So Here’s My Problem With Pinterest (and Lazy Bloggers, and Irresponsible Website Creators)

I think the shine might be wearing off on Pinterest for me.  When trying to round up ideas on Pinterest, I find myself getting frustrated more often than not.

Since I’ve been working so hard on my utility closet lately, I’ve had laundry rooms on my mind.  (Not sure if you’ve caught this, but my utility closet is directly across from the closet that holds my washer and dryer, so this hallway is as close to a laundry room that I’ll get.)

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to do a round up of some amazing laundry rooms.  Naturally, I went to pinterest (which has replaced Google for me when I’m wanting to search pictures), and searched “laundry room”.  The first one that I found that I really liked was this one…

laundry room 1

Naturally, I wanted to find the source.  The problem?  The Pinterest link went to Decorpad.  Decorpad is one of those sites I have a love/hate relationship with.  I love to be able to search rooms by color, or type, or whatever.  But I HATE that about half the time, the actual DESIGNER of the room, or the ORIGINAL SOURCE of the room isn’t mentioned.  And even when they are, they’re not linked.

So, it’s still a mystery where this room came from and who created it.

The next laundry room that caught my eye was this one…

laundry room 2

I took a look at the source of the picture on Pinterest, and it said  GOOGLE?  Why is Google getting the credit?  I’m almost certain that Google didn’t create this awesome laundry room.  But I clicked on the link anyway to see if I could follow some rabbit trail to the original source.

Google took me to a blog post written by a blogger who had done a round up of laundry rooms, which would have been great, except she didn’t give ONE SINGLE LINK to any of the sources for her photos.

So that’s laundry room #2, created by a very talented person who isn’t getting credit for his or her efforts, because the credit is going to Google and then to some blogger who posted the picture without linking the source.  And this picture had been re-pinned seventy-seven times with the credit going to Google.  (Seriously, does Google REALLY need our help getting more traffic?!)  And who knows how many times it had been re-pinned from the 77 re-pins, and then re-pinned again, and again.  These things spread like wildfire…all the while, without the original source being credited.

The third laundry room I liked and wanted to post in my round up was this one…

laundry room 3

So what did the link say on this one?  Pinterest for iPhone.  And when I clicked the link, it went to a Pinterest page that explains the Pinterest for iPhone app.  So I clicked the picture.  It took me right back to the Pinterest page with this picture on it.  They seriously need to do some tweaking on this app!  It shouldn’t have been made available until it correctly linked the sources of photos!

Again, we have another fantastic laundry room created by a very talented person who ISN’T GETTING THE CREDIT for his or her work.  And this laundry room, from this one pin, had been re-pinned 83 times…without proper credit.

Then the last laundry room that I found before I gave up in frustration was this one…

laundry room 4

The source on this pin went to a blog.  I was quite certain that the blogger hadn’t created this room (I’m pretty sure this is from a source like BHG), but I was hopeful that the source would be linked on the blog.  Well, I never found out if it was or wasn’t, because the pinner pinned the photo from the main URL of the blog, rather than from the permalink of the specific blog post where this picture was used.

Unless there’s an easier way that I don’t know about, I could have spent all day looking through a blog in order to find one photo in hopes that the source would be linked.

So as of right now, my roundup of awesome and inspiring laundry rooms isn’t going to happen.  I’m very frustrated, and Pinterest (and lazy bloggers, and irresponsible website creators) are on my bad list.

We can do better than this, people.  I know we all get in a hurry, but I want to encourage us to start making an effort to pin from the ORIGINAL SOURCES* and give credit where credit is due!  And to stop repinning things from people who haven’t given the time, thought, or courtesy to the original creators of the room or project that you like.  This is spiraling out of control, and each one of us needs to take the responsibility to do what we can to stop this madness.  (For the record, this is to myself as well.  For the longest, I was repinning like a mad woman, completely unaware that the sources weren’t linked—or that the link was a dead end—on many of the photos I was pinning.  I only realized this was even a problem just a few days ago.)

And if you’re a blogger, and you’re not crediting the sources of the photos you use, SHAME ON YOU a thousand times!!!  As the owner of a blog, it is your responsibility to do the research and learn what your responsibilities are to your readers and to the bloggers whose ideas and photos you’re borrowing to fill the posts on your blog.  (And this responsibility exists whether you make money on your blog or not.)

I’m clearly not the only one who has been frustrated with this type of thing.  I’ve seen several other bloggers write about similar issues lately.  Just yesterday, Allison at House of Hepworths shared her own frustration with other people getting credit for her creations.  Let me tell you, when you’re a blogger, and you’ve spent hours creating a project, taking pictures, editing pictures, writing a tutorial, and getting everything just right, it’s the most disheartening thing in the world to see the credit go to someone else.

Let’s make an effort.  Let’s do better.  Please.

*Actually if you have a Pinterest account,  you’ve already agreed to do this when you signed up for your account and clicked the little box saying that you agreed to their Terms of Service.  I (and many other bloggers) are really not asking you to do anything to which you haven’t already agreed.

Edit:  Thanks to several commenters below, the mystery of the photo sources has been solved.  The above laundry rooms can be found at Canadian House & Home, Hampton DesignSouthern Living, and Canadian House & Home.

P.S.—If you want to pin these laundry rooms, click on the links and pin from the source.



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  1. I'm with you. 

    Another thing that people do is open up an image on your blog, then pin it. Well, the source becomes lhgpt036 (or something like that) and not your blog.

