So my first several experiences were like this. It left me with a terrible first impression. It makes me wonder if the whole site plays games and tries to waste my time.
I usually don't sign up for an account the first few times I encounter a site, so in my mind it's a pretty critical time to make a good impression. Instead they annoyed me so much I've practically decided never to create an account.
Pinterest is basically search result spam, it isn't what you're looking for but hey, you could send the Pinterestian Prince your data anyway!
We're getting married, so my fiancée is (obviously) using pinterest for everything - her dress, themes, you name it. And the wedding planner we work with uses Pinterest too, we (try) to share it with them so they get an idea.
Even such a simple feature as sharing a board is a nightmare and wastes 5-10 minutes in every calls we have so the planner can finally find the board.
Or a crucial feature as "pinning" is even bad and obstructive. Be it with the chrome addon or whatever other system.
Really don't see how they got so popular and really wonder why no other competitor is entering the market and crushing them.
It does not explain why no other company has tried to copycat them though.
I would hazard that the number of people looking to save bookmarks online easily is a couple orders of magnitude more than those looking for fashion magazine layout, at least.
Beyond that, it's pretty easy to slice up aspects of two companies so they are or are not competitors. I think Pinterest and Pinboard fairly clearly are (and since Pinterest is often mentioned along with Pinboard, I assume others think so as well).
Copying & beating competitors doesn't actually work like most people seem to think it works. It's the same mistake people on HN have always made in claiming Uber can be smoked by a weekend MVP, and that they'll just face perpetual endless competition because it's so easy to do what they do.
It's dramatically more difficult to beat the existing competitor, even when they're mediocre, than it is to claim the initial territory (and doing just that, is extremely difficult).
To the extent your competitor is mediocre, you may only need a product several times better than theirs. If they're only slightly mediocre, you'll need a product 10x superior.
That's why the search engine wars were mostly a shit race of mild to severe mediocrity, until Google smashed them all with a 10x solution. Before that, they were all competing with barely better solutions and features. Excite? Lycos? AltaVista? Yahoo (Inktomi etc)? Who cares, it was mostly about who annoyed you the least, because the search quality largely sucked all around.
If you want to beat Pinterest, here's what you need to do, in no particular order:
- Produce a product that is leaps and bounds beyond Pinterest. A product that is slightly better, won't dent the market at all in this case. You'll waste years of your life getting to 100,000 users - what Pinterest accomplishes daily.
- Figure out how to get vast, endless media attention for a now rather boring product that has already been done to death, and for which a giant existing solution is already in place. The media has no interest, forget about that. And, alternatively, you don't have the tens of millions of dollars to bribe their attention. Free media attention is extraordinary for a hungry start-up: every time some media outlet ran an article about the latest outrageous thing (a kidney here, virginity there) to be auctioned on eBay back in the day, it was a boon to their growth.
- Convince millions of users to leave something they already know and are comfortable with. This is nearly impossible unless you're offering something extraordinarily superior. The product segment is mostly saturated by Pinterest now, so overwhelmingly you'll have to steal users from them.
- Plausibly raise venture capital. No VC firms want to back the 37th Pinterest clone. So you can forget about this, they consider that land already claimed. Once again, you'll need a radical new thing here, a 10x outcome, that blows them away versus what already exists.
- You'll need a lot of talented individuals to work with. You'll have to convince them to sign on to the mission - a truly challenging mission that will take years of grinding and struggle. All to work on a Pinterest clone. So there went your talented co-workers, they're not interested at all. They're interested in the next big thing, rather than cloning the last big thing. Can you build a product 5x or 10x better than Pinterest, and build it to scale, without a lot of talented people to do it with? Doubtful.
I agree with 90% with you, but a founder will never say the word 'clone' in a conversation with a candidate or VC.
If you could buy directly ala Instagram shop button but for the web, you could have a chance. E-commerce can help a lot to bring people to your platform.
But Pinterest is already doing Buyable Pins
From 2012: https://readwrite.com/2012/01/13/pinspire_the_hottest_new_st...
