Wednesday, October 05, 2011

My thoughts on the Pinterest ethics debacle

Well, as you know I read tons of these crafty/ home decor/ handmade blogs.

It makes me feel like I can do cuter things than I normally would.

Of course we all pin and I am a self-professed pinterest lover.

It's a very compact way for me to organise all those bookmarks without cluttering up my computer.

I saw one post about Pinterest one day talking about attribution - interesting, I thought and moved on through my very full Google Reader.

And then yesterday I saw another post about Pinterest ethics.

And finally a third one today.

I'm sure if I've seen three just in my GR, there are tons more floating around the internet.

I thought initially that people who sell their handmade goods on etsy were getting their knickers in a knot (do you use this phrase?) because people were labelling their pins as DIY. But it's bigger than that.

Go read those links - I'll wait.

Honestly, someone "re-categorised" one of my boards as "DIY" the other day and I got my knickers in a knot til I saw that it didn't actually mess with my board's name.

Okay, so then what do I care?

It seems that they take offence that people think they can do the same stuff for a lot cheaper whereas their versions are artistic.

To be fair, I've seen some really crappy imitation versions of etsy spinoffs and some things that I thought were even better.

I think it depends on your style and taste.

However, when there's a bit of controversy, especially when handled beautifully (no trolls), I love reading the comments because I love seeing people respond in a courteous, if passionate manner.

And so I did read all of the comments. Which is why I'm still behind on my Google Reader.

I've decided my take on the issue is this:

  1. there are always people who are really good at making things and can make anything once they've seen it
  2. those people would most likely not ever pay to have someone else make something they could make themselves and they actually enjoy spending the time to make said cute thing
  3. then there are others like me - my ability to make cute, etsy-type things is verrrrrryy limited. My time is even more limited so I happily pay about 10 different etsy sellers to make things for me.
  4. I thought of going into my paypal to check how much I've spent this year alone but I'm scared since it's probably thousands of rands, all in the name of cuteness. Basically I am the etsy target market because I have no skills to make the stuff myself and if reasonable in price, I will buy.
  5. I don't think the naming of things on Pinterest is such a big deal - I personally name things so I know what I liked about it and so that if I search my own Pinterest, I can find things (like washi tape).
  6. However, apparently people take HUGE exception to what things are named. Am I missing something or is this just semantics?
  7. I also don't think there are many genuinely new things under the sun. We're all being inspired all over the place and that's just fine, isn't it?
  8. I don't think it's right to take someone's idea (as is) and make money by selling it, but that's not what Pinterest is for.
  9. I use Pinterest for inspiration and so do others; don't we all pin things now where in the past we used to pull pages out of magazines?
  10. I saw some fabulous comments that said a lot of DIY/ home decor/ crafty blogs do exactly the same thing as is now the issue when they make Anthropology/ Pottery Barn/ etc. creations on the cheap. That's what the average person is doing with Pinterest. I agree.
Anyway, what do you think?

I really would love to know if you think this is an issue, if you're going to change the way and what you pin, etc.

PS for the record, I'm not. I pin etsy sellers' things and hopefully that brings them some marketing :)


  1. I'm with you on this one.
    If pinning something on Pinterest meant the link to the original item was lost (and in a few instances I have found people pinning just the picture ISO the link) then yes, cry FOUL because someone is stealing your ideas.
    But I use Pinterest the same way you do- I don't have a favourites folder anymore because I "pin" everything I want to find again.
    People who take affront about people pinning their work and ideas on Pinterest should have the same type of canary about favourites and bookmark folders on people's own machines.
    As for the classification of boards? Meh.

  2. No way would i change what i pin. Everything we pin is marketable. I mean, if we pin a picture of a really cute house does that mean no-one is allowed to build one similar? Or what about a nice jumper on a stores website, i might try to knit one similar. am i not allowed? If people don't want there photos 'pinned' etc... then they will have to copyright them

  3. (We say "get your panties in a wad" where I'm from...that doesn't sound nearly as cute as "knickers in a knot", though! Might have to borrow that one from's adorable!) ;)

    I signed up for Pinterest a couple of months ago, but I have to admit, I haven't pinned a thing. While I LOVE seeing some of the neat things you and other bloggy friend link to from time to time, I just can't afford another time suck. :/

    I don't know that that speaks positively to my self-control (or something?) that I avoid a new technology altogether, as I'm afraid I won't be able to limit myself...but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    It would be interesting to learn if - since the emergence of Pinterest - if more people are truly making things...or if more people are buying homemade things. Big picture, have Etsy sales / seller declined, driven by individuals now having the inspiration (?) to make their own things?