  2. Have you ever heard of It lets you upload an image from your computer or type in that image's URL, and it finds it anywhere online (if it exists online). It might help you track down the original source for something, when a lazy blogger hasn't.

  3. That is very frustrating.. I love pinterest so much, but that is disheartening. I just read a blog the other day that had my coffee table as their "inspiration" image on their blog, but no credit to me.. just said "found this on pinterest. Very sad when I saw my hard work with no credit to me at all. I love my blog & I'm very passionate about my projects.. so it's sad when they go with out credit. 

    xx Liz Marie

  4. I agree… I do a "Treasure Hunting Thursday" post every week where I take a picture of some "treasure" I find in a consignment/antique/resale shop & then find pictures of creative ways to use that item.  I mostly try to use pinterest to find cute uses & photos, but sometimes it is SUPER hard to find sources.  I almost always wont use a photo that I can't find a source for, which really limits my options sadly.  I also put my blog name on every photo on my blog… even the "before" photos.  You never know where one's going to end up, so I just stick it on there just to be safe… it only takes a couple of seconds.  I'm going to really make an effort to pin directly from original sources now.  Most of mine are, but sometimes I admit I don't check if it's just a pin that I like that I'm not planning on blogging about.

  5. That's been my complaint as well.  I am always hesitant to post any picture that I don't have a credit for, but sometimes it's so hard to discover it.  I've posted anyway a few times and I've been lucky enough to have someone in my reading audience let me know who to credit.  I think most responsible bloggers really want to give credit where credit is due.  I think pinterest could do a better job, although I don't know how if people don't help.

  6. I always tag the source on my pins, but I am guilty of just repinning from others when I like something.  You have opened my eyes..thank you.

  7. Hi Kristi, I totally agree about the sourcing – really really bad – and actually would be considered plagiarism in many other situations, which I really don't get why pinterest can get away with it. I actually wanted to move my "ideas file" on my computer to pinterest, and made sure I went back to the original blogs, trawled all the way thru and pinned the originals – took forever, but I would feel weird if I didn't do it. I think for people like yourself – watermark every image from now on…it's clear and gets your brand all over the net. That all said, I still think it's the best creative brainstorming resource out there. 🙂

  8. I couldn't agree more. I have had one particular project where my stuff has been copied pretty much verbatim and had absolutely no credit give back to me. While we can't control what people pin, we can (as bloggers) link back to the original source so we can all give the proper credit to the original source. 

    I totally agreed with Alison's (HoH) post on watermarking your images because then even if it isn't linked back, people can't use your photos and claim it as their own! 

    thanks for sharing Kristi! You're awesome!

    Mallory @ Classy Clutter

  9. Amen and PREACH IT SISTAH!  
    I have become more and more frustrated with this type of thing too.  If I now find something I want to repin from pinterest, I click it to go to the original source and pin from there.  I have quite a few followers on pinterest, so I feel I have an extra responsibility to make sure the source of the photo is getting proper credit.

  10. 3rd image is from Southern Living:

  11. It is annoying. I have blogged many times about what I like to call "creative plagiarism" and Facebook fan pages are the worst culprits, far worse than Pinterest. 

    I think it's still very useful, but I too get pissed at the lack of trackback links. My friend, Austin, has a bathroom that is pinned often, with no mention of him or Mabley Handler, so I tag it, but still.

    But asking people not to pin this blog? You might as well save your breath, I pinned all of these laundry rooms over a year ago and they're every where. You really can't stop it nor is there any common creative license for the copyright of them. It is what it is. 

  12. Amen!!!  I figured it out immediately when I first started using pinterest and I always go to the MAIN source and then pin!  As a blogger who creates her own things, I am very keenly aware of making sure that the TRUE source gets the credit.  It really makes me angry to see another blogger feature something without a source.  It's wrong!  Thank you so much for your post!

  13. I didn't realize all of the problems with repinning.  I promise I will be more careful as I always want to give credit where credit is due.  

  14. While i would NEVER post someone else's picture without linking to them directly, I am guilty of repinning things that don't link back to their origanal source.  Thanks for opening my eyes!

    One tip:  If you find a pin that takes you to a blog's main page instead of the specific post, look to see the day the picture was pinned….then check the blog archive for that day to find the original post.

  15. I didn't realize until a couple of years ago, that copying and pasting pictures to put on my own blog was just wrong.  I have since changed my ways and I be sure to link everything now if I happen to use someone else's picture on my blog.

    Recently, I have discovered some of the same problems with Pinterest.  I will pin a recipe to find that whoever pinned it in the first place, didn't pin it right and people have just been repinning the heck out of it – and the recipe is completely useless to me.  The other day I was looking for some printables- the pin I pinned said they were free and I went to the link and they are very much not free.  I've since become a little bit more careful in my pinning and am actually checking out the links before I pin anything new. 

    Thanks for saying what you did here – it's a good reminder for all of us and it does feel wrong to not give credit where credit is due because it IS wrong.  

  16. While I try to find the original post to pin from, often I can't so I always make sure to place the designer's name as part of my description, so at least the blogger/designer/stylist will receive credit if it is repinned.  But I do agree that in the era of Pinterest, it makes the most sense to watermark your pictures moving forward.  I use (free site) to add a quick bit of text in the corner of the pictures – while an extra step, it's one that ensures that credit is given where due.

  17. I'm not a blogger or anything like that, but it annoys me to no end when I can't find the original source. I can't tell you how much time I have wasted looking for it, sometimes I am successful, other times I am not.

