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(UPDATE) Pinterest drops imgur support amid opening registration

UPDATE: Great news, this was all actually a long-lasting (week?) bug. I received an official report from support that they "regret" having blocked imgur.

Why would Pinterest suddenly block imgur, one of the largest image hosting sites in the world (with 32 MILLION views in the last month)? It would appear that Pinterest, who hosts copies of digital files on their own server, will be honoring all previous imgur content, but has gotten spooked and doesn't want to take the risk any more. And this seems to be happening rather quietly.

Error when you try to repin imgur pinHow permanent are Pinterest photos anyway? I did a test to confirm that Pinterest content is in fact indexed by Google. What the hell is mygoogleplus.com? I digress.

I found it interesting that Pinterest chose to take the step of hosting images themselves (much like Google images), which is a little risky. However, they know that if their users' content started disappearing, they might be annoyed.

What this means, however, is that should anyone search pinterest.com for something (like "pile o kittens") and they find something cute, they may not even be able to repin it currently.

I contacted imgur and got this reply from Sarah Schaaf: "Pinterest blocked pins from us.They've done this to differentiate themselves from other image sharing communities, as far as I can tell. There has been no correspondence from them or any mention at all to anyone as to why they've done that."

So this creates an observable break in the cohesion between these two social tools. How this will impact both services remains to be seen, and although imgur is the backbone of Reddit content, I don't know how much traffic Pinterest gets from Reddit. Regardless, as people begin to personalize their various content collections around the web that use third party content sources, they risk it disappearing entirely or in this case, becoming less useful to themselves and their circles.

My recommendation is to consider imgur.com for browsing only, not storage. Download and re-upload pins direclty from your computer (in addition to commenting, etc) as opposed to "finding" remote content to re-host, which is exposed to permanency and usability risks.

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