    Big picture, my guess is, no...I wouldn't expect such a change in consumer behavior, particularly in such a short period of time.

    Very interesting topic!

  4. I think if it has the orignal link, it is fair game. I admit, I have trolled etsy for ideas to make my own crafts, and sometimes I decide that I can't or don't have the time or interest to do it and I buy it. I also spend a ton on things I have no idea how to make or not enough talent to do.

  5. I am sooooooo behind the times and I am getting my knickers in a knot here....LOL...Canada must be linked somehow???

    what is Pincrest and pinning and what on Earth is DIY??

    Hmmm...or do I really want to know as I am not sure I have more time to sahre on anotehr addiction....LOL!

    thanks! :)

  6. I meant to type...SPARE!

    See...knickers in a knot here in Canada!! ;)

  7. hehehe! I LOVE the expression, "knickers in a knot"!

    See, generally I have my head in the sand because I had no idea there was a Pinterest controversy.

    I would think that if you were selling something, that anything that would lead people to your site, would be beneficial. And I am like you, I'd buy something cute way before I'd make it. I probably have made about 1% of the things I've pinned, and most have been classroom stuff.

    No, mostly it's just eye candy and the simple admiration of brilliant ideas and beautiful things!

  8. I read most of those links, and oh my...some people are really worked up about this issue, huh? I like KimWerker's thoughts--basically a "get over it" kind of thing.

    I am pretty much with you on your thoughts about the issue, particularly #2. If it's something I pin because I think it's cute and I can make something similar, I was never going to spend the money to buy it from someone else. I'll admit, most of my pins are things I want to recreate (recipes, crafts, decorating), or at least remember for future reference.

    However, I can also admit a bit of squeamishness about linking directly to an Etsy item. That is something an individual has for sale, and for me personally, if I link to an Etsy item, it's one I'm considering purchasing. If it's a craft I might try, I will find it somewhere other than an Etsy store.

    I do think the issue of the title of boards is mostly semantics. DIY means a lot of things to different people...and I think that's just bickering over something that will never be controlled anyway! Nothing to get your "panties in a wad" over, in my opinion. : )

  9. I've not been on pinterest I have to be honest.

    By the way -

    You have been tagged over at my blog :-) -

  10. I think people "think" too much about things like this.
    Pinterest for me is a fun place to pin things like recipes and beautiful sights. Yes, there are things I pin for DIY sakes but I do not think that I would ever make it cause being crafty is not my style.
    Pinterest is more there for me for the fun of it and for the recipes. Yum.
    People think and take offense too much too quickly. Just my opinion.

  11. I had no idea of these issues - will read the links a little later!

    I dont see the issue to be honest because everything is linked back to the original source.

    I mean I go on etsy to look for ideas (ok before pinterest that was) for parties etc etc - we all did it.

    I would actually see it as almost free advertising if someone pinned my product - I may want to make it but someone following me may want to buy it.

  12. I had no idea people were freaking out over being pinned. Honestly, I think that's lame. If they don't want their ideas/creations online, maybe they need to take their work offline? I mean, people are going to see it, and if it is awesome, someone, somewhere is going to want to make it themselves. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, no?
    Except, with these people, it is offensive. I think it's their issue, not ours.
    I won't be changing the way I re-pin. I might think twice about pinning things myself.

  13. I had no idea there was even an issue brewing on the whole matter. It doesn't bug me at all - I think they're being silly.

  14. As usual I missed the drama!

    I DO love pinterest for inspiring me, but not to make money off. I haven't (knowingly) pinned anything from Etsy (I hope!)

    I'm Janmary on Pinterest :)


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