Interview with a Pinterest spammer, earning $1000 a day

Filed Under: Featured, Social networks, Spam

Pinterest logoA spammer, who claims to earn $1000 a day by automatically posting affiliate links onto Pinterest from thousands of bot accounts, has given an interview describing his operation.

The spammer, who claims to be a 24-year-old named "Steve", told The Daily Dot how his affiliate links lead back to an Amazon account by the name of "final-fantas07".

Steve the spammer is keen to point out that he doesn't point Pinterest users towards scams or malware, but he is posting pictures that - if users click on them and subsequently buy the products from Amazon - earn him commission.

Nope, I have no guilt. I'm not trying to scam anyone, or upload viruses to their computer or anything like that. I simply show products to the Pinterest community. I realize that I'm spamming the crap out of the site, but its nothing personal, just business.

The spammer told how he has distributed spam via Twitter and Facebook (including rogue Facebook applications) in the past, but neither of those social networks compares to Pinterest in terms of the ease of spamming.

And the affiliate commission Steve can earn is not to be sniffed at:

First week of doing this I made around $2,000 which was Feb. 20-29. I stepped my game up and changed the way I was doing some things, and I saw a dramatic increase in my earnings. Went up to $500-800 a day. Kept at it and for the past two weeks I have made over $1,000 a day with the highest earnings being around $1,900.

I fully expect next week's earnings to be $2,000-2,500 a day. There are no guarantees in this business and it could all come crashing down soon. Not a matter of if, but when will it happen.

Pinterest spam account

Of course, spam is a nuisance - whether it sets out to defraud other users or not.

Pinterest will need to grow up fast, and better protect its systems from automated bots and affiliate spammers if it wants to foster a reputation of high quality nurtured links rather than posts being pinned by spammers hoping to make a quick buck.

Users of Pinterest, meanwhile, would be wise to think carefully about what they repin and be on their guard against offers which seem to be too good to be true. If Pinterest continues to grow, more and more spammers and cybercriminals will be tempted to exploit the userbase.

(By the way, you can follow Naked Security on Pinterest if you like).

Hat-tip: The Daily Dot via MSNBC.

Image of Pinterest spam account, courtesy of The Daily Dot.

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8 Responses to Interview with a Pinterest spammer, earning $1000 a day

  1. Nice summary, Graham. It looks like Pinterest have partially clamped down on this behaviour now. I have a write-up on that here: http://totalpinterest.com/pinterest-spam/

    • Thanks for the update. It will be interesting to see how the battle between Pinterest and the affiliate spammers evolves..

  2. Guse · 876 days ago

    I'm on the wrong side of this fight, I think....

  3. hyphenet · 876 days ago

    So, he's doing the same thing Pinterest was caught doing in February? http://llsocial.com/2012/02/pinterest-modifying-u...

  4. Chris Edens · 876 days ago

    What a complete D-Bag. Put this guy in jail, he will understand after all it's just business. Tell that to the judge like the other spammers that are currently sitting in jail used. Glad to hear Pinterest is clamping down now. To think someone like this can make this kind of money making a mess and harassing people is sickening.

  5. Mark Robinson · 875 days ago

    Just the fact he was willing to do an interview proves making lots of money doesn't exactly make you smart. Society sadly thinks it does though. That's how we end up working for so many people that have no morals and ruin businesses.
    Can anyone say Jersey Shores.

  6. Angel Heart · 875 days ago

    Great piece...hahahaha hyphenet =) I love that you pointed that out.

  7. Andrew Dunstan · 875 days ago

    If you design a medium that is intended to allow mass participation you need to design in anti-spam protection from the start. We have two decades of experience of spam, and these days there is no excuse for not doing so. So, yes, he's a major arsehole, but I blame Pinterest a lot for not foreseeing this in the first place and taking proactive measures. What were they thinking?

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.