Posted: March 16, 2015, 10:05 a.m.
by Sarah Parker.
Pinterest just got a lot more exclusive. The avid bloggers’ favorite website announced last week that it is banning affiliate links, the embedded links that take Pinterest users to the sites that sell the featured item. For example, if you saw a picture of a great pair of shoes that you wanted to buy, you could click the picture, and it would take you to the shoe vendor’s website. Super convenient, right?
“We are removing affiliate links to ensure we’re providing the best possible experience for Pinners. Recently, we observed affiliate links and redirects causing irrelevant Pins in feeds, broken links and other spammy behavior,” a Pinterest brand manager told VentureBeat. “We believe this change will enable us to keep the high bar of relevancy and quality Pinners expect from Pinterest.”
This is bad news for many of the bloggers who earned significant revenue every time someone clicked one of their affiliated links. But according to PR Daily, Pinterest was already automatically removing links that weren’t functioning properly. That being said, completely banning the links was a game changer.
Pinterest also made a big move when it launched its own “native advertising” service that promoted pins to users last May. These platform ads cost between $1-2 million, and companies like Gap Inc. and Kraft were some of the first to sign on. Pinterest also recently partnered with the Apple store to create ‘App Pins.’ Basically, Apple will pin apps to its boards and use this feature to highlight top apps.
These moves seem to be part of Pinterest’s larger goal of becoming an alternative search engine — a one-stop shop for searching, sharing and buying. With in-site advertisements and no more affiliate links, the company is controlling the way users access their desired content, and capitalizing on that. Re/Code also reported that Pinterest is considering a ‘buy’ button, which would truly make the platform a one-stop shop for buying products.
Pinterest has a lot of potential because of its visual core. The platform is appealing because users are attracted by sight first, then they click through based on what they like. They aren’t deterred by cost because they aren’t seeing a price tag. Furthermore, companies can easily target users because Pinterest boards form a road map to their target market.
It will be interesting to see where Pinterest goes from here, and if banning affiliate links will have a significant effect on how bloggers share their content.