If you’re a blogger or an e-commerce store owner, then I’m pretty sure you’re on Pinterest. And if you’re not then you really ought to be. Because Pinterest is the easiest and fastest way to get traffic to your site without any technical SEO strategies, expensive ad campaigns on facebook, or other time consuming marketing activities.
Pinterest traffic was the sole reason this very site managed to be profitable within it’s first year!
But that doesn’t mean it is not without its flaws, because…
Pinterest blocked me without warning, for no reason!
Everything was fine and the next thing I know I find an email in my inbox saying they blocked me. In fact, they continued to send me the same email saying they blocked me 12 times. (Talk about rubbing salt on the wound, straight up savage!)
I clicked the link to appeal the decision.
But after 2 days of no reply. I started getting worried.
I Googled “Pinterest blocked my site” and found a handful of blogs recounting their experience, and the results were mixed. Some managed to get their site unblocked after a week or two and some unfortunately, didn’t get their site unblocked.
So I made a few more messages and on the 4th day, I got an email saying Pinterest made a mistake and my site is unblocked.
This seems to be unusually fast compared to what I read online, which is why I’m writing this guide. If your account or site has been blocked, then this guide could help you get it back faster than average.
Step 1: Understand what exactly is the situation
This step sounds obvious, but it actually isn’t. Pinterest can block an account, a site or a pin. Pinterest also
You need to know what your exact situation is before you start appealing their decision. Otherwise your message won’t be effective and it might drag out the time it takes for Pinterest to unblock you.
This is how you know what you’re dealing with
Read the email Pinterest sends you. When Pinterest blocks you, they will notify you by email and in that message they will say:
- What they blocked (your account, your site or a pin)
- Why they blocked you
The most common blocking mistake Pinterest makes is blocking sites for SPAM, which was my situation. This means my account was still live, but all of my pins that linked back to my associated site was blocked.
A.K.A all my Pinterest traffic was gone overnight.
Step 2: Make an appeal
The email Pinterest sends you will include a link to make an appeal. When you click it, it will direct you to the right appeal page for your situation and you can simply fill out the form asking them what you can do to reverse the decision.
Here is my first message:
Step 3: Give them some time to reply
Don’t go hysterical and send them
Step 4: Follow up
Give it 2 days, if they don’t reply after 2 days then you can send a follow up by using their appeal form again.
…because it’s actually the only form of communication with Pinterest there is. I didn’t actually know it was so difficult to reach Pinterest before this experience and I have to admit it leaves a bad impression for me.
But anyway, here is how you find the appeal form on the site. (It’s a bit of a journey)
Once you sign-in, you can access the help centre by clicking on the drop down menu in the top right corner. And then clicking “help”.
Then you need to scroll all the way to the bottom and click the “send us a note” button to find the step-by-step form.
Here is my follow up message I sent to Pinterest 2 days after the first one.
Step 5: Contact Tailwind app
I was frustrated that the only way to contact Pinterest was to use the form, and so the next best thing I could think of was to message Tailwind app.
I’ve been using Tailwind app to schedule my pins for over a year now and I figured, if I’m not actually spamming Pinterest and I only use Tailwind app to pin, then maybe this is Tailwind app’s fault.
Makes sense, right?
So I went to my Tailwind app dashboard and started a conversation asking if they can provide any guidance. Here’s the conversation.
Now, was it necessary to ask about cancelling my account with Tailwind app and asking questions about getting money back?
Maybe not, but I just wanted to let Tailwind app know that this block ultimately means I no longer need their service if the decision isn’t reviewed or reversed.
Nothing rude or aggressive. Just a casual, friendly way of saying “hey, Pinterest just made you lose a customer…potentially”
Step 6: Wait for Pinterest to unblock you
After sending the message to Tailwind app, they replied the next day that was awfully formal and procedural.
However, moments later I get an email from Pinterest saying they unblocked me.
I don’t know 100% if the two are related, and I will never be able to confirm it. But this is exactly what I did and it not only worked, but it was fast.
Timeline of events
- 6th – Pinterest blocks me and spams my inbox to notify me
- 6th – I use the link within the notice to make an appeal
- 6th – I get an automated email from Pinterest saying they received my message
- 8th – I send another appeal message through the help centre
- 8th – I start a conversation through my Tailwind app dashboard
- 8th – I get an automated email from Pinterest saying they received my message
- 9th – Tailwind app replies back
- 9th – Pinterest emails me that they took my site off the block list
What have I learnt about Pinterest?
I didn’t think too much of Pinterest before this happened. I simply scheduled my Pins once a week with Tailwind app and then that was that.
But after this experience, it really showed me a few things to be aware of with Pinterest.
First of, there really is no form of convenient communication with Pinterest. You’re at the mercy of that form, which they make you look for.
Secondly, Pinterest is obviously blocking sites using
Lastly, during my search for more information, I found the criteria for blocking rather subjective. Pinterest defines SPAM as:
Misleading pins means the image or description of the pin does not correlate with the link destination you are redirected to when you click it.
At first I thought that was pretty obvious to understand.
If I make a pin about 5 vegetarian recipes then the link the pin is connected to should be a link to a page with 5 vegetarian recipes.
But then, my site got blocked and I was beginning to wonder if I was actually spamming. I went over my pins and found a few a little questionable when I thought about it more.
Take this pin for example:
I made this pin for a post about Kindle publishing. To be exact, the post was about how much time you would need to reach certain popular levels of income per month, and that to achieve some of the higher numbers, you wouldn’t be making passive income, but just having another job you hate. (You can read it here if you’re interested)
The pin makes sense when I explain it like that, but does it make sense to others? My pin didn’t mention kindle publishing or passive income. Is this pin misleading?
I still don’t know, because technically anyone can report anything.
And then the other form of SPAM is repetitive posts.
How often must you pin a pin to be repetitive? I don’t know, because nowhere on the Pinterest site does it say an exact amount. Which makes your job of following the rules that much harder.
(Just fyi, I would schedule pins one week in advance with Tailwind app. I don’t schedule all of my pins every week, so on average I would be pinning a pin every week or
Do I still think Pinterest is worth your time?
Yes, despite all of this. I still think Pinterest is the best place for new site owners to generate quick, cheap and easy traffic.
Pinterest is still unsaturated and the way the whole platform works with boards and pins, means you don’t need to be famous, have a big marketing budget or slave away for hours collecting backlinks to get traffic.
However, saying that. I would put a disclaimer to my Pinterest traffic advice and tell people to make sure you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket.
I saw a 30% traffic drop within 24 hours after being blocked, and I’m still trying to recover to my normal levels. If Pinterest accounted for 50% of my traffic, or even 100% of my traffic, then this experience would have effectively killed my site.
Thankfully my traffic is spread out, but I know some people like to stick to one thing because it works and just focus all their energy on one thing. A.K.A putting all their eggs in one basket.
Don’t do that, especially for internet traffic.
My tips on how to avoid being blocked for SPAM in the first place
Use Tailwind app
I used Tailwind app for the bare minimum of scheduling pins in advance so I didn’t have to pin all day, everyday.
But Tailwind app actually has a lot of features I should have used from day 1, which I definitely use now.
One of these features is called “Smartloop” where you can schedule pins to be repined according to a schedule. This means there’s no worry of being too repetitive, because the default schedule Tailwind app provides is going to be the closest thing to a firm answer of what Pinterest allows.
Why do I say that, because
Tailwind app works with Pinterest directly to create their features and they write a lot of useful tutorials that I use to ignore (but I will never ignore from now on).