For the uninitiated, Pinterest is a different take on social networking. It's (supposedly) an invite-only virtual pinboard where users can "organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web." These pinboards are used to plan weddings, decorate their homes, organize their favorite recipes, post artwork and photographs, and more. It’s not exactly Facebook, and not the place you'd expect to find trolling spammers.
Last week the Daily Dot posted an article on how to spot a particular Pinterest spammer. Turns out, the spammer actually reads the site's articles and emailed the writer with a clarification on how he spams Pinterest. Calling himself merely as "Steve," the 24-year-old said that he uses thousands of bot accounts, one of which Pinterest actually deleted. He even makes -- get this -- at least $1000 a day.
"Currently I have no 'real' 9-5 job," Steve said in an interview. "My only source of income is from the earnings I make online. I have three associate degrees, all in aviation. I did two years of Avionics, one year of powerplant and one year of airframe. I have an FCC license and soon when I'm not so lazy I will go and test for my A&P (airframe & powerplant) license."
Previously he used to send spam through Facebook and Twitter, but he's discovered that Pinterest is by far the easiest. It requires almost no work to get started and no money to invest. Potential spammers just have to know how the system works and how they can fix it to their advantage. He started spamming the site by the end of February, earning around $20. Now he's making over $1,000 a day, with his highest earnings reaching $1,900.
"I fully expect next week's earnings to be $2,000-2,500 a day," he said. "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."
Steve was rooted out by The Daily Dot last week, as the site traced his spam back to his Amazon affiliate account, but he has others. He also said that there are other spammers infiltrating the site which are running three weeks behind his own operation.
"There are others doing what I'm doing, but not near the same scale as me," he said. "I'm basically three weeks ahead of everyone else but with all these new bots [like the Black Hat World model] coming into the picture, more and more people will figure out how to do what I'm doing. I have more twists up my sleeve and I will start working on them soon, so you will see new types of spam in the future."
He also doesn't apologize for spamming the site. "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," he said. "I realize that I'm spamming the crap out of the site, but it's nothing personal, just business."
To read the full interview, head here.