In an interview with The Daily Dot, a self-described 24-year-old man by the name of Steve details his devious bot-powered spam business that litters Pinterest with recommendations for things like dresses and boots from bogus accounts, and reaps thousands of dollars a day in Amazon affiliate payments. Last week, Total Pinterest exposed Steve's spam network, which is powerful enough to elevate pins to the site's "popular" tab with hundreds of recommendations and thousands of repins from fake Pinterest users — most of which were discovered by their lack of a profile photo and links to empty Twitter accounts. Steve makes no attempt to screen his behavior, telling The Daily Dot that "it's spam, no other way of putting it," and that "if you've ever heard of one of those spammy looking Facebook apps, I was one of the ones doing that."
Why use your fancy aviation degrees when you can make more money spamming people with dresses and boots from your living room?
Steve says that he has no real "nine to five job," and that his single source of income is online earnings — despite claiming to have three associate degrees in aviation and an FCC license. But it's not surprising that he's eschewing a traditional means of making a living, since he says that for the past two weeks he's made over $1,000 a day, and expects to earn between $2,000 and $2,500 a day by next week. With Steve's Pinterest success now open for the world to see, it's possible that the popular network will need to ramp up efforts to crack down on spam — Steve says that it's "by far the easiest social network to spam right now," and "quite possibly the easiest ever to spam."
But Steve tempers his tale of riches with some reality: he says that "there are no guarantees in this business," and that it's "not a matter of if, but when" it will come crashing down. He's also quite matter-of-fact concerning the ethical implications of his behavior, saying plainly that "I have no guilt" and that "I'm not trying to scam anyone, or upload viruses to their computer or anything like that." He admits to "spamming the crap out of the site," but stresses that "it's nothing personal, just business." In his mind, he's even providing a valuable service by helping people discover products they might not have heard of otherwise — through friends like "Rachel Rauchwerger" and "Sandra Stolley." But you can just call them Steve.