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?
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 have been hacked on the Internet Archive. At first, the results led to this next page and then Squidoo removed it.
Then Squidoo Removed It
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:
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
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."
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:
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.
Beatrix | Community Specialist
Notice She Wrote "Your" Site Twice
Just Not Getting It
So, I wrote back the following:
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:
If Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest Was Consulted
Tobi [No Last Name Either] Responded
Told: "Report It via Email, Not Through Our Form"
Tobi (Pinterest Help)
Jan 26th, 2015 at 16:17
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 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.
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.
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
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).
The Infringing URLs
HubPages Imported and Changed URLs
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.
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
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,
Hmm, So I Checked
"Pins from sousababy(dot)hubpages(dot)com"
My Proof is Merely "A Belief"?
A Coupla Hours Later
I also received this email:
Tobi (Pinterest Help)
Jan 30th, 2015 at 14:02
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
818 West Seventh Street
Los Angeles, California 90017
Telephone +1 213 627 8252
Facsimile +1 213 614 8632
Very truly yours,