What I witnessed is constant struggle between my 30yo fiancee and our 50yo wedding planner. It happened multiple time, so there is an obvious issue either on the sharer's side or on the receiver side.
I'd rather that they ask, "Hey, is there something that would be good for the other half of the users?" Software being infinitely soft, we can often find ways to serve both groups.
If Pinterest were a person, we'd think it an asshole, always pulling a bait-and-switch and asking us to create an account in the same brusque way. How much would it really cost them to be more neighborly?
Data driven does a poor job of capturing user annoyance. Someone will tolerate being screwed a few times to get a discount. But after a while, it builds momentum.
Though in many cases, startups don't care. They just want to sell off their numbers and exit.
If a login wall causes an account creation from 0.5% of people presented with the bait-and-switch, that's not compared to a 99.5% failure rate. It's contrasted with an account creation from 0.1% of people presented with the image they wanted with a "Click here to create an account" prompt in the corner, and it's five times as effective as that alternative.
The same story gets repeated here over and over again regarding the email newsletter sign-up form that steals focus halfway through a blog post. Yes, they increase your traceable readership more than anything else you could put in your blog (again, counting 1% vs 0.1%) . But there is a large percentage of the population who will close your blog permanently if you use them.
The bait and switch may get them 0.5% signups instead of 0.1% for that interaction. But rarely do people ask, "What distinguishes the people who signed up? What effect are we having on the people who don't sign up? Can we serve those people as well?"
As you say, the long-term effect is pernicious.
They seem to be desperate for traffic. I've been using it for a while, but recently they've sent me a wave of spam emails "suggesting" to me various content which has no relevancy for me and is not connected to anything I've been doing. I've unsubscribed from all their mails (I hope so) but now I am hesitant to even use the site again, so that I don't get more spam sent to me.
They even described the design process that lead to some of their terrible UI elements in their tech blog: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16226029
(* which, I suspect, is the kind of mindset spammers need to rationalize their actions.)
They've essentially become a large MITM attack on Google Image results.
Edit: just tried a few arbitrary search strings on Google Images, it seems improved compared to the past few weeks/months, somewhat.
For some searches, Pinterest results didn't appear at all. For "esp8266 enclosure", only 1 out of 15 on the "front page" points to Pinterest, but the original image is still from Tindie, not Pinterest. The person who supposedly pinned that image describes themselves as "Creative Digital Marketing, Web designer, WebDev, crazy SEO".
Ok, maybe a real pin from a real person, maybe.
Then I decided to see what happens with a handful of more "NSFW" search terms. The number of Pinterest results varied but significantly increased overall.
For some terms, in the 3 rows of images visible without scrolling, there were 19 images, and 11 of them (57%) pointed to Pinterest. None of them were images originally posted on Pinterest, they all have a hover link to the original site.
However, even though Pinterest is providing a link to the original site on top of the image, clicking it doesn't always take you there.
A good bit of the time, Pinterest has chosen to redirect you to a "blocked site" page instead, and only after they have already displayed an image from a site that they deemed "inappropriate". And then shortly afterward a giant popup prompting the user to login or create an account filled the screen.
 (safe for work) https://i.imgur.com/XuOvwvi.jpg
Their behavior is eerily reminiscent of expertsexchange, back in the day. They had a similar high ranking for lots of things, but the result-pages were all horrid and non-useful to actual visitors.
Happily stackexchange surpassed expertsexchange, and I hope that something comes to kick pinterest from its niche too - one of only two sites I wish to fail (the other being linkedin, for similar evil reasons).
I've now seen multiple examples of Pinterest hosting images with the "original link" being a Google Images search result page, complete with the huge URL query string intact.
While it's possible users who don't know how to find the original URL for an image are pinning Google Image pages instead, the accounts that have pinned them do not look like real people.
It really makes it look like Pinterest is crawling Google Images for specific search terms, auto-generating pages to match the results, and then manipulating Google to get their own pages to show up in Google instead.