  18. Okay – devil's advocate here – I'm coming from the POV of a former blogger. If you blog for a living or to attract clientele to your business I can totally understand where your frustration comes from. BUT sometimes we can get a little over protective of our work and we just need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember a few things. First, I'd say I'm pretty safe with this assumption – most pinners pin for fun. There isn't any way to make money off of pinning (trust me, I'm trying to come up with a way – I'll let you know if I do). Pinning is supposed to be a way to collect images that inspire you. My boards contain inspiration for crafts, recipes, clothing, home decor etc.  I don't honestly have the time to read a whole lot of blogs anymore, obviously yours is an exception, but I can't put my finger on a single one that I do read that would willfully and dishonestly take credit for someone else's work.  I'm sure there are some of those out there, but do you really think for one minute that when molly homemaker shows a picture from BHG that we believe that it is her home? Or if another designer pins a picture for their inspiration post (like your laundry room post) that we believe that they personally designed each of those rooms? Personally I craft, cook, write, and decorate my home because I enjoy creating things of beauty. If I stumble across one of my pictures on the internet that hasn't credited me as an original source I try to feel flattered. Remember – "Imitation is the sincerest of flattery" (btw that is Charles Caleb Colton but I don't think he ever gets credit for that little piece of wisdom). If you see one of your projects out there that hasn't been credited to you kindly inform the poster (or pinner or whatever) of the error, ask them to credit you or take the picture down. I'm guessing most will. And then move on. Life is too short to allow anger to remain in your heart. Kristy, you're talented, funny, and clever. I'm sure when you wrote this post you were upset about all the work it takes to track down an original source. I know, been there, done that. But I'll tell you something – when I do try to track down an original source (such as the post from a blog) I more often than not end up following that blog because I find many more wonderful things in my efforts to track the original picture down. 

    1. Pinterest MAKES money off the work, which is often poorly sourced, of others. If I’m not able to monetize my hard work Pinterest should be able to either without sharing whatever profits it earns from my labor. “credit” does not pay bills and content creators – not lazy pinteresters – get to control when and how content is shared.

      Sorry, my response sounds huffy, but 1) I hate “The Devil’s Advocate” and 2) I hate people who justify content theft.

      To the author of this blog: ROCK ON. Thank you for writing this!

  19. I hope you are just having a bad day because this post really left a bad taste in my mouth.  I generally enjoy following your blog and am often inspired by your work.  I can safely say not today though, you've sucked the fun right out of your blog.

  20. Kristi, I've been following your blog for awhile and I think you have some amazing and wonderful ideas.  I'm guessing this post was written in frustration, but I'm going to say something here and you may or may not like it.  Most people on Pinterest (myself included) are not really looking for the source of the pictures.  They are looking for ideas and inspiration.  I am VERY guilty of doing something you condemned here (or maybe it was one of your commenters) but I will click on a picture in a blog and then pin just that picture.  I never even thought of the fact that it would link back to just the picture and not give credit to the individual post of the blogger that posted the picture.  My goal and use of Pinterest is not really to help others further their traffic and business from their blogs, but rather it is to save things that I think are pretty so when I am trying to do something myself one day and I remember I saw something that used this or that I can go back and see what it was.  After reading your blog today I felt bad.  That is not the goal I hoped to achieve by reading blogs and/or pinterest.  I wanted to feel good and get good ideas.  NEVER in my life have I ever claimed an idea that was someone else's as mine but apparently unless I do extensive research and make sure every picture I pin is directly linked back to the exact person that took the picture I'm guilty of plagiarism?  Is that really what the blogging community wants?  I sure hope not.

    1. i think people use Pinterest in different ways, just as people use Facebook in different ways. my use of Pinterest is similar to yours. i’m trying to remember the name of a paint color, or an idea to rearrange something. it is a place for me to pin/place things i want to return to. i want the link to be correct myself if it’s something i’m going to need later; otherwise i don’t watch for that, and you now ‘pin’ without even being able to see if that link is there or not, which wasn’t true in the beginning. it always amazes me when somebody repins one of my pins, because to me it’s just my own pin board(s). but for a professional designer or blogger, their use of pinterest is to spread their “product”, which is completely defeated by not being referenced. i would, like you, NEVER claim an idea/pin as mine that was not, but there are certainly ppl who do exactly that.

  21. Oh how I second being irritated with this situation.  When I go on Pinterest and actually have time to do it.  If I see something that I like I usually go to the pin and then I click on the source to ensure its from the actually source.  I hate later on if I try to go the original source and look at the tutorial or anything the blogger has said or whatever the case may be and I can't because of things like this 🙁  Glad you let this out, I'm right there with ya 🙂

  22. Well, I'm really sorry that my asking people to give credit where credit is due "left a bad taste" in your mouth.  I think if you were a blogger who spent hours planning, purchasing items for, creating, photographing, editing the photographs, and writing thorough tutorials for one single project, you'd have a different opinion.  Or if you were an interior designer who spent months of your life working on one single room, only to see other people getting the credit (or seeing your photos being passed around to hundreds, if not thousands, of people without a mention of your name or website), you'd have a different opinion.

    I've been in both situations, and it's frustrating.  Heck, I've had another interior designer steal photos of rooms that I designed and use them in an online brochure advertising her interior design services.

    So yeah…this is an issue that I feel is very important.

    1. on the other hand, what you said you wanted to do was a post with a roundup of great laundry room ideas. and you were able to do that from Pinterest even as you were lamenting the lack of credit being given. i was happy that you went back and credited the ones you found after people found the credit. i had never heard of “tineye” or “src-img” and am thrilled to know about those solutions. that will help also possibly on the ones where the reference returns “image posted by user”.

