Posted October 30, 2013 5:33 pm by with 44 comments

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I go to Pinterest for inspiration but skimming my personal feed rarely does the trick. Because everything in my feed comes from people I follow, it tends to be very predictable and repetitive. What I prefer to do is search for images from people I don’t follow. Sadly, Pinterest’s search engine isn’t very intuitive and it can be hard to find the right words to get the results I want.

In order to facilitate pin discovery, Pinterest is trying something new called “related pins.” These are images that come from people you don’t follow. And don’t confuse them with Sponsored Pins. Related pins are just randomly chosen images that Pinterest thinks you might enjoy.

related pins

 You’ll know it’s a related pin because it says so right at the bottom. If you click the information circle, you’ll learn more about why this pin is now in your feed and you have the option of giving it a thumbs up or down. The engine will then take your suggestion and either send you more or less of the same depending on which thumb you picked.

Here’s how Pinterest chooses related pins:

The related Pins that we pick for you are based on other things you already like or are interested in, including:

  • Pins you’ve added, liked or clicked on

  • Boards you follow

  • Sites you may have visited recently. (Learn more about how we use sites you visit to personalize your experience, and how you can turn this off you’re not interested.)

As always, the Pinterest announcement post is full of soft, calming language about how they’re going to start slow and how you can stop it anytime you want.

Personally, I love it. It’s great for both the viewers and the pinners because it’s a chance to connect with a member you might not have found on your own.

But of course, people are upset about the concept. The main complaint is that people carefully choose who to follow and they don’t want their feed clogged up with irrelevant images. Honestly, people, Pinterest is a social site. It wasn’t designed to be a bookmarking service. It’s about sharing and discovery. If you can’t tolerate a few images tossed into the mix – not even branded images, but images from average people who enjoy using the site – then perhaps you should use a different service.

My advice? Just try it. I think you’ll like it.

What do you think? Are related pins a good or bad idea?



  • Rescue Fantasy

    Actually, Pinterest wasn’t meant to be a social site. It says right on the website that “Pinterest is a tool for collecting and organizing things you love.” Another article asked people why they use Pinterest most often. The answers were: Get inspiration for careers or hobbies, store images of things they dream of having, keep their thoughts and ideas organized, and share their ideas with others. You can argue that sharing ideas with others is social, because it is, but it’s not the same as seeing related pins showing up when you didn’t ask for them. That’s not social, but it can be annoying to people.

    It doesn’t appear to be “a few images tossed into the mix” on my page; I have one related pin for every 2 or 3 pins that I actually WANT to see. That’s intrusive, and it does clutter the page. I could see saying that “perhaps you should use a different service” if you don’t like the related images, but the truth is that we didn’t sign up for that. We signed up for a service that we enjoyed, and that service changed the game. Nobody needs to be happy about that.

    • Samantha


  • 6 one way half a dozen another

    I have yet to see any of these “Related Pins” in my feed. But then i have several ad-blocking plug-ins installed on my computer, so perhaps these are viewed as ads rather than posts by the programming. However, if, as the other commentor states, “one related pin for every 2 or 3 pins that I actually WANT to see” is something of the norm, I may just deactivate my account (deleting accounts, of course, is never an option with Pinterest; once a member, *always* a member).

  • Smarter than Big ‘Ol Cynthia

    Hmm, how long have you worked for Pinterest? Yep.

  • Adam email

    I hate it – I don’t want/need/desire some random strangers inspirations appearing on my computer! I think it is rediculous. My page is now cluttered with all kinds of junk.

  • ian berry

    this article would be vastly improved if you explained how to turn this related pin feature off.

  • Not a happy pinner

    You must work for Pinterest with this ‘try it, you’ll like it’ rhetoric. It’s a HORRID feature. If I want to do exploring, I’ll do so. I don’t want my feed clogged up with other people’s poor taste, gross recipes and icky fashions. This feature is exhausting and I haven’t been checking my site at all as a result.

  • This is Stupid


  • Salix

    Sure it might be a great feature, but what’s the harm in giving us the option to turn it off if we don’t care for it?