Think about it. Let's say Google does remove Pinterest altogether, banning the site as a punishment for 'gaming' the system.
What then? The people that do search for Pinterest will find it missing, and likely assume Google screwed up/their search engine is broken. They won't know Google banned the site or what for, they'll just think 'Pinterest should be coming up, it isn't, so Google is broken'.
And I suspect that underpins a lot of instances where Google gives larger more popular sites and services a slap on the wrist for using black hat SEO. Google knows that if they really did treat them 'equally', then the average Joe would think Google's search engine was a broken mess because it doesn't bring up what they expect it to.
However, on the flip side by not banning them or punishing them, you get stuff like this where it seems like large sites are allowed to break rules with impunity and smaller ones are hit with the banhammer for a single offence. It's an interesting conundrum.
> What then?
Pinterest takes 2 days to write some code and start showing us the content that Google indexes and fixes the complaint. They start complying with the same rules that apply to us, get indexed properly, and everybody's happy.
It's not like Pinterest is set in stone and we can never change what it does.
Google lacks any incentive to screw with a site that has millions(?) of users, as it could have significant consequence, and so Pinterest gets away with what others wouldn't.
Search for pintrest, you get pintrest.
Search for "widgets," pintrist is excluded.
Search for "pintrist widgets," pintrist is included.
And honestly I don't think any significant amount of people search Google images wanting Pinterest results. People want images, they don't care where they're from. AFAIK there is almost no OC on Pinterest anyway.
And this is the key point.
By removing Pinterest from the search results the user doesn't lose almost anything.
Pinterest is the "experts-exchange.com" of digital imagery, except EE at least had (gated) original content.
Curation. Pinterest is brilliant for some users and some uses.
I find that hard to believe considering the resources they’ve put into Content ID at YouTube for copyright infringement identification and takedowns.
But well put: If google wants to pretend it is quality material because it sits on a giant content farm they should indeed credit the original source for it. If they cant find it it should not be listed.
If it was text the entire content farm would be erased from the index indefinitely.
I think you are being charitable there?
My guess is, Since search is Google's wheel house, they had this discussion, looked at the data, and found that many users do want it in their results.
Anecdotally, I myself dont care. Most of my image searches are to get an understanding what I am looking for. Some number north of 90% of the time, I dont click the images
Right, which doesn't align with the incentives which push Google to follow copyright law.
Sure they do, if the picture on Pinterest is relevant to the search term; they wouldn't have clicked on the thumbnail if it wasn't close to (or exactly) what they were looking for.
The issue isn't that people don't want Pinterest, it's that they don't want the closed nature of Pinterest, and even then, it's less an issue with Pinterest and more just a closed web problem in general. Consider certain IT vendors who won't even let you look at their documentation without being a current customer or handing actual information over to a Sales Rep and having it verified, or forums that hide their content behind logins or paywalls. Pinterest is a big target because it's big and has a lot of artsy stuff that might be useful for a simple project, but you can replace Pinterest with dozens of sites and the same rants would apply. The Reddit post to me feels like it's railing against an easy target rather than the actual problem of a consistently closed web with absurd demands for access.
I don't really see a problem with targeting the biggest worst abuser. Not everything has to be a one-shot solution to grand problems.
Yes, exactly. Try and find the original version of most images these days and you'll just go around in circles.
If Google really think Pinterest need to be in search results (I'm talking text based queries here) why on Earth do they need to return 3 results on page one, all leading to a Pinterest log-in page?
Would that be a problem for Google (or anyone else)? If a group of users specifically expects the results to come from Pinterest, they'd presumably be able to search on that site directly. For other searches, they'd presumably still use Google because there is no good alternative.
Additionally, as the reddit comment notes, the pinterest search results are technically against google's policies anyway as they require a login to be useful.
Not for an unbelievable number of people (according to my own anecdata.) There exist large numbers (extrapolating from aforementioned anecdata) of people who don't know you can just visit a website - they think it must first be "googled." I've witnessed on a single occasion an individual who accidentally went directly to facebook.com, didn't trust that they'd gotten facebook.com, proceeded to Google, entered 'facebook.com' in the search box, then selected the site from the search results.
