Now what? The dreaded email from Pinterest: “Your Pinterest account has been suspended”. This blog post is sharing and reviewing why some Pinterest users are getting suspended by the platform (or worse, banned), what Pinterest’ updated spam policy is (and what you need to watch out for), how to avoid getting your account suspended, and most importantly, what to do if you’ve been suspended by Pinterest. This is your complete guide to Pinterest account suspensions, how to stay out of Pinterest jail and best practices to follow to make sure you stay in their good books. Read on to learn more about the how and why your Pinterest account has been suspended.
Pinterest’s Updated Spam Policy + How It May Impact You
Recently, particularly since Pinterest’s IPO announcement, I’ve noticed an increase in well meaning bloggers and site owners, being suspended from Pinterest. At first, I got a few direct messages and emails from frantic users who had been suspended.. All for the same reason. “…For some activity we believe goes against our spam policies.” This is what that email typically looks like…
Of all social platforms, Pinterest is arguably the most concerned with providing an exceptional user experience. Pinterest started out in 2010 with 5000 users, and it has grown to see 250 million users every month. Pinterest did this by focusing on user experience.
Pinterest creates policies and guidelines that place the end user as their #1 priority and therefore, your behaviour must have the end user’s experience and best interests at heart.
Did you read the email I shared from a blogger who was suspended from her account? I want you to re-read the second paragraph because this is something that business owners don’t want to accept when they have their OWN personal interests as their #1 priority (instead of the end users).
Pinterest outlines in its Community Guidelines, as a user, you deserve to know that the Pins you like, share and use to build your boards are safe, useful and exactly what you expect them to be. And since we are all Pinterest users, that means playing by the same rules as everyone else. This includes you strategic business owner.
Is Your Pinterest marketing strategy going to get you suspended?
The most common reason for why most people are having their Pinterest account suspended is for repetitive Pinning. Pinterest shares this information: “Don’t create or save content that is repetitive, deceptive, or irrelevant in an attempt to make money.” The most common violation being cited for why your Pinterest account is suspended is for repetitive Pinning. What does this mean? Usually it means one of two things, you are likely:
- Pinning the same Pinterest graphic over and over again to the same board OR
- Pinning the same Pinterest graphic to many different boards back to back
This type of “Pinning strategy” results in a bad user experience. It means that if a user arrives on your account, they are likely to see you repeatedly Pinning or saving the same image over and over again. And that sucks!
WHY WOULD USERS DO THIS??
Great question. The answers, unfortunately, are not as innocent as you may think.
Gaming the System/Hacking Growth
Everyone wants success overnight. It’s just a thing for humans. Luckily most of us will check our egos, and follow the rules, trusting that a level playing field is what’s best for all.
Truth? They don’t want to put in the work. I find that most accounts that engage in repetitive Pinning are usually just oblivious to Best Practices shared by Pinterest and they can’t be bothered to make the time to learn how to use Pinterest appropriately. In some cases, it truly is a mistake.
In other cases, the user doesn’t have much content and they are obsessed with sharing their own content over and over again as they see Pinterest as JUST a vehicle for self promotion. They don’t put the end user’s experience first.
Spamming To Artificially Increase Site Traffic
Some sites, maybe even yours, profits solely from site traffic, period – and there is nothing wrong with that. But when you are just self promoting to drive your traffic with repetitive behaviour, that’s just no good for user experience, which means that’s just no good for you.
Take a sec to read this terrifying story! Colles notes: 1001pallets.com was doing everything right. But a third party was stealing their images, making Pins and connecting them to spam sites! Eventually, when 1001pallets was eventually blacklisted, the culprits’ intentions were to start up a new site, and steal all of their content, then begin to operate under a different Pinterest account.
Luckily thanks to Pinterest’s anti-spamming police, they were able to identify and stop the attack. I truly do think Pinterest is trying to crack down on bad accounts but with their new super sensitive technology, they are wrongly identifying many well intended bloggers and business owners.
