Key Differences Between Spam Bots and Real Users on Pinterest

One of the fastest growing problems for the fastest-growing social website Pinterest is spammers. Since mid-March this year, Pinterest has been having a growing problem with fake users spamming the site with affiliate links to make money off its regular users.  Some deceitful users are creating several fake accounts and perform activities that are taking advantage of Pinterest’s e-commerce and marketing potential.

Last March, the technology blog Daily Dot uncovered how a Pinterest Spammer named Steve makes $1,000 a day from spamming affiliate links all over Pinterest. This interview tells us that Pinterest is a great hub for pushing products, and the foreseeable chance that the Social Networking site is going to be overran with spam.


Image Source: MarketingLand.com

While there are already existing anti-spam measures that Pinterest has implemented, it is still questionable whether these methods really catch most spammers’ activities or not. Thus, we think it is important to know how to identify spammers on Pinterest so you can avoid them.

Below are some of the major differences between spammers and real users on Pinterest.

Note: These claims are all based on the study I conducted when one of my pins got a lot of suspicious repins.  The pin got 71 likes from both real and fake Pinterest accounts.

During the investigation, I used the following methods below to identify and distinguish spammers (or spam bots) from real users.

A Look at the Suspicious Repinning Profiles

Following and Followers

Most spam bots have neither followers nor followings on their Pinterest accounts. Where some would manage to have followings and followers, the numbers were strange.

When I looked into the profiles of the spam bot’s followers, I found out that even its followers are spam bots, too. Spam bots would usually have common followings and followers. If this one doesn’t give it away, maybe the second factor would.

Twitter Account on their Profile

One of the ways to sign up for a Pinterest account is with your Twitter account.  Both real and fake users may opt to display their Twitter account on their Pinterest profile, but difference lies on the quality of the Twitter account.

Spam bots usually have Twitter accounts that have neither followers nor followings while real users would have real followers, followings, tweets and actual twitter activity .

Description in Profile

Pinterest spam bots do not typically have descriptions on their profiles. Profiles without description are very common to spam bots not only on Pinterest but also on other social sites like Twitter and Facebook. In combination with other key indicators, this pointer helps in validating whether a user is really a spammer over an actual user.

A Look into Their Activities

Boards

Real Pinterest users would have these kinds of boards.

  • Personalized Board names
  • Boards that have Matching Pins
  • Boards that have Unique pins

Whereas, spam bots are commonly found to have:

  • Default board names
  • Pins that do not match their board

Also, it is good to note that you can moreover validate whether an account is a spam bot or not by the numbers of boards it has. Some spam bots can have an unreasonable number of boards, usually more than 70, but each of the boards would only contain one pin.

Again, let’s look back to the repin profile of my pin that got 71 repins. Based from my example, those who repinned it to Sports Board have the characteristics given above to be identified as spammers. Those highlighted in violet are real Pinterest users.

It is not always easy to tell the difference between a real user and a spammer, especially if you’re only basing your judgement on few factors.

However, knowing the difference between a real user and spammer on Pinterest is important so that you can protect your account from spammers.

If you have any similar situations and care to share more information with us, please comment below.

Written by

Kristel Cuenta
As Social Media Manager, Kristel is responsible for managing our client’s social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other social channels. She is in charge of planning and executing audience engagement and development strategies.
Kristel Cuenta
Kristel Cuenta
1 comments
marlenaoneal2010
marlenaoneal2010

They certainly don't have a very good grip on non spammers/spammers yet. I'm sure they are working hard on this problem but I wonder if they can come from behind 8 ball quick enough to keep their real pinterests active and growing!

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