I suspect (intuition via anecdata...) that much of the Pinterest's target audience has similar levels of technical awareness and ability.
I worked this out by hearing about customer support calls for a new URL we had which hadn't yet been indexed by Google. All the callers having problems couldn't find the address bar. They thought the Google search box was it.
If people then still complain because they expect google to read their mind and provide pinterest results for completely unrelated queries, I honestly don't have much compassion for them.
(Though if google wanted to, they could even make allowances for those people via profiling - e.g., if you know user X has clicked on many pinterest results in the past, always permit those results in their queries.)
However I agree that Pintrest shouldn't be removed specifically. Sites that don't display any useful content to the user should be removed.
Take measures to ensure that visitors can see these images without an account after being linked to them, or lose x% of your traffic overnight.
Also, this is censorship. You can say _this_ censorship is good just because it censors something you don't like.
A problem that can be solved with a single line, “Pinterest results not included for x reasons” is no problem.
And what would it mean for Google to treat "all sites equally"?
They give the googlebot one answer and the user a different one. My understanding is that is a no-no.
Pintrest and Quora fit in this weird category like Expertsexchange; they get high search ranking because of the questions, but don’t deliver the answers.
This is why expertsexchange always had the answer at the bottom of the page and why most paywalls are disabled if referred from google.
Some might say that Pinterest's behavior is covered under the "Spam and Malware" section on that page, but clearly Google does not agree with that interpretation of Google's rules or else the search results would have been removed by now.
There are other sites requiring logins that appear in Google results, e.g. LinkedIn, and Google clearly doesn't see that as a rule violation either. If that was really a rule, Google would need to block a lot of major news sites as well, e.g. NY Times, WSJ, FT, Economist, etc. I'll believe Google's interpretation of their own rules, rather than someone's interpretation on Reddit.
That's what's being violated. The GoogleBot gets the content, but not a human visiting the site. That's not what a user expects. That's why Pinterest and LinkedIn should be removed from Google search indexes.
Addendum We're not even talking about violating Google's T&C here. It's about how their ranking algorithm works.
Try building a site and applying similar black-hat SEO tactics and watch your traffic disappear. Not for them.
>How can a search engine be useful if it doesn't include the most popular sites?
News has a relatively tiny set of providers. Information has a massive set of providers. Hence why Google can call the shots if you want to be in their engine. Pinterest only recently started getting ranked highly, owing to a weighting change, and it is a negative result for almost everyone.
You repeatedly keep citing the results themselves as validation that the results are correct. That isn't how it works, especially in the face of users saying "these Pinterest results suck and reduce my experience". Google constantly changes these things.
If the search results lead to frustration -- and every pinterest result does -- that doesn't help Google. Ergo, those sites eventually get removed.
> Avoid the following techniques: [...] Creating pages with little or no original content [...] Cloaking
arguably apply to Pinterest to varying degrees. Specifically:
> Cloaking is considered a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines because it provides our users with different results than they expected.
Different results than what I expect is 100% how I would categorise my encounters with Pinterest in Google results.
Even today I wanted to read about transform-origin and landed on w3schools , where MDN article  is clearly superior.
Plus W3Schools' very name is an SEO hack, so their Google rank is built upon fundamental dishonesty.
What's that? Why yes I have heard the phrase 'bikeshedding', why do you ask? ;)
`!mdn whatever` will search MDN. Similarly !so, !reddit and a whole lot more.
That's why I installed the W3Schools removal chrome extension :)
Specifically mentioned on that page is "Redirecting users away from the image on the site when the user clicks "view image" in Google search results" as an example of "image cloaking behavior".
Maybe the noob clicking behavior is influencing the ranking?
Edit: funny that people downvote this.
Millions of new posts, job searches, private messages and other activities take place everyday. They do have plenty of spam and a terrible UX but that doesn't mean the site and community is anywhere near empty or useless.
