To Pin or not to Pin? Pinterest and Netiquette.

Please Pin

Pinterest, the pin-board style photo-sharing site, has divided opinion amongst artists and photographers, some welcome their work being pinned, whereas others most certainly do not. The latter are usually professionals concerned with copyright issues such as images being used without their permission or license, and their work not being properly credited.

Over the few years it's been going, Pinterest has become one of the top social networking sites, being something like the third or fourth most popular social network globally (see Alexa Top Global sites). So, as an artist publishing images of your work on the net, you do need to consider which side of the fence you sit on: to be pinned, or not be pinned?

Pinterest itself tries to encourage responsible pinning on their pinning etiquette page. Also, a search on Google for Pinterest dos and don'ts, will reveal this is a well documented subject, and I'm not about to re-invent the wheel! When done responsibly, I am quite happy for images from this blog to be pinned. (By responsibly, I mean credited with a link back to the original article.) Personally, I can see advantages in my work or my blog getting more exposure and a link back ← this is the responsible bit!

What if I don't want my images pinned?
No pin all images with optional message

Do not pin

Did you know you can insert some code into your webpages or blog that goes someway to prevent your images being pinned? The no pin meta tag allows you to prevent all images from being pinned via the Pin-it button. (Some may see this as kind of being the wrong way round - having to add a meta tag to opt out, rather than one to opt in.) The code should be added to the HTML head section of all your webpages with no-pin content, pasted between the <head> </head> tags (Surprisingly, these head tags are located at the top of the HTML code.)

This is the code:

<meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" />

And this is the code with an optional, very polite message saying "No pinning thank you!" intended for those trying to pin:

<meta name="pinterest" content="nopin" description="No pinning thank you!" />

To add the no-pin meta tag to Blogger is easy

  1. Go to Blogger Home > Template > Edit HTML
  2. Next, paste the copied no-pin meta tag code on a line of its own, just before </head>
  3. Then hit the save template button.

No pin an image

There is some code to exclude images on an image by image basis. You include nopin="nopin" in the HTML image tag like so:

<img src="myimage.jpg" nopin="nopin" />

Stop Images being pinned (Advanced)

If your site is hosted on an Apcahe server with mod-rewrite enabled, (usually paid for hosting and not Blogger) you can add rules to your .htaccess file. You could filter requests by the Pinterest user agent and rewrite those requests for images to an alternative image. Check out How to stop your images from being pinned by Ben Werdmuller for an idea.

Make it clear you do not want your images pinned

It may seem obvious, but you should make it clear to people that you do not want your images pinned. Images can be downloaded and then pinned later - the meta tag code will have no effect in those cases. So make sure you tell people on your website or blog, e.g. under terms, that you do not want images pinning.

Watermark your images

Watermark those precious images, so that the original website/creator source is visible. You could include a "no-pin" note within the watermark, if you're a no-pinner. (Again, I can see how some may think this is the wrong way round).

Pinterest and Third Party Websites

Some websites actively encourage the pinning of images you submit to them like Etsy.com. The answer here is simple, if you really do not want your images pinned, and there is no way to opt out, avoid such sites.