Oh Shut UP! You Know You Never Read the Pinterest TOS


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  1. Makes sense, but Pinterest stopped using affiliate links last week. I think their investors wanted them to stop making money, because that’s not how Silicon Valley works. ;-)

  2. Rae Hoffman-Dolan says:

    Brian – Yep, I linked to the SEL article above where they’d said they stopped using them (well, Skimlinks anyway)… it was dumb for them to allow themselves to be bullied like that. And this morning Shawn Collins noticed that they may have simply gone direct to the networks.

  3. Diane Kinney says:

    Great response. The sheer ridiculousness of Pinterest articles has been amazing. Like many other people, I’ve had an account for quite some time and it is a fantastic and refreshing place to be. The DRAMA and the OUTRAGE and the endless guides and repetitive articles to keep cranking those pageviews really seem be by the marketers for the marketers and not anyone who is a genuine user or has real interest.

    They gave me a free, cool, fun way to collect things. Yay for them. Charge me for a pro account or make some money with affiliates, I don’t care. Make a profit so you can stay around.

  4. Brian Clark says:

    Rae, that’s interesting if true. Last week, someone high up at Pinterest said they had “no idea” how they were going to make money, and didn’t care right now.

    I don’t mind that they’re making money with affiliate links, but they should have explicitly disclosed it (whether anyone reads the TOS or not, put it in there). And if they are flat out lying in their press spin, then that’s two strikes against trusting this company in my book.

  5. I’m a marketer and I use Pinterst for business and personal and I couldn’t agree with you more. All of this complaining is out of hand. No one reads the TOS on anything. They could ask you to sign over your first born and no one would notice but it wouldn’t stop them from crying wolf.

  6. Sunita Biddu says:

    Pinning stuff around is fun and I am already loving it. This outrage, free publicity just got them some more users out of curiosity. I second Diane, they reserve a right to make profits as long as they don’t screw up their user experience. I’d not mind getting a pro account…

  7. I thought Pinterest’s monetization method was super smart. Sure, it should have been disclosed and they know that now. That’s what Beta is for, right? To learn stuff. It looks like they’ve changed to no-follow links, which is a bummer.

    When all this outrage started I was surprised at the number of affiliate marketers that were complaining about it – I mean, hello, as marketers we put links wherever we can most of the time, so why shouldn’t Pinterest do the same thing? If I added a pin and linked to it with my own aff link they left it alone, so they obviously had no problem sharing in the wealth.

    They weren’t taking money out of my pocket or charging me for their service, so if my crazy random pinning of shoes and crafts in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep helped them to make a few dollars then I say that’s a win.

  8. Great article, Rae. I totally agree that Pinterest was smart in implementing affiliate links, and that I personally didn’t read their terms of service. They provide a great service and should be rewarded for such.

    As far as Shawn’s test with CJ links, I believe he used his own affiliate link to demonstrate how an image still gets pulled in from a redirected link. I don’t think Pinterest is changing Shawn’s PID to their own (yet anyway), therefore Shawn will get the affiliate credit.

  9. Pace Lattin says:

    I’m an addict, I admit it Rae…. My fiance is particularly happy that she can now show me photos of great shoes and bug me about them too.

  10. Sorry, but, I can’t be part of the Pinhead mania, but, I don’t read Good Housekeeping, either. Please don’t take offense to my comment~ I am sure there are sites I visit that you don’t have an interest in, either. More than the swapping of links, I find their system of data mining Facebook, if you use that account to sign-in with, to create auto-follows distasteful. If you think you have a lot of followers on Pinterest, chances are half of them are sleep-walking and don’t know they are following you.

  11. Baptiste Placé says:

    This is so right, I was really impressed by the early and smart monetization of Pinterest. Why all this rage when they provide a new service, that could go big as image sharing is getting more and more popular.
    If they move to standard ads, this is one more battle lost for affiliate marketing and for the users too.

  12. Better yet, create a paid model/subscription that lets US monetize our own pins.

  13. This is indicative of a cultural phenomena today, where people are hyper-critical of everything. The “movement” tries to fly under the guise that it is some kind of watchdog for the masses. Pointing out wrongs of others to ensure we are all better off, but to me it is just hypercritical finger pointing. It is real obvious in politics, but I have noticed it more and more seeping into all parts of our culture.

    A commenter on lostechies[dot]com called their logo racist. Sports writers jumping on any mistake made by athletes, politicians (bad example) roasting each other over the use of different pronouns, etc. Just out of control. It usually comes from one of two groups: competitors and people who do nothing but complain regardless of the environment.

    I agree that they should have put it on their TOS, but who is 100% mistake free? It would be so easy for any of us to rip apart anyone else’s endeavors. At some point the masses (me included) have to pull a Senator Flanders and attack these “watchdogs”.

  14. Alex from Sociallyfamous says:

    Interestingly, this is how I found out about Pinterest and Skimlinks. However, Skimlinks did not turn out to be a good money maker, at least on my sites

  15. Tommy Walker says:

    It’s unfortunate, because it’s the most “out of the box” thinking we’ve seen from a social network in long time.

    At least going the affiliate route there’s a more direct interest in improving the usability of the site, and keeping it “sticky” rather than getting more users to have more targeting profiles.

    I actually appreciate the more grassroots approach. Makes it more relevant in my mind.

  16. Jay Orban says:

    People always want something to complain about if they owned Pinterest which we all wish we did lol.

    We would do the same thing in terms of monetizing the site and probably an even more noticable monetization strategy.

    I think Pinterest hit the nail on the head, and I love the site by the way so way to go Pinterest.

    Too your future success.

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