Is Pinterest Slamming Users?

Some of you may not be familiar with the term "slamming." The act of slamming goes back to the telephone. Companies would "slam" your account by subscribing you for services you didn't want, then charging you for them on your phone bill. It was deemed illegal, and phone companies got all sorts of grief for allowing it.

Online, "slamming" means pretty much he same thing. Usually, you are just signed up for newsletters without your consent, but Pinterest has put an interesting twist on it. They call it "suggesting." This "suggesting" consists of subscribing you to follow commercial and business users, and maybe others as well. They use the pins on your board to decide who to "suggest" to you.

The way I found out about this was that I kept finding my account flooded with pins from people I didn't recognize, and in whom I would not under any circumstances be interested. The first was a fashion house. I am anything but a fashionista. I live in jeans, shorts, and t-shirts. When I clicked on the user's name, I found myself signed up to "follow all" of their posts. Since I hardly ever follow all of anyone's boards, I knew something was wrong, so I unfollowed them. Still, they kept coming, and I kept unfollowing them. I soon found myself following almost as many people as are following me, which was erroneous, because I don't follow that many people.

I went through all of those I was following and found 37 "follow all" subscriptions for commercial accounts.

I wrote to Pinterest through their help page and asked them why they did this. The first time, they didn't answer. The second time, this was the exchange:

ME: I keep finding myself subscribed to "follow all" on business users' accounts. There are very few people I "follow all" on, and I know who they are. Is Pinterest doing this stealth subscribing to promote the business accounts, or is it a hack? If it is you, I'm very close to closing my account because of it. I don't like finding myself suddenly subscribed to some business I have no interest in and having my page flooded with their pins. Let them find followers like everyone else.

Hi Deborah,
If you're unsure why you're seeing a pin in your feed, you can troubleshoot here:
We request that you use our help articles to get the information you need as quickly as possible. If there’s additional information you’d like our team to know, you can reply to this message.
Happy pinning!
- The Pinterest Team

I read the link. This is how I found out about the "suggesting."

"The pins you choose during registration determine the people and boards we suggest to you when you first sign up. You can't change these pin selections afterwards, but you're always welcome to follow more people or unfollow people who don't suit your interests."
It goes on to tell you how to unfollow the people they slam you with.

So I replied to them.
ME:  So I do not have any choice about you subscribing me to these business accounts? I've read the link you suggested, and that is what it seems to say. It's very annoying to have every one of their pins flooding my page. I'm going to have to think about whether I want to be part of Pinterest if this is going to continue.

We received your reply. We love interacting with pinners, but usually can’t respond individually to this type of request. Rest assured we are always listening and we’re frequently making improvements to Pinterest and our documentation based on what we read in emails like this one.
Thanks for using Pinterest.
- The Pinterest Team

In short, like it or lump it, we don't care. It's our site and if you don't like the way we run things, leave.

I've now unfollowed all but 15 users that I personally know and am sure I followed voluntarily. I won't be following anyone else, and I'll let you know how many users Pinterest slams me with in the future. Considering I only followed maybe 25 total users, and I had 187, it will be interesting to see what happens.


Ryegirl said...

I am having the same problem and am seriously ticked off with Pinterest. My home feed is being flooded with pins from people I don't follow nor want too. I sent Pinterest a message telling them that I am spending too much time unfollowing people I didn't follow in the first place and if they don't stop I'll be leaving! I'm guessing they won't care.

Simply Deb said...

I unfollowed everyone after I wrote to them, and it's stopped for now. I've found that the more people you follow, the more they slam you. Now, I just look at everything or search for what I want to look at. It's a great site, but honestly, it gets old pretty quickly, at least to me. I used to spend hours there, but now I go there once a week if that much.

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