusive right under the copyright that is allegedly infringed."

I look forward to you disabling and/or terminating the accounts of users [HubPages] who is repeatedly infringing or is repeatedly charged with infringing on the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of others.

I hope by publishing this letter that more authors who were on Squidoo come forth to complain about the unlawful use of their identity and content on your site.

In Summary

If your Pinterest traffic is suffering, see if HubPages (or someone else) has created a phony account using your identity and work. Google's scraper report takes only seconds to fill out. Then, by Googling the thief's name with "on Pinterest", you might discover the reason.

Thank you for sharing this important information with other online writers.

Addendum January 30th, 2015

I received the following email from Pinterest:

Tobi (Pinterest Help)

Jan 30th, 2015 at 11:57

Hi Rose,

You recently notified Pinterest of a belief that copyrighted material was being made available through Pinterest(dot)com without authorization. We confirm that we have removed such material. While most content is removed immediately, it may take up to 24 hours to be removed from all servers.

Very truly yours,

Tobi
Pinterest Team

Hmm, So I Checked

"Pins from sousababy(dot)hubpages(dot)com"

Jan 30th 2015 Pinterest account impersonating me
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel (formerly sousababy on Squidoo)

My Proof is Merely "A Belief"?

Pinterest ONLY removed Pins and not account impersonating me
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel (formerly sousababy on Squidoo)

A Coupla Hours Later

I also received this email:

Tobi (Pinterest Help)

Jan 30th, 2015 at 14:02

Hi,

The material you reported to us has already been disabled. This could have happened if you contacted someone directly to remove the material or if it was material you'd reported to us earlier.

To report additional material to us, you can use our copyright complaint form located at "http://pinterest(dot)com/about/copyright". Or, you can send your notice to our Designated Copyright Agent at:

Pinterest Copyright Agent
copyright@pinterest(dot)com
CT Corporation 
818 West Seventh Street 
Los Angeles, California 90017 
Telephone +1 213 627 8252 
Facsimile +1 213 614 8632

Very truly yours,

Tobi
Pinterest Team

Apparently, I Was Supposed to Know Sooner

And Contact "Someone Directly" (My Fault Again)

Tobi responds to my "automated survey" response
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved

Addendum February 8th, 2015

I Guess This Pin Makes the Most $ for HubPages

Pinterest Account NOT Set Up By Me!
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel

Addendum February 16th, 2015

I need to keep reporting what's on this phony account?

Phony Pinterest Account (profits only HubPages)
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel
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Comments

Jan 27, 2015 11:22pm
TanoCalvenoa
Either Pinterest is totally unprepared for the scenario you're reporting to them, which suggests an embarrassing lack of competence on their part, or it may very well be true, as you said, that "HubPages paid them a hefty sum for creating these accounts."
Jan 28, 2015 3:33am
RoseWrites
Yes, it's hard to know. To the outside viewer that account reads "Pins from sousababy(dot)hubpages(dot)com" which makes one think I "pinned" this work. However, Pinterest might be trying to dance around the issue of "identity theft" since my avatar photo is not attached to it. What they are failing to acknowledge is that it IS supporting the attempt that HubPages is making to profit from my identity and my work. And yeah, I'm not famous . . er, well, yet - ha. Who knows? But I did wait 5 days while they hummed and hawed over it.
Jan 31, 2015 9:29am
WriterJoanne
As the other commenter said, either they are very incompetent or they are choosing to look the other way.

There is so much theft going on with our articles being stolen, and impersonating others on Pinterest and perhaps other sites too. It gets discouraging when we have to spend at least some of our time trying to get the thieves content taken down.
Jan 31, 2015 12:32pm
RoseWrites
I honestly feel that HubPages has paid Pinterest a large sum of money to keep these phony accounts posted.

And it's cleverly worded in Pinterest's automated response that only "famous" people or accounts that show your photo is what = impersonation. Obviously, our pen names (even unique ones) aren't enough; nor was my own original content enough (at first).

Sadly, we have been reduced to having zero power online - our identities and content have been sold and bought to the highest bidder.

It IS identity theft - but they've found loopholes to dance around it. I hope to put this to a stop, for the sake of every honest writer online. Exposing it is the first step - legal action is the next. (And even though it states in HubPages TOU that you cannot file a class action lawsuit, their TOU is unenforceable since they've broken federal and state laws).

Still, I'm amazed at how scared people are to come forth (although Jonathan and I have counted over 30 "helpful" votes on our Consumer Affairs complaints - free for anyone to submit).

It's a game of semantics with the heading "Pins from sousababy (dot) hubpages (dot) com" too.

Thank you for dropping by and commenting Joanne. If we don't do something about this, our own blogs or writing efforts will continue to suffer.

Take good care,
Rose
Feb 1, 2015 10:09pm
shar-On
wow, it is incredible the work you have had to put in to sort all of that out. I would not have the patience, but having said that I do not like to be ripped off either. Stick to your guns, glad it is you and not me having to do all this.
I deleted all my articles on squidoo and my daughters articles also as soon as all this started.
Feb 1, 2015 11:00pm
RoseWrites
Yeah, I hear ya.

And I am not going through all this trouble just for me. I hope to be blazing a trail for other honest writers who are getting walked all over by these "business" tycoons.

Money doesn't buy respect - and I've lost all respect for Seth Godin, Paul Edmondson, and whoever is making these decisions at Pinterest (not sure they consulted their legal team).

I still have faith in Larry Page (Google), the IC3, Consumer Affairs, and the legal system in California. These things tend to get drawn out, so in the meantime, I'm enjoying the comedic inspiration to work on my cartoons.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
Feb 1, 2015 11:44pm
shar-On
I understand, it is a lot of work that's for sure. I hope you succeed in sorting it all out
Feb 2, 2015 12:59pm
RoseWrites
Thanks for the vote of confidence. Take good care, Rose
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Bibliography

  1. "Squidoo TOS." Internet Archive. 27/01/2015 <Web >
  2. "Squidoo TOS (Hacked)." Internet Archive. 27/01/2015 <Web >
  3. "Squidoo Terms of Service (Removed)." Squidoo. 27/01/2015 <Web >
  4. "Dear Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest." Google Plus. 27/01/2015 <Web >
  5. "Top 11 Complaints and Reviews about HubPages." Consumer Affairs. 27/01/2015 <Web >
  6. "Pins from naizalm.hubpages.com." Pinterest. 27/01/2015 <Web >
  7. "Pins from sousababy(dot)hubpages(dot)com on Pinterest." Pinterest. 27/01/2015 <Web >
  8. "About Pinterest | Copyright." Pinterest. 27/01/2015 <Web >
  9. "Rosemary Webster on Pinterest." Pinterest. 27/01/2015 <Web >

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