IIRC, they were about some technical topics, similar to what you'd expect to see in a blog. Why they close to use Linkedin I don't know, but apparently it does happen.
Things such as who else they work with, their exact position in their company, where they have worked in the past.
All the social features bolted on are useless to me.
Quora presents a very different site to Google than it does to the reader ultimately. Google intentionally, knowingly ignores this fact and has for years. They could manually penalize Quora for breaking Google's search quality guidelines in numerous ways and they choose not to.
A user can't freely browse Quora page to page, whereas Google can. Presenting a different site to Google than you do to the user, is about as direct of a violation of their guidelines as you can get.
Google hammers any normal site that gets caught presenting a fundamentally different experience to the user than they do the spider. Google is not unaware that Quora, Pinterest and LinkedIn present different experiences to the bot vs the user, they knowingly allow it for giant services. That's the hypocrisy and double standard.
No, it's not to simply sell ads. You build something slick and shiny, then you pump VC money into it and you keep hyping (otherwise known as "pumping") until you can get numbers that look good. You can just spend that sweet, easy VC money to buy users and spend a dollar to make 10 cents because of that "growth" you are buying.
Then, when those numbers you are buying (and also all those fake accounts you are ignoring) start looking really good, you go public, the VCs make out like bandits and all those institutional and private suckers buy those bloated shares, trade places with the VCs and slowly ride the shares back down to zero where they belong.
Zynga IPO: $23. Now around $3
Snap $22 ... ~$16 (LA not SV)
Blue Apron $10 ... ~$2
Box plummeted more than 50% before coming back up closer to the IPO price but has almost never exceeded the IPO price since inception.
And there are a lot more that are newer and still riding the capital injection from the IPO (like twitter).
Wow, really? I figured they're a bit fancier, more serious version of Yahoo Answers. I wouldn't have thought they'd have any venture capital at all.
Could anything like that happen on the CommerceNet, post EME (Encrypted Media Extensions)? (Sept, 2017)
Hardly. (And your name is now on a list for suggesting something so subersive, citizen.)
Google can spider every page freely, going from link to link without having to sign up. A regular user can't. Where's the penalty from Google for that? Why is so much LinkedIn content indexed when the user can't have the same experience as Google does? It's very blatant hypocrisy.
I believe you can, actually, in some cases. It's just most of the time they try to lock you out with a login screen.
I wonder why? I know I liked having certain low value (to me) sites not clutter up my results.
A little article about the feature, sorry it is going to try to throw an interrupting DIV at you– https://searchengineland.com/google-block-sites-feature-1464...
You can not blacklist entire TLDs, just individual subdomains.
Thanks to ICANN (and others?) there is hundreds of TLDs that are 100% full of spam. And they all are able to game the system.
Google has lost the SEO War IMHO.
If they are not willing to innovate they should be broken up via anti-trust.
The "Block foo.com" links don't appear in the search result anymore, but if I visit the website and block it through the extension pop-up they are then eliminated from the search results in future searches.
IIRC the OFFICIAL "Personal Blocklist" was broken for a long time due to this.
AFAIK there's still no way to block entire TLDs.
So basically Google doesn't give a shit about you!
It's strange to see what was originally a useful tool turn into well-funded SEO spam.
Anyway, when I started using DuckDuckGo on my phone to get away from AMP - I noticed that whenever I search for recipes on DuckDuckGo - they generally link to a site called Yummly which is even worse than Pinterest. Please complain to DDG about this if you care!
And speaking of searching on my phone, Apple won't even let me change the search engine string to use "encrypted.google.com" which would have gotten me Google results without the awful AMP links.
My point in rambling on about all these different topics is that none of these asshole corporations seem to want to let me have control over anything. I don't want to live like this. Generally, when I get annoyed, I just stop playing their game. At this point I have stopped watching TV and I have left Facebook, Twitter and Reddit and I hope that you do too.