  23. I agree with Aimee. While I totally understand that people want credit for their work or want to know the original source, someone like me is just looking for ideas and inspiration to make my home a more beautiful place. Even when the original person is mentioned, I don't know that person but I do appreciate the fact that they've shared their talents publicly. Even if I use ideas for my home, my room or project will never look exactly like the original. To me, Pinterest is like cutting pictures out of magazines, only easier. I'm sure it's frustrating to not get credit but I think most of us pin for fun and never even thought about giving credit. Now that I'm aware, I will try to find the original source but I will still pin things that inspire me and enjoy and appreciate the generosity of those who created great designs whether or not I ever know their name.

  24. First of all – I love all the laundries that you've found images for!

    Secondly – I totally agree 100% with what you are saying. I think a lot of bloggers believe that if they see a picture online, that it's free for the taking, without giving anyone any kind of credit etc., when in point of fact, they are stealing someone's copyright. I would never use an image from someone else's blog without first obtaining their permission, and second, without giving them credit.

    For commercial sites (such as shelter magazine sites etc.) – I don't write to the magazine to obtain permission to use an image, but I always give credit in my blog post, normally immediately under the image, or for a post with a number of images from the same source, at the top or bottom of the actual post.

    I don't think a lot of bloggers realize that they are breaking copyright law when they add pictures without giving credit, and there are severe criminal penalties for doing so.

    Thanks for bringing this to the attention of bloggers who may not be aware of the law with reference to online images.

  25. I get really frustrated with the lack of proper sourcing on Pinterest as well. I've been trying to make sure whenever I pin a photo I put as much information as I can find about the designer, photographer, etc. Often times I come across a photo that has been used with no sourcing, which I find really sad. I'm considering even including the image url in my Pinterest descriptions since the actual Pinterest source links can be faulty.

  26. I've been trying to work hard on giving the right credit. For those of you who have tons of inspiration photos you've saved to your hard drive over the years, there's a really easy way. Go to and then just drag and drop your saved photo onto the website. Google will do its best to locate the original source for you and then you can pin that link rather than uploading it without credit. I had about a 98% success rate. For images you can't find the source of, I always try to mention "Source unknown- please let me know if you have it!" and hope that as pinterest becomes more popular that I can locate those sources.

    I really love finding out the original creator because I find so many new blogs to follow that way. I'm fairly certain I discovered your blog because you were credited on pinterest (the piano makeover is what I seem to remember) and I liked your content enough to stick around.

  27. This is a really interesting subject.  I'm thinking of adding a watermark to my blog pics so at least of the pic is pinned a million times it will still have my blog name on it. 

  28. I can understand your frustration. But it's not really Pinterest's fault. And like a previous poster said, most people pin for fun and are not intending on "stealing" images or anything. It's a picture. Move on with your life.

  29. Well, I'm also in the minority here, and while I see what you're saying, I just use pinterest to look for ideas and inspiration.  It's just like google-searching images for me.  The only time I even click on the link to the original is if I want to read about it-recipes, tutorials, etc.  But if I just search for some style or decor idea and find ones I like, I repin them so I can see them again later.  I'm not pinning as a social media option, it's why I didn't jump on the bandwagon immediately, I'm doing it as a source of ideas for myself.  And yes, it's irritating when a pin doesn't work, but I don't think it's as much that people are lazy or irresponsible but that they just don't know what they're doing.  I don't think it's anything to get upset about.  But I understand that in your line of work, your photos are directly connected to your money, etc.  So I see where you're coming from, but don't feel so strongly about it at all.  And I'm not blogging to make money, but to share with friends and family, so while I don't think I've ever posted pictures not just of my family, when people do post other pictures, I don't think anyone's trying to steal from anyone else by admiring their work.  It's just ignorance, I think, nine times out of ten.  Plus, the printables, tutorials, and recipes I use from pinterest are the free ones.  So even when the links do work, I just go to that page and use the information on there.  I'm not giving money to the blogger who posted it, except if they get money for blog traffic or something.  I have started following maybe two blogs that I've found through pinterest, but I don't have time for most of them.
    Just my two cents.

  30. I'm with you too here, one of my biggest pet peeves. I actually think Tumblr is way worse at it though. I've pretty much stopped visiting it because i get so frustrated. What really gets to me is when Tumblr/Pinterest people re-blog some photo I just blogged (and appropriately sourced), then they re-re-post it on their Tumblr/Pinterest accounts sourcing themselves. To me, blogging (and Tumblr/Pinterest) is all about sharing beauty and inspiring people. But the people who CREATE the beauty deserve credit!! I don't see how anyone could argue with that. 

  31. I understand your frustration… I think anyone and everyone should watermark their photos… even the random mom or dad who puts any family pics online.  It won't keep people from stealing your photos, but it helps with the vast majority.  And it certainly would help in this case where something is 'unintentionally stolen' and credit not given. 

  32. Yes, definitely watermark your photos!!!  It doesn't matter if you have an obscure blog with one reader per day…watermark!!  You never know which project will be the spark that gets the flame going, and could turn you into an overnight success.