  • Luv2pin

    Give me 2 feeds. One from people or companies I choose to follow. The other from things you think I might like. At the moment, I really want to know how to switch this ‘feature’ off.

  • K

    It was, in fact, created to be a digital way to collect items of interest. It was not primarily meant as a social site…. I’m actually quite good at utilizing the search function to find other pins of interest to me. For me, related pins are just clutter, and I utilize Pinterest to organize my digital world. The related pins makes it messier.

    Instead, they should restore the Home Feed, and they can create a new section–like their Popular, Gifts, and Videos sections–entitled Related Pins.

  • Cheryl

    I agree with another commenter, it’s not a social site. If I wanted that, I wouldn’t be on Pinterest.

    Also, it’s not a few images, it’s a lot of them and I haven’t seen one that I’m interested in. If I want variety, which I do most of the time, I go to one of the many options Pinterest has available (Everything, Popular, Gifts, etc.) and pin what I want. However, if I want to see my recent pins and those of people I’m following, I go to my home page. I don’t want it clogged with a bunch of stuff from other people.

    Two thumbs way down for related pins!

    • Samantha

      agreed. I probably have 1 related pin for every pin from people/boards that I actually CHOSE to follow.

  • Chantal

    I hate it. I’m not on Pinterest to socialise, I’m there to collect pictures of stuff I like and hope to own some day. I only follow one other board but I get bombarded with pins from people I don’t know at all. And now this? No thanks!

  • shark

    My feed is now filled with pins from people i’m not interested in. Ok it was not meant to be a social site but i found out the the site from an artist i like. And now i’m following other artists that inspire me. I’m there to not pin but to see through the minds of these people through what they share on this site. Please have a feature to turn this off. Keep this related pin on Everything section.

  • Pam M

    The only people who don’t want to turn these wretched things off are people who think they can make some money off them. Pinterest is NOT a social site. Pinterest has absolutely turned its back on its users on this issue. You are not allowed by Pinterest to choose whether or not to include these useless Related Pins on your board. The fact that they are so intractable leads me to believe that their next step will be placing advertising pins on everyone’s boards. Otherwise, why not allow us to choose. And shame on you for being so selfish and egotistical as to suggest that your view is the only one that matters.

  • bob

    what an awful feature. If we down vote, then they collect info on us. totally sucks. makes me think of giving up on pinterest.

  • Kat

    Cynthia – I take it you are not a successful business person or you would know that when a business starts off and finds their success, they should keep it, listen to their customers and grow with the input of what created their success. Telling the customer “We know you liked what we created but we are going to change it away from what made us successful and if you don’t like it, tough bananas.” People will leave Pinterest in droves so that you and your wish for social friends can have socialize. Pinterest’s motto on their site as it stands right now says “Pinterest is a tool for organizing and collecting things you love. You must work for Pinterest or must be receiving a check to spread the propaganda. 99% don’t like it but you and Pinterest have made it clear that is too bad. Someone brilliant will come along and start a site that is based off of what made Pinterest originally successful. That will be Pinterest’s loss and you can go socialize on their revamped site.

  • duskrayne

    It totally sucks. I don’t even use Pinterest now except to check and see if they have turned that crap off yet. It’s horrible and intrusive.

  • ceenoevil

    Hate, hate, hate Related Pins!! I feel like I thought I was dating a really great cute looking guy, that I was totally in love with, and he picked his nose during dinner!! Ugh, bad taste, Pinterest, bad taste!!!

  • Jags

    To begin with, Pinterest is a springboard site for people to gather ideas for whatever they do. The idea that it’s primarily a social site just means people are doing it wrong, probably for popularity and marketing. Who cares how many repins or likes you get? That’s not going to help you find the best packing method for a two-week trip, for instance. Horrible logic.

    The related pins feature needs an opt-out option for us naysayers. I don’t like pins spamming my feed when I want to see the pins of people I follow. I like it even less when I need to thumbs-down each of these blockages one by one whenever I log-in.

    If I want something specific I’ll search for it. I don’t need to deal with lazy spamming.