And what I get is often a solid wall of Pinterest hits providing zero info.
Exactly, that is also in my experience when it is the most frustrating.
On "normal" searches (let's say searching for an electronic device of some kind, hoping to find the manufacturer/support/specs) what I find increasingly disturbing is the number of links for Amazon offerings.
It's also a very clear abuse of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, in my opinion. As anti-trust moves in on Google in the coming years, this should be held up as one of many examples of persistent market abuse and consumer harm (anti-competitive behavior, using the monopoly to restrict consumer choice).
Pinterest in search results is awful garbage, it seems.
...Or is this an opportunity for an extension someone wants ot build where you can select sites/domains and it auto injects somnething like -site:pintrest.com into all searches.
The problem with Pinterest is in image results - the extension does nothing for them.
Second, the extension no longer works properly as it hasn't been updated in years.
Name one social network that lets you view its content without a significant reg wall being displayed.
You can’t see a single tweet without logging into twitter.
Browsing Facebook? Good luck seeing past that login box that dominates half the browser screen.
Want information about a restaurant on Yelp besides its address? Better login.
Not sure why Pinterest is being singled out here.
But I agree, I also don’t want to have to do that every time.
What specific piece of technical hardware shows up anywhere near the first page of results in Google that's from pintrest? I can't think of a single time I've seen pintrest in the search results and I search for various technical things all the time? Just curious since this surprises me. I thought pintrest was non technical stuff usually.
I was recently searching for an unusual wood-joint, and I had to give up because the google search results were absolutely polluted with pinterest.
It really poisons the results of searches.
unusual wood joint -pinterest.com
- searches google for "unusual wood joint" minus any results from pinterest.com
Come on Google give me the option.
This extension can block domains from Google search and it's made by Google. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/personal-blocklist...
It should also be noted that most problems I read on the commentary here would be easily solved if Google re-enabled the discussion filter they conveniently removed years ago to prevent users to filter out commercial sites from their queries. That move was pure evil and thanks to it searching has become harder than before.
Users want a search engine to find information they are looking for.
Businesses and sites want a search engine to advertise which information they could provide - but not lead directly to the pieces of information in question.
I think it's worth to make this divide visible and start a discussion which kind of search engine we'd like to have.
For example, they can create a "2 page down" rule. If it takes more than two presses of the Page Down button (or equivalent per mouse/finger) to see indexed content, then penalize their rank score.
why not just use a non-blocking banner at the bottom or top of the page? the only thing a wall does is piss people off since you are blocking the content that they came to see and it results in backlash like this? besides... isn't the whole pinterest model about getting exposure for the images that people post and getting people to sign up? i think that who ever is in charge needs to rethink what they are doing.
1) there are plenty of Pinterest results in DDG image searches.
2) there are plenty of irrelevant results in the image search (above [IBM leapfrog] returns many that aren't about the IBM leapfrog)
3) You have to clicky each image to bring up the card to find out what site it's pointing too. The site isn't shown in the status bar when you hover on the image link. Two of these links go to Pinterest:
Not sure if it works on image search also.
search: concrete+houses -pinterest
But I agree Pinterest should be completely removed by default.
It really is infuriating when I click them and get a signin page over a bunch of images that seem to have no relation to what I searched for.
I have never knowingly gone to Pinterest and so don’t know much about it.
I for one really dig Pinterest for my artsy hobbies.
It's like a internet-curated image search with some quality assurance.
I tried that search and only got one Pinterest result in the top 10.
Here is a quick little script to dump all the text from a Pinterest page; note how much is devoted to SEO and ads. .jpg URLs are wrapped in anchor tags for convenience.
curl https://www.pinterest.com/pin/509469776569152019/ \
|exec tr '<' '\12' \
|exec sed 's/, \"/\
|exec sed '/ \"/!d;2s/^/<pre>/;
s/\"/\" style=margin:40px >viewjpg<\/a><pre>/4;};
$s/$/<\/pre>/' > 1.htm ;
firefox file:///1.htm ;