Pinterest is not dead

I got an email Monday that said this: "Well, stick a fork in Pinterest: Flickr pulls pin on Pinterest image sharing."

If you ask me, it's much ado about almost nothing.

Pin cushion

Pin cushion

FIrst off, there is a misconception that Flickr has made its entire site "unpinnable," and that's not actually the case. Only photos set to "private" or "unsharable" will be unpinnable, which makes all kinds of sense to me. Still, photographers on Flickr have gotten really bent out of shape over copyright with their images being shared on Pinterest, and I find myself scratching my head a bit over this.

I kind of thought the point of publicly posting your work online is so more people could see it, find out more about you, and hopefully give you money for it. The way people are using pictures on Pinterest is not malicious or commercial or denying the owners money (in fact, since it's the fifth top driver of web traffic now, a lot of people are making more money because of Pinterest). People use Pinterest largely to catalog things they think are cool or inspirational.

"Even the most hardened copyright Visigoth would pause at denouncing a 16-year-old who borrows pictures to make a collage of her future wedding,” writes [PaidContent's Jeff] Roberts. [The Star]

And beyond that, guess what happens when you click a photo from Flickr that's been shared on Pinterest? It links you right back to the source of the image...on Flickr.* Based on how much web traffic Pinterest is driving overall, I dare say that Pinterest drives tons of traffic to Flickr (as it has for women's magazines, for example).

Pinterest is already making changes, first by allowing individual sites to block "pinning," and then to allow any user to flag an image for copyright concerns. They're making concessions here, and as this intellectual property lawyer points out, they could use some changes on their copyright policy to make it more compliant, as well. And I agree that these changes are overall good and necessary, but sites should think long and hard before blocking pinning and have an extremely good reason for doing so, as it will cost them site traffic and, potentially, sales.

So it's a bit premature to be saying "Pinterest is dead." Pinterest is not only very much alive, but major brands are taking advantage of it and reaping great results. Lion's Gate, for example, doubled its YouTube traffic by using Pinterest strategically, and travel marketers are having a field day with it. And nonprofits, of course, have made great use of it too. So "Happy Pinning," I say!

Am I totally off-base here? What has your experience been with the "dark side of Pinterest"?

Photo credit: stevendepolo on, ironically, Flickr

*Most of the time. There have been complaints that people can download/upload photos on Pinterest directly, and don't give attribution. This seems like far too much work for a user, so I wonder why Pinterest doesn't simply disable the option to upload your own images?