  • Jennifer Lane

    I don’t like the related pins feature at all. It just clutters up my feed with junk I don’t want from people I don’t know. I follow who I follow for a reason. Please come up with a way to opt out of this. It’s horrible!

  • Thyme

    I hate it. I’ve unfollowed people for over pinning crap. Now pinterest is doing the same thing. It’s not just a few pins.

  • Ren

    I absolutely despise related pins. None of them have been anything I would pin for myself, they are not “relatable” to me, and now my option to dislike the pin has gone away too.. The Pinterest help center said that changing our setting would stop the related pins.. They do not..

  • Aleks

    While this feature may understandably lead to further discoveries, I agree with the many who feel they should have the option to opt out. Even if there may be times I may opt to turn it on momentarily, there are times that it would be much more convenient and preferable to have it off. I can only imagine that there are many other pinners, such as myself, that do not have trouble finding tons of new pins from other pinners without this feature.
    Some pinners search for specific different types of things at specific different times and may not wish to see all of these various different types of pins on their home feed. While some or many of these related pins may be interesting to them, they may be based on so many different interests/boards/pins that the pinner has, therefore showing so many varying types of things at once when the pinner may prefer looking at only a particular kind of thing at a given time. Those who want to see the newest pins from only those they follow right in their home feed without having to take so much additional time to scroll through the many and varying ‘related’ pins should be able to do so.
    So, my overall opinion is not that it’s completely terrible and no one should be able to use it if they wish, but that it should be optional. If you like it, fine, you should be able to use it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone and that they should be forced to deal with it if they could just as easily be allowed to opt out. I don’t know how much of a difficulty it would be to make this into an optional thing, but if it’s not one, it seems a lot of people would be pleased to have it as such.

  • Carmen Pirahna

    If you get sick enough of the stupid related pins clogging up your home feed you can get a free account at Pin4Ever and make an exact copy of your Pinterest boards. The images are stored on the desktop on your computer but Pin4Ever has your Pin boards and pins as an exact copy. If I see too many more Related Pins, after deleting EVERY SINGLE ONE THAT HAS SHOWN UP IN MY FEED, I will delete my Pinterest boards and close my account. And no, I have no affiliation with Pin4Ever, but I did just sign up with them yesterday after a slew of new Related Pins showed up again, after a week break, in my home feed on Pinterest.

    I’ve complained to Pinterest on site and also on their Facebook blog. They are not listening. Out of 300 comments on the Facebook page, 2 people find the Related Pin feature acceptable. For better results you may want to go to their feedback on the site and leave your comments there: – scroll down to where it says “And if you have any ideas about how we can improve the related Pin feature, we’d love to hear them!” The last part is a link to leave a comment.

  • twila

    SOOO frustrated w/these randonm/related pins…I can’t find the pinners I so CAREFULLY selected to follow…LOL..I keep getting a related pin from a pinner I blocked cuz …she was sooo obnoxious….beyond belief…no to mention she has over 200,000 she needs promoting…while in the interm…i get all these NEW followers with NO pins or hasn’t been active since the beginning of pinterest….looks like i have a lot of followers..over 18,000…..what a laff..if you want to know how many followers you ACTUALLY have…start a new board…it will give you ACTUAL… followers…like I said..pinterest says I have 18,000 plus followers….yet when I start a NEW board…the pinners following me says….1,700 and a few…I’m averaging about 3 repins per pin…soooo frustrating..numbers are a joke..and very deceptive….NOT to mention that they have (pinterest) totally taken over my home feed…..guess I need to get a life..huh?

  • booo

    “a few images tossed into the mix”

    A few? I’ve thumbs downed at least 30 today alone. It’s a terrible feature for most people and it should at least be optional. I’ve never had an issue with their search feature – I’ve always found it to be good!

    Seriously, if it was branded at least it would make sense because we’d know Pinterest were at least generating revenue from it. Instead it’s just a ton of spam most of their users do not want.

  • Lucero

    HATE IT!!! It gives too many suggestions and most of them i don’t care about. It just floods my page.

