A 24-year-old man who calls himself "Steve" makes more than $1,000 per day pinning Amazon product links on Pinterest, one of 2012's hottest social networks.
Taking advantage of the startup's fast growth and optimal user demographics -- consisting mostly of brand-savvy women with an annual household income of more than $100,000 and a love of shopping -- spammers are making huge amounts of money just by pinning items to Pinterest and directing consumers to make purchases on Amazon.
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On Amazon, he uses various accounts including the name "final-fantas07." At one time, thousands of his spambots are sharing posts on Pinterest. He showcases products to the Pinterest community, appealing especially to women, who repin posts and buy items linked to Steve's Amazon accounts.
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"Pinterest is by FAR the easiest social network to spam right now," Steve told The Daily Dot. "Quite possibly the easiest ever to spam. It requires almost no work to get started and no money to invest. You just have to know how the system works and how you can fix it to your advantage."
He's made up to $1,900 a day since he started spamming Feb. 20. The above image was Pinned with a link to Steve's Amazon account, through which fake user "Nancy Nelon" only pins items from Amazon.com. The Pinterest account is also linked to a Twitter feed that bears no activity and a different first name.
"I fully expect next week's earnings to be $2,000 to $2,500 a day. There are no guarantees in this business and it could all come crashing down soon," he said. "Not a matter of if, but when will it happen."
Out of Steve's collection of fake accounts, he says, Pinterest has only deleted one.
Pinterest acknowledges it is working on minimizing the spam users see. In a statement sent to Mashable on behalf of the company, the company said:
As a growing service, Pinterest is not immune to challenges faced by sites across the web, including spam. However, it is a tremendous priority for us to quickly address them. Our engineers are actively working to manage issues as they arise and are revisiting the nature of public feeds on the site to make it harder for fake or harmful content to get into them.
4 Tips for Avoiding Pinterest Spam:
- Avoid repinning or clicking on pins that use logos of big brands, but aren't affiliated with any official accounts:
- These links open up to windows that ask you to repin to win unofficial contests, like this:
- If a pin is advertises a free gift card and the source looks fishy, avoid clicking.
- Avoid pins that aren't sourced and link to suspicious websites. And, don't repin items from Pinterest users with extraordinarily weird user names and Pinterest accounts with no description or picture.
Will spam prevent you from using Pinterest or making purchases through pins? Tell us in the comments.
Image courtesy of Flickr, Cayusa
This story originally published on Mashable here.