  33. I totally agree with you, but am also guilty of repinning things without even clicking on the link because I just like the picture and don't think to check, and I think the Pinterest should hold a greater responsibility of setting the expectations of the site. Linking to the original source is merely "suggested" (by their own words as mentioned in the etiquette sections). They are flat out telling users that linking to the source is for a "useful" purpose not that it is considered an offense to the artist and copyright infringement. The site should be set up to not even accept URL's that aren't a specific website. Linking straight from Google should not even be possible. At the very least Pinterest should make it clear what is REQUIRED (not suggested) and that if your Pin doesn't link to a credited source it can be reported and will be taken down (thus removing all other Pins repinned from that original).

    Awareness, especially for some people that really aren't computer savvy and don't understand the way linking works (ie: my grandma that pins but can't even send an email) is a good way to get bloggers to start taking personal responsibility for linking appropriately but the site should be set up differently.

  34. Melissa, I did the same thing!  As a Pinterest newbie, I just assumed that all of the pins would be linked to their sources, so I was just re-pinning away.  It took a while before I realized that wasn't the case at all, and some of them don't even have a link at all!  (I'm still not sure how that even happens.)  I've definitely got some cleaning up to do.

    And I completely agree about Google!!  It shouldn't be an option to pin directly from Google.

    I love Pinterest, but as far as I'm concerned, they've got some serious tweaking that needs to be done.

  35. I never knew you could drag and drop pictures to!  Fantastic tip.  Thank you!  I have TONS of pictures saved to my computer and I never saved the sources.

  36. P.S. I did read through the fine print and there is a paragraph that says Pinterest holds the rights to content you upload and you agree to only upload if you have the right to give that permission. Also, that you will not Pin anything that is in violation of copyright etc. I just don't understand why they then suggest linking to the original source….it seem to totally compromise their own terms of service.

  37. Kristi,  I don't even know where to begin with pinterest.  I could go off about it for hours.  But at the same time I LOVE pinterest.  It's a tricky site I tell ya.

    I have complained since the day I got an invite to pinterest about linking back.  It's bad enough that people are pinning stuff w/o a proper link back but the thing that really ruffles my feathers is that bloggers are featuring stuff found on pinterest and then as the link-back are linking to their pinterest board.  Pinterest is NOT A SOURCE!!  If you find a picture on pinterest and use it, link back to the original source for crying out loud.

    Just yesterday I saw a hugely popular blog create a montage of cute photos (using photoshop) all found on pinterest.  Most of these crafts are projects other bloggers have made.  Instead of linking back to each blog, she linked back to her pinterest board and basically said that if you want to see who made it, go to her board, scour the board, find the right source, and then click on it.


    This is a smart blogger who knows better.  First off, creating a photo mash up of other bloggers' work?  Second, linking to pinterest instead of each blogger.  Third, linking to a board and not even the direct link on pinterest.

    Wow, wow, Wow.  I lost a ton of respect for this blogger right then and there.

    I have huge issues with pinterest itself, but bloggers who know better linking a mash up of photos to a board?!  Hellz-no.  Wrong wrong wrong.

    I get so angry about pinterest that I can't even put into words my frustration.  All I can do is sit here and feel huge anxiety inside myself.  Argh.

    If you find a photo on pinterest that you are going to post on your blog, track down the original source and link directly to that blog.  If you can't find the original source, at least say so and link directly to the pinterest link.  Linking to a general board that has hundreds of pins on it is as bad as not linking at all.

    It just infuriates me b/c I spend literally a minimum of 4 hours editing photos and writing a tutorial.  And I write about a tutorial a week!  And this doesn't even count the time it took to actually create the tutorial.  Huge amounts of work go into my posts, and then to have a HUGE blogger take MY photo, create a mash up with 6 other bloggers, and link to a BOARD?!  Makes me want to spit on her.

    * I do want to say that my picture was not in the above referenced blogger's mash up.  She used other bloggers, not my stuff.  If she had used my stuff, she would surely received a not so nice email from me.

    Anyway, thanks for your post.  Hit the nail right on the head. 

  38. This has been very interesting reading — both the post, and the responses.  As a brand-new user of Pinterest, I really hadn't given this issue much thought before — but I find that I have usually noted the site or the designer or the chef automatically, because the picture is only half the story anyway.  I want to be able to go read that recipe, follow that tutorial, look at the photographs taken from other angles.  It takes a little extra time, but researching my projects is worth that time to me.  Adequate citation is certainly to my own benefit — as well as being the ethical thing to do.  As a student, I've learned always to cite my sources.  Always.  Always.  A published picture is no different from a published paper in that respect.

    Kristi, thank you for making me more consciously aware of this issue.  I see that some of the responses to your post have been impatient, so I wanted to chime in with my gratitude. 

  39. Hmmm…with all due respect, aren't you doing the same thing by posting these pictures of laundry rooms without knowing the source?  Did you find inspiration in these photos?  In a perfect world, people would source everything but I don't see it happening.  Especially on a site like Pinterest.  I think most of us are just looking for some inspiration.

  40. Kristi, You crack me up!! I never really thought about the images on Pinterest (I'm so dumb sometimes) Now you have me going through all my pins (this could take awhile) to find the REAL source and link to the rightful owner….

  41. I agree. I've had the same problem. I found a wedding dress that I never was able to find the source for. That's a potentially huge-ticket item that the designer will never get credit for and a purchase potentially lost! 
    Personally, I don't even see the point of pinning pictures from Google. What purpose does it serve? If you found an awesome picture, that's great. Take the time to go to the actual web page it's posted on and pin it from there.I also hate when the 'link' simply says 'none'. I'm assuming that means it was uploaded directly but it's still frustrating.In the end, Pinterest is another form of advertising and marketing. It's free, which is great, but it's still advertising. (Blame my marketing degree for this stance.)Intellectual property rights still exist. 

