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Pinterest: Undocumented Limitations on Following and Commenting (and a Feature Wish List)

Any start-up that’s growing at warp speed is bound to hit some potholes and speed bumps along the way. Pinterest is no different:  the social network was highly unstable in December and January and lost its search box for a while at the end of last month. But fans of the fast-growing virtual pin board are quick to forgive these issues, trusting that the young company, which raised a $27 million round last October, is working hard to increase capacity and stabilize its servers.

A small number of Pinterest power users are testing the limits of what Pinterest is able to do. And they are bumping into unexpected–and undocumented–limitations and rules.

Undocumented Limitations

  • Follow Limit:  Staffing agency and Pinterest power user PediaStaff has built a successful community on Pinterest, and was following back new followers.  But when the following count hit 8,300 (against 8,600 followers), the company was no longer able to follow new users, according to PediaStaff’s Heidi Kay.  After several requests for help, a Pinterest engineer reset the following count so that PediaStaff could start following people again–but Heidi does not know if there’s a new limit or what the parameters are moving forward.  I checked a number of other large Pinterest users, but none of them were following large numbers of people, so I was not able to confirm if anyone else had run into this.
  • Commenting Limits:   PediaStaff’s Heidi Kay has also run into a limit on the volume of commenting that’s allowed by the site within a given time period.   She actively encourages conversation and discussion among her followers, and fields about 10 comments a day.  But she has found that she can’t respond to them all at the same time:  after posting about 6 comments, the site prevents her from posting additional comments.  There’s no notification or explanation, and after about 3 hours she is able to comment again.

There is no information about either issue in the Pinterest site Help section or other documentation.

Heidi and other users have also reported an apparent bug with the sites ability to search boards.  The default keyword search turns up individual Pins, but there is an option to search People or Boards.  If you select Boards or People, the site finds two boards or user accounts…and then hangs.

The biggest frustration for users like Heidi Kay and others have is the lack of communication from the company.  Email messages requesting support go unanswered.  The company has  still not commented on the widely-reported news that it was adding affiliate links to its users Pins.  The Pinterest blog hasn’t been updated since January 18, and the Pinterest Twitter account has sent only 5 tweets this year.

Super users and other Pinterest fans would love to help the company improve its offerings. “We’re doing cutting-edge things, and Pinterest should be listening to our ideas,” says PediaStaff’s Heidi Kay.   She and other users have shared a list of features that they would love to see Pinterest add to its service.

Here’s the Pinterest Superuser’s Wish List:

  1. Analytics, analytics, analytics
  2. RSS feeds for specific Boards
  3. Better Follow management, such as the ability to search boards that are being followed by keyword
  4. Messaging (the site used to have the ability to message individual users, but that is no longer available)
  5. Board management, including features to let users
    1. Create private or by-invitation-only boards
    2. Work on a board before publishing it
    3. Organize pins within a single board
    4. Move multiple pins to a new board at one time
    5. Sort or search boards by tag
  6. The ability to block certain users (such as competitors who are poaching your pins!)

What’s your Pinterest wish list?  Have you run into any additional limitations or problems?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/A2JC4life Rachel Bentley Ramey

    Well, I just hit a following limit, but I’m not sure what it is.

    I did a search for gluten-free food boards, and tried to go through and follow them all. About 2/3 of the way through, I got a message that my following rate was too high and to “slow down.” I don’t know if I followed too many in too short a period of time, or too many relative to the number of people following me.

    I’m definitely not a huge user like the accounts you described above. With the new boards I followed tonight, I am now following 510, with 369 followers.

  • http://dianapappas.wordpress.com/ Diana Pappas

    Was just told that I’m “commenting too quickly” and now they think I am spamming. I find this completely baffling as I had only written two comments! Now I have to wait 3 hours to comment again? They’ve got to be able to do better than this.

    • http://therealtimereport.com/ Tonia Ries

      oh, geez – I can’t believe these issues are still happening, @openid-163456:disqus. Do you have any updates as far as an explanation from them? Did your commenting ability get turned back on? Thanks for sharing!

    • EternityShaina

      Oh my goodness I thought I was the only one! I too can not stand this. I just tried commenting on my mother’s pin and they say I’m commenting too quickly. I thought that this was a “social’ networking site? Let users block people if they don’t like whoever’s comments. Im not spamming my mom!!!

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