TYPES OF PINTEREST BLOCKS
Not all blocks are created equal. Sometimes you will be prohibited from using your account, and other times Pins leading to your website will blocked. There are also temporary blocks that sometimes resolve themselves. You can read what Pinterest has to say about those here.
Either way, you don’t want to get blocked.
If this happens, you will usually be notified by Pinterest promptly via email, and they will give you steps to resolve it. The good news is, 99.9% of the accounts I’ve heard of being blocked, have been resolved quickly and completely. But in a handful of cases, a human at Pinterest will review your account activity and if they feel you purposefully engaging in what they label as spam behaviour, they will not reinstate your account.
HOW TO AVOID ENDING UP IN PINTEREST JAIL
Pinterest loves you, and all of it’s authentic users, and the last thing mama (Pinterest) wants is to put her babies (you) in timeout. In fact, they want you to avoid being blocked so badly, that they updated their guidelines on how to do so. Here is a snapshot of those guidelines to help you avoid being blacklisted by Pinterest.
Use Pinterest Consistently
Stick to a bit of a schedule while Pinning and following new accounts. Pin thoughtfully and genuinely follow your interests. Watch for dead links or links that lead to suspicious URL’s. You know the ones!
Avoid Bursts of Abnormal Activity
Don’t ghost your Pinterest account then log in at the end of the month and Pin a billion Pins. It looks suspicious and it won’t achieve what you’re after in the long run. Ditto on following a TON of accounts in a burst. That also looks suspicious.
Keep it Fresh!
Pinterest (and anyone who sees your account) doesn’t want you to be Pinning the same Pin to the same board over and over again. Any mother can tell you, repetitive behaviour can be quite annoying and result in a “tuning out” effect. If you don’t have much content and are stumped, considering creating more Pins for landing pages and blog posts on your website. You can learn more about how to do that here.
Keep it Real!
Make sure your Pins lead to what they advertise. Pinterest is even asking people to report spammy Pins! So if you share that someone is going to learn how to make banana bread but the Pin ends up on a sales page for your tee shirt company… Well that is false advertising. Ensure that you are sending traffic to quality landing pages.
In short, it seems to me, that if you are Pinning or using Pinterest in a way that feels like you are trying to TRICK people into looking at your content or by being misleading, you could find yourself suspended.
I recently did a Facebook Live about this topic. Check it out if you’re more of a listener than a reader.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE BLOCKED BY PINTEREST
Step 1: Don’t freak out! It is likely very temporary. Try to keep in mind that Pinterest is cracking down on spam, to protect you, as a user, as well. So it is very possible that you have been accidentally flagged. They say as much in their notification email.
Step 2: Follow these directions:
- Review the Community Guidelines and be sure you’re using your account properly.
- Follow any directions given by Pinterest in the email informing you that your account has been blocked. In the current email, they provide a link where you can report if you think it is an accident. Complete the form provided in that link. Share that it was a mistake, you have reviewed guidelines and will ensure your account does not engage in any spam behaviour.
- Wait for notification that you’re back on the whitelist. Usually, the block is temporary and lifted quite quickly. It seems to take about 1-2 days to have the suspension lifted.
- If they persist that your account is suspended, push to talk to another person at Pinterest. Submit another review. You want a real human to review your file and see that your website or blog is legit.
Short story? Pinterest really does want you to thrive using their platform and they want to protect users from behaviour that is icky or feels like spam. They are known for being reasonable and keeping user experience (including yours) at the forefront. Try to remember this when you are using Pinterest for your business.
Using Pinterest (and anything for that matter) in the way it was intended to be used is the best way to avoid being marked as an interloper (how great is that word?), is to avoid interloping, and have fun using Pinterest the way it was meant to be enjoyed. And if you do get caught up in the spam net, try to chill and trust that they will let you out as soon as they realize their error.
PINTEREST MARKETING TOOLS FOR GROWTH
These Pinterest tips are going to help you grow your traffic, and keep your Pinterest account active and healthy. If you’re ready to keep growing your Pinterest strategy and traffic, join my email list today!