  42. First picture is from House and Home

    Second Picture is in Martha Stewarts home designed by Hampton Design

    Third picture is Southern Living

    Fourth picture is from House and Home as well

    These pictures were not hard to find the original source in fact I found them via Google. So google is not bad to look for source. In fact Google has a nice tool to help search images. I copied the image location of the images from your website and put it in the search box on google then searched. If no results come up click where it says search by image and it will tell you every page that image is on. It took me about 5 minutes or less.

  43. For this reason, I disagree with you using images you couldn't find the original sources for in this post! You must see the irony in this! Even if you can't find the source, the images are copyrighted! And, even if you find the source AND CREDIT THE SOURCE, you may not be protected under copyright law. You must actually get permission from the sources before posting, even if it's really, really hard. Some blogs/sites offer implicit permission, depending on use (usually the condition is giving credit). Others do not. But in this post (and I do agree with your sentiment, in general), you have done what you are scolding others for, and your clever disclaimer at the bottom is not enough to protect you under copyright law.
    I am a fan of your blog, so I hope you take these comments as helpful to this discussion, and not as a personal insult of any kind!

  44. I just found your blog on…Pinterest. I have never read your blog before and after reading this post I don't plan on coming back to your blog.  I get your frustration but I don't believe Pinterest was meant to be a source for bloggers to find images to put on their blogs. I also don't feel that the majority of bloggers are out to steal anyones ideas. If I saw an image of mine that someone pinned or repinned I would consider it a compliment and move on. Now, if a someone posted the image and tried to claim it as their own that is another thing but that is not what these bloggers are doing. They are showing images for inspiration, excatly what Pinterest is there for. My feeling is that most bloggers are not trained designers who know the ins and outs of copyright and sourcing pictures. Of course there is always the exception but it is not the rule. You need to lighten up and stop placing blame. If this is all you have to worry about in life you are blessed.

  45. Yes, I've asked for people to give credit where credit is due, and to show some respect for the copyrighted materials that they're using and sharing publicly (which you agreed to do when you signed up for a Pinterest account and verified that you read the Terms of Service), and that makes me an evil and terrible person.

  46. I love this site. It's actually one of my very favorites. You have wonderful talent and I'm thankful you share your projects with the rest of us.

     I do feel for
    anyone not getting credit where credit is do, I can imagine it would
    sting, so I sincerely feel your frustration. I do find some of the choices of words a little on the harsh side,
    though. Pretty much this is the only thing that is a little offensive "And if you’re a blogger, and you’re not crediting the sources of the photos you use, SHAME ON YOU a thousand times!!!  You either need to learn to link, or stop blogging immediately.

    Don't get me wrong, I agree with what you stated as long as it pertains to bloggers who are seasoned bloggers. There are a lot of us who are brand new and ignorant of blog etiquette. I think there are so many people out there that are just so use to sharing things that it never occurred to us that it was copyright infringement or rude or whatever. Everyone starts somewhere and we don't go into this knowing the whole ins and outs of things. I've come to learn some of the in's and outs of blog etiquette just by reading a post here or there that may cover the topic, and thank God that I did because I would sincerely hate for someone to just automatically assume I was lazy or rude or simply an inconsiderate person if they happened upon my blog.

    I"m still a little shy to post my blog up here because I"m unsure if I'm considered a rude blogger. If I post a photo of a tutorial with a link and no name is that considered rude? For instance say I love your post about the Bold Horizontal Striped Fireplace that is catching my attention right now, and I post the photo on my site and I provide a link that says Go here and links directly to you but I don't necessarily include your blog name under the photo is this inconsiderate or lazy?

    I was under the impression as long as I give the blog name or the blog link that it would be fine. Or do we have to do both?

  47. GOOD POINT, one right after another!!  As a professional photographer, I can get up in arms pretty quick, about copyright infringement. Up to this point, pretty much 99% of the photos on my blog (and there are SO many photos per post), have all been taken by ME.  Google Images…..has probably 1,000's of my photos by now. (Which prompted my blog watermarking every photo= more work), but at least I do get linked credit back to my blog.  But if someone pins one of MY images, from Google Images, there is where the credit trail is lost. Google Images gets the credit.

    Recently, I have been trying to brainstorm ways to simplify my blogging, and thus be able to put out more blog posts per X amount of time. Using Pinterest for some of the images for a post, is something I am considering. But….knowing I never want my OWN photos ripped off with no credit, I am SO leary of using one from Pinterest, without correct credit. Now that would leave me with a lot MORE searching, to find the select images that actually offer the valid credit for that photo. In that time of a mad-goose chase, I could actually be taking my own photo, editing it, and using that.

    I'm afraid this problem is only going to get worse, rather than better. Because sadly, people are generally takers, than givers. (TAKING images, for their own sense of convenience and to add value (of someone else's) to their own post/project….and NOT GIVING the time, nor GIVING effort, to GIVE the credit.) And with the start of that, makes it increasingly more difficult, if not impossible, for those who WANT to do right (a.k.a Kristi), to do right.

    On a bit of a different note, regarding the increasing disappointment of Pinterest:  It used to be full of all beautiful photography and CLASSY taste.  I am seeing more and more and more of really poor photography being pinned, and CRUDE (disgusting, lude, offensive) 'shares'.  Not likely that will get better, instead of worse, either.

