Etsy sellers have second thoughts about Pinterest

Sellers were overjoyed when Etsy announced a "Pin It" button. But now some members of the handmade marketplace want it to be an opt-in feature. 


Lauren Rae Orsini

Internet Culture

Published Feb 28, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 8:49 pm CDT

When Etsy added a Pinterest “Pin It” button to every listing on the site last month, the handmade marketplace was overjoyed.

However, some sellers are now having second thoughts.

As Pinterest has grown more popular and questions of its legality have been publicized, an Etsy forum thread has sparked discussion about whether the “Pin It” button should be optional, based on the seller’s personal preference.

“There is nothing on Etsy that prevents anyone from ‘pinning’ your images onto Pinterest, whether you want your images there or not,” wrote Mary, the original poster.

The “Pin It” button was first revealed early in January. Etsy staff writer sean11 wrote on the official blog that community members could use it to pin other people’s work to Pinterest but should refrain from pinning their own items.

“Like Etsy’s Treasury, Pinterest is a place for curating and sharing things you love, and is not intended for self-promotion,” he wrote.


In the comment thread, the community was thrilled. However, several sellers remarked that they were just getting into Pinterest and weren’t familiar with it yet.

Now a month later, Etsians have become much more adept at pinning. And now, they’re wondering whether a “Pin It” button is truly in their best interests. Mary, the seller behind SEOWebDesign, suggested Etsy follow in the footsteps of Flickr, which recently left the Pinterest dilemma up to its community members.

“You can add a piece of code to the pages of your own web site to keep your images from getting pinned but that does not cover all the original work on venues like Etsy,” she wrote. “Flickr has already added the ‘do not pin’ code to their private collections and other web sites will be doing the same soon.”

Mary soon found supporters among her fellow sellers, such as Sarah Constantino of sewZinski.

“I would love for Etsy to give the option. It would allow for more control over our own content and pinners a quick way to find out if the person is cool with Pinterest or not,” Constantino wrote.

Seller Dea Shelton of BlackberryDesigns went a step further and suggested that Pinterest’s Terms of Use allow social network to profit off of Etsy product photos.

“I am an accountant married to an attorney, and we both feel Pinterest has the verbage in their TOU’s, and it all leads to intent. Yes, they do intend to use your images to turn a profit, or the verbage wouldn’t be in the TOU’s,” she wrote.

The discussion was enough to make at least one seller, Beth McLarnan of ThreeTrees, delete her Pinterest account entirely.

“I just deleted my account yesterday, I was pinning like a crazy person and had no idea that Pinterest (or anyone else I guess) could use images I posted for their own gain,” she wrote.

Flickr allowed its community to opt out of pinning after a request from one community member. Perhaps Etsy staff members, who regularly moderate the forums, will discover this post and follow suit.

Photo by dps

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*First Published: Feb 28, 2012, 12:39 pm CST