  • ezra

    its simply bad

  • Elizabeth

    Except that Pinterest was designed to be a bookmarking site…The ‘social’ aspect didn’t come along until much later. Related pins are awful, and if someone enjoys seeing their feed filled up with them, they clearly don’t have very discerning taste.

  • Guest

    I am very picky about who I follow because I don’t want my feed overflowing with crap. These related pins are just that… CRAP. There currently is no way to “stop it when you want” unless you have hours to spend clicking the thumbs down.

  • Srsly

    Yeah, it’s about sharing and discovering with my FRIENDS, not random strangers. You know what else is a social site?


    But I don’t see my feed overrun with strangers, just the people I actually know and care about, and the occasional promoted ad. There is currently more pins on my feed from one person that I don’t know than from all the people I do know – possibly because they, like me, aren’t using it for anything but transferring pins.

    Why bother following people if I can’t even see them amongst all the people I could care less about.

    Other non-pinterest like sites have a similar related feature…but you access those related links by clicking on the button. They aren’t just forced upon you. Pinterest’s implementation is intrusive and inelegant at BEST. My Pinterest is all recipes and party ideas, and I’m getting religious pins in my feed. I didn’t go on Pinterest to find God!

    (Unless he has a fabulous cupcake recipe.)

    • Srsly

      Transferring pins to another pinning site, I mean…unfortunately Pinterest has shoved the rest out before morphing into something the majority of us clearly do not want. Basically, there is no alternative…but people aren’t going to stick to Pinterest when it doesn’t even meet our needs anymore. May as well stick to old fashioned bookmarks. Pinning is dead.

  • Skidmark

    I hate it, I will be deleting my account soon if I can’t turn this crap off!

  • Laura Jackerson

    Hate it! I want to like, pin, search my own. I spend more time deleting them than I do searching….. I have not pinned anything new because it only adds MORE of THEIR CHOICES. Get off my page

  • Gillie

    I HATE it. I am very selective about whom I follow. I don’t want random crap

  • If I could opt out of having some of my boards be sourced for related pins, I’d be fine with it. Example: I have a small board for my second wedding which was almost 2 years ago. Now my home feed is overrun with the biggest frothiest wedding gowns you could imagine and every bride-in-cowboy-boots picture ever taken. Their algorithm isn’t good enough to understand that the *style* of wedding pins they deliver is nowhere near the *style* of wedding stuff I pinned (simple white knee-length shift dresses, modest rings, small hair clips) I’d love to opt my wedding board out of that without deleting my board.

  • mary

    You cannot opt out of this related pins thing, but the really disturbing part is that there are only two options for this in your settings on pinterest, One is to allow related pins from your pinterest activity, the other is to allow related pins from other sites and your pinterest activity.

    This of course means that pinterest is setting tracking cookies on your puter to track you across the web and see what you are looking at to allow sites to pin on your board in related pins.

    The next time you shop some store on the web it may very well be pinning on your board .

    This is an invasion that I cannot live with , I am closing my pinterest account . I loved the site , loved having my friends share it with me . They have spoiled it . I am done. There will be other sites like it or may even be now that are not doing this .

  • annoyed

    I have 27 related pins on my home feed this morning. That is obviously way past the point of “a few images tossed in the mix”. totally unacceptable. Agreed only a person connected to Pinterest somehow would think this is a good idea.

  • lotatao

    Please tell us how to turn off or at the very least DELETE the related pins so they don’t show in our feed of things we DID choose? I can’t even send people my boards anymore because of the related pins, (that have NOTHING to do with what i like), cluttering up everything. When Pinterest lets us opt out of the SPAM that is related pins, I will go back to using it.

  • Sally

    If the related pin option is not changed back to the way it was I will be leaving pinterest for good. I loved pinterest for so many reasons and used it daily. I will not do something daily now if its just frusterating me every time…good bye pinterest your were great but now you are terrible. So sad to go…but no option at this point.

  • kk rousseau

    It’s awful. Pinterest is ruined. Thanks for the report.

  • kb

    I find it to be extremely irritating/annoying and as soon as I figure how to disable it, I will. hate it.