    Oh my….I didn't even realize I had so much to say about this matter. But there it is! : )

  48. GOOD POINT, one right after another!!  As a professional photographer, I
    can get up in arms pretty quick, about copyright infringement. Up to
    this point, pretty much 99% of the photos on my blog (and there are SO
    many photos per post), have all been taken by ME.  Google Images…..has
    probably 1,000's of my photos by now. (Which prompted my blog
    watermarking every photo= more work), but at least I do get linked
    credit back to my blog.  But if someone pins one of MY images, from
    Google Images, there is where the credit trail is lost. Google Images
    gets the credit.

    Recently, I have been trying to brainstorm ways to simplify my blogging,
    and thus be able to put out more blog posts per X amount of time. Using
    Pinterest for some of the images for a post, is something I am
    considering. But….knowing I never want my OWN photos ripped off with
    no credit, I am SO leary of using one from Pinterest, without correct
    credit. Now that would leave me with a lot MORE searching, to find the
    select images that actually offer the valid credit for that photo. In
    that time of a mad-goose chase, I could actually be taking my own photo,
    editing it, and using that.

    I'm afraid this problem is only going to get worse, rather than better.
    Because sadly, people are generally takers, than givers. (TAKING images,
    for their own sense of convenience and to add value (of someone else's)
    to their own post/project….and NOT GIVING the time, nor GIVING
    effort, to GIVE the credit.) And with the start of that, makes it
    increasingly more difficult, if not impossible, for those who WANT to do
    right (a.k.a Kristi), to do right.

    On a bit of a different note, regarding the increasing disappointment of
    Pinterest:  It used to be full of all beautiful photography and CLASSY
    taste.  I am seeing more and more and more of really poor photography
    being pinned, and CRUDE (disgusting, lude, offensive) 'shares'.  Not
    likely that will get better, instead of worse, either.

    Oh my….I didn't even realize I had so much to say about this matter. But there it is! : )

  49. Have you tried using flickr creative commons for pics for your posts?  When I don't have time to take a picture, or don't have a relevant picture of my own for a post I use flickr cc.  You can use the pictures as long as you give credit and link back to the persons flickr page.
    Also, I use my own photo's more than once if I have to.  So i might use a picture of some christmas cookies when I post the recipe, and then next year in a post about gearing up for christmas. 
    I try not to use another bloggers image unless I am actively featuring their project.  I want my readers to click through to the featured post because they want to see more of that project.

  50. The old saying "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar" (source unknown) is true.  While I agree with your sentiment, I really think your tone (specifically to your readers) is eye opening. I know you have no intention of changing, but maybe a little introspection would be useful in this area.  

  51. Like I said on the other post, for each of the handful of you who got prickly over the "tone" of my posts, I've had far more who have thanked me, not only in these comments and the comments on the other post, but also in e-mails from fellow bloggers who have thanked me profusely for bringing this up and boldly addressing this topic.

    I can't please all the people all the time.  I've never tried, and I don't intend to start now.

  52. I used to hate things like this, but I have found a great way to track down the source! Simply go to and click on the little camera next to the search images button! You can then paste in the image url and it searches the entire internet for the picture! I tested it, and i worked wonders with the above pictures – i was able to find the sources in less that a minute! I hope this helped! (this is explained better at

  53. OH MY GOSH. I feel terrible, because as soon as I read your post I thought to myself, "I can't possibly have THAT many pins that aren't credited correctly…" WRONG. I deleted all the pins that were uncredited and saved them to my computer instead, so they could become my personal insipiration. Well, I went from having 2 thousaand almost 3 to 1,452 pins. It was terrible! I tried to find as many sources I could, and edit my discriptions… I just feel terrible that I was so daft as to not ever think about this until NOW. I have just recently been commenting on pins asking if they know the source, with some glimmer of hope of being able to find a source… Yes. I feel terrible, and am repentant, and I will change…  

  54. Ironically I found your blog on Pinterest. and now will never return and will never repin something from your blog. Shame on your for not taking a moment to realize what Pinterest is supposed to be for – inspiration.

    1. Yes, shame on me for asking people to abide by the terms of service to which they agreed when they set up their Pinterest account. How unreasonable of me!

        1. That blog post is about a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TOPIC than my post. And I agree with her 100%…I absolutely hate it when a DIY blogger takes a person’s product from Etsy or somewhere else and copies it exactly and then offers a tutorial for it, but unscrupulous bloggers will always do stuff like that. Hopefully the ethical bloggers that read her post will realize how unethical that practice is, and refrain from doing it, or stop doing it if they’ve done it before.

          But again, that has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with the topic of my blog post. I’m starting to think you either didn’t read my post, or you didn’t understand it. Either way, you said you would “never return”, and yet, here you are.

          And I will reiterate, I’m not asking anyone to do anything that they haven’t ALREADY agreed to do when they set up their PInterest account and agreed to the Terms Of Service of Pinterest.

  55. YES YES A THOUSAND TIMES YES. I’ve never been to your blog before, but found it after I googled, and I quote: “pinterest pisses me off because no one includes sources.” It’s getting to be as bad as weheartit and tumblr when it comes to finding original information on anything. Thank you for your PSA, I only hope more people take up the cause and eradicate horrible pinterest etiquette.

    1. @ Lisa – that’s so funny…not only was I going to reply using the exact words you used (YES, YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES) – but I also found this great blog post because I Googled “Frustrated With Pinterest” and I saw this page. HA!

      You’d think that Pinterest would want to improve their site – but I guess if they continue to get tons of traffic, they won’t be changing anything.

      And thanks, Kristi, for the original post.

