Pinterest chooses not to let users block spammers, encouraging users to report the spammers to them instead. Talk about making a rod for your own back!
I never know whether to be amused or irritated when I see new social networks repeat old errors. In Pinterest’s case, they refuse to give users tools to manage their own networks.

Background

Spammers can  tag you in Pins, meaning you get an email each time “Weight loss- how I lost 20lbs” or “Viagra special offer!!” over and over and over. Oh Joy. Oh Bliss. You can’t filter or block spammers, only send an email to Customer Service.

Impact – Customer Service

Customer Service will be INUNDATED. Instead of an automated message telling users how to block ex friends they have had an argument with, members that are trolling them or spammers selling them stuff, Customer Service has to deal with each request. How many staff do you need for 10.4 million members who see something they don’t like?

Impact: Loss of membership

I’m debating a) removing all email notification (not good) or b) deleting my Pinterest account (worse). For a network 80% women, to not be able to block abusive, intrusive or spammy messages is a massive oversight. Forcing users to turn off email to remove inappropriate communications will lose Pinterest an important distribution channel (no emails means less and less reason to come back to Pinterest). And when women delete social networking accounts they attempt to incite others to do so as well. Never a good thing to build an anti community as you build the Pinterest community.

Impact: Legal

This lack of social management tools is a lawsuit in the making. There just needs to be ONE harassment situation where Customer Service fails to respond (the “report this user” link on email is broken) and the Judge will cite Facebook & Twitter ability to block users as a tool to remove unwanted members from contacting you & Pinterest will face as big a risk as the copyright battles.

Conclusion

Helping members feel safe is Online Community Management 101 & apropos Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, functionally imperative.

NOT to include member to member management tools is costly in staff, time, risk, and loss of members. Add a damn Block button already! Sheesh

PS This is the kind of basic error that happens when too many geeky boys create a social network based around tech & don’t let the humanities/social psych peeps have a say. Typical of Google too …