Pinterest is making some changes to its controversial usage policies.
The site's future looks bright for now -- its traffic increased by 52 percent between January and February of this year, and there's even been talk that it might be raising an investment round later this year worth a whopping $1 billion (hardly surprising, since a recent study found that Pinterest generates more referral traffic than Twitter).
But with more money, traffic and users comes more problems, and it seems Pinterest is seeking solutions by updating its Terms of Service.
According to Silbermann's blog post, the new versions of both the Acceptable Use and Privacy policies have already taken effect, as of March 23; its proposed updated Terms of Service, on the other hand, will not become active until April 6 but are available for viewing on the Terms and Privacy page.
Among the handful of tweaks and additions the site rolled out last week are streamlined tools for reporting alleged copyright or trademark infringements (a smart move considering the recent flack the site's been getting for its messy copyright policies) and new language that will likely make Pinterest API for apps and Private Pinboards soon available.
Thanks to an update to its Acceptable Use Policy, Pinterest now prohibits pins that explicitly encourage self-harm or self-abuse. This move to eliminate such pins is similar to one made by fellow social media site Tumblr back in February, following a Huffington Post story exposing the disturbing "thinspo" community thriving on the site.
In addition, Pinterest has dropped the word "sell" from its Terms of Service because, as Silbermann explained, "Our original Terms stated that by posting content to Pinterest you grant Pinterest the right for us to sell your content. Selling content was never our intention and we removed this from our updated Terms."
This last point is especially noteworthy given the concern the word "sell" has raised for bloggers such as Scientific American's Kalliopi Monoyios. In a March 19 post, Monoyios explained that, in agreeing to such terms, the user gave Pinterest permission to make money from creative content that may not have belonged to that user in the first place.
To further avoid more of these copyright issues and encourage users to "be authentic" without having to worry about their creative content being sold by the site, Pinterest also deleted a Pin Etiquette principle telling users "not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion."
A person close to Pinterest explained to the Wall Street Journal that the directive was removed to "lessen confusion for users." The change was also likely made in response to concerns raised by photographer and lawyer Kirsten Kowalski, who pointed out troubling inconsistencies and contradictions in Pinterest's policies in a February 24 blog post that eventually went viral.
To read over Pinterest's proposed Terms of Service, make sure to check out their Terms and Privacy page.
What do you think of the changes? Share your thoughts in the comments. Then, take a look at the slideshow to learn about a few helpful tools that will turn you into a Pinterest pro.
Much like Facebook Insights for Pages and Google Analytics, PinReach (formerly PinClout) is an analytics service that helps Pinterest users monitor trends and gauge their success on the site. To sign up, simply enter your Pinterest username, choose a PinReach username, and fill in your email and your desired password. Once you confirm your new log-in information through your email, you will be able to view how your PinReach score (similar to a Klout score) or influence on Pinterest has changed over time. With this information, any user can figure out how to best increase user engagement on his Pinterest page and up his overall influence across the site. The website PinPuff is a similar service that enables users to measure their influence, reach, and virality on Pinterest and will even assign a Pinfluence score and show the monetary value of a user's pins. [Hat Tip: The Next Web]
Are you a Pinterest user who's a sucker for good quotes? Pin A Quote is a bookmarklet that will allow you to easily pin any text you want from the web. To get started, simply drag the "Pin A Quote" button featured on the tool's site to your browser's Bookmarks Toolbar. Then, find text on the web that you want to pin, highlight it, click on your toolbar's new "Pin A Quote" button, and fill in who said the quote. The tool will generate a pin of the text and automatically post it on Pinterest. Check out what your quote pin will look like in the screenshot above.
SpinPicks is a website that lets users browse the web for interesting, Pinterest-worthy images and pin them directly to whichever Pinboard they please. Images are pulled from Flicker's Creative Commons database, Instagram, Twitpic, Reddit/R, YouTube, and PicPlz. SpinPicks also adds the ability to pin images directly to your Pinterest boards. The site is still in beta, but if you submit and confirm your email address, you can access it to try it out. All you have to do is choose a specific website like TwitPic or Insta-Popular under the "Category" option and "Spin" to find a randomly selected image from that site. An added bonus is that SpinPicks "doesn't pull spins from Google.com, Tumblr.com, Bing.com, and Facebook.com to help reduce the number of improperly attributed images, which helps ensure you're only adding quality pins to your Pinterest collection," according to the website. Android users can pick up a free mobile app version of SpinPicks on Google Play.
In the same way that Tumblr's Dashboard allows for easy browsing and clear control of what's posted when, the website Pinerly helps streamline Pinterest browsing and posting with its easy-to-use dashboard interface. According to AGBeat, after you sync your Pinterest account with the website, you'll be able "to locate other Pinterest users that are interested in the same topics, unfollow groups of pinners you no longer wish to follow, and keep your Pinterest stream focused," in addition to letting users schedule pins throughout the day and view how well their pinboards are doing with "Pin Stats." At present, Pinerly is not yet open to the public, but if you enter your email and share Pinerly's link via Facebook or Twitter, you may be able to get your invitation to join earlier than expected, along with some bonus features.
Email app-maker and platform WiseStamp is the developer behind the useful Pinterest Email App. The app places a "Follow Me On Pinterest" button at the bottom of emails as part of the sender's signature, which enables every email to become an encouragement for others to become followers on Pinterest. [Hat Tip: The Next Web]
Snapito! is a quick and simple way to get a full-page screenshot of whatever website you desire. It even has an option that allows you to pin a full or partial screenshot of the site straight to your Pinterest page. All you have to do is enter the website's address, wait for Snapito! to generate a screenshot, and choose "Pin to Pinterest" or "Pin Full Page" from the pull-down menu next to the "Snap!" button. Other helpful Pinterest screenshotting services include the Google Chrome extension Screen 2 Pin and website url2pin. In addition, Chrome extension ShotPin allows for more selective screenshotting by letting you choose what part of a website you want to capture before pinning it to Pinterest.
Windows Phone users are in luck: Pinspiration is a third-party app made especially for using Pinterest on Windows Phones. The app allows users to browse images and post them to Pinterest straight from their phones, just as they would on the web. iPhone users can also download the Pinterest iOS app. Android users, keep your fingers crossed.