  56. Pingback: 15 tips for using pinterest as a way to build your little biz……. » Style Me Sweet Designs
  57. Hi everyone. This is a great discussion with lots of different sides/angles to the equation. I have had many of my “creations” re pinned over and over again on Pinterest. How do I know this? From the links that come from pinterest straight back to my little craft blog on a daily basis. And why do they come back to my blog “the source”? Because I watermark ALL my photos with my name and my blog address. It’s a simple solution that seems to be working for me. Watermarks can be done quite easily on many free online sources.

  58. On the other hand… If someone wants credit there are things the can do, like watermark for instance. So no matter where that photo goes in cyberland that person or site gets credit. Otherwise free game as far as I am concerned.

  59. Each pin on pinterest creates an image copy under a different file name and stores it under different url on pinterest servers. Pinning an image without permission by the copyright owner therefore is copyright infringement. If people would apply the TOS and etiquette of Pinterest they would not use it! Pinterest is not for commercial and only for personal use.

    Quotes from the TOS:”you represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms”

    “Subject to your compliance with the terms and conditions of these Terms, Cold Brew Labs grants you a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable license, without the right to sublicense, to access, view, download and print any Pinterest Content solely for your personal and non-commercial purposes. “

    1. Thanks for pointing this out Martin. I wanted to comment about copyright infringement, too.
      It may be annoying that tons of images are not credited correctly. For the copyright holders as well as for Pinterest users looking on the site for images to post on their blog. BUT as long as an image isn’t licensed with with a Creative Commons licens it remains copyright infringement when you post others’ images to your blog! So this discussion about crediting correctly misses the point.

  60. I only learned this week how to add a link to a pin. So I confess, I was pinning pictures with no link to the sources b/c I didn’t know how to. Hopefully your blog can inform others!

  61. So I am failing to see how Pinterest is at fault for bloggers not sourcing stuff, and perhaps lighten up since most of the women on Pinterest are not Pro bloggers and such, they are just pinning stuff they like. Not everyone on the Internet is a professional whatever the latest fad title. is.

  62. Just a few days ago, I found a very helpful tool to find the sources of many images: the scr img from google images, already tried Tineyed but it wasn’t very good finding the sources I needed.

    You can add it to your bookmarks bar, when you are on a page with images you want to track down, click on it, then click on the image you are interested and it finds best sources and similar images. I’ll leave you the link:

    After that, I edit the source from my repins.

    I hope you can find it useful!

  63. Yeah.. I’ve heard so much about Pinterest… I would really be glad to navigate that site. Thanks for sharing!

  64. First I want to say thank you for posting this. (I’ve posted it to my facebook.) It irritates me to all ends the lack of links to the actual ORIGINAL LOCATION of an image- whether it’s a room, a piece of art, a quote, or an item for sale. It’s astounding to see that some people are unable to comprehend why this is important.
    But that is not my point here.

    This is my point:

    The reason everyone should WANT to source and make sure all their pins have properly sourced links is because there may come a time when you or your child/friend/spouse/etc. may need that author or source.
    It could be the perfect widget for your best friends 50th birthday and when you click on the link to find out where to buy it you end up on someone’s tumblr site, with no words and no sources.
    It could be an amazing quote your daughter wants to use in her school paper but the link takes you to where the website behind the re-posted link was some blog that has closed up shop.
    It could be an delicious looking dessert you want to make for that luncheon with the girls from book club but when you click on the link to get the recipe it brings you to a blog front page and you have no idea what it’s called and there’s no search option in the blog.
    Or you could be looking for that perfect duvet/comforter set and coffee table set for your new home (like me) spending hours on various websites and in stores and then find it on pinterest… only to see that the link is USELESS.

    If your conscience does not guide you on pinterest because you use it as a scrapbook then maybe the above will move you, because the below will probably not. But there may come a day when someone dear to you, or even yourself creates something wonderful and dear to the heart which is exploited and perhaps then you will be thankful for the people who care about giving credit where credit is due and the copyright laws.
    **Anything* produced and documented (such as a photograph or written account of an item, image, performance) is automatically protected as a copyrighted object–everyone is more than welcome to look up the troubles Urban Outfitters and H&M faced/are facing when they stole the documented designs of artists (one a jewelry object, the other a saying “You look nice today.” and used them on their projects.)**
    Some items such as clothing are excluded, but the photographs of those items are not.

  65. Ha! I found your post by hunting down a pin of your kitchen – it kept taking me back to the image and not your blog. Thank you for watermarking everything!!! I would have never found your site and I love it already!

  66. I found your post as I was searching for blog information on how to properly write up a copyright content on my blog as recently I experienced an entire post of mine + my photos being used on another blog and it shook me up. I too have found my love affair with Pinterest waning. I tried to do a blog post recently about party inspirations and it took me an HOUR just to get the proper link back to a single photo I wanted to use (as I am so adamant about crediting bloggers photos on my blog). And there were 2 that I still cannot find the original source too (aka the pinned from google issue) and it drives me insane.

    I have slowed down my Pinterest use b/c of this. It would be one thing if the boards were private and we were using them for our own substitutions for a physical cork board with magazine tears but I find it so frustrating not to be able find original sources. I’ve tried to consciously stop re-pinning photos without an original source and sometimes the work involved in the click, click, clicking through the photos to find the original source, makes Pinterest really useless and time consuming to use. I won’t even get into how terrible their search engine is. You can find something one day and the next it doesn’t exist. I can’t even find my own pins on there even with proper search term descriptions and not “OMG must have it!”

    Thanks for a great write up!