If you were an affiliate marketer using Pinterest, you recently got some bad news.
The social media site just instituted a complete ban on affiliate marketing. That means any affiliate marketer using the social Pinning site has probably had all those links removed by now.
A report from Venture Beat notes that while Pinterest affiliate links have been removed, the Pins to which they were attached remain.
In an email sent to power Pinners that were using the site for affiliate marketing, Pinterest said they’d need to monetize their work on the site in another way.
Venture Beat notes the timing of this announcement, the directives given to those power Pinners, and new initiatives launched by Pinterest to monetize the budding social site on its own.
Pinterest has been stepping up its Promoted Pins program, including the increased presence of these pins on users’ home feeds. These paid Pins had previous appeared on search results and other areas of the site.
Pinterest also tried its own affiliate network and has tinkered with a Buy button so visitors can purchase products directly from a Pin they see. Despite the timing of banning Pinterest affiliate links and its own efforts to monetize the social site, Pinterest says there is no connection.
A spokesperson from the site told Venture Beat that the move was done in the interest of the user experience.
Affiliate marketing expert Geno Prussakov says that those who had been using Pinterest for this purpose should have been preparing for this ban all along. On his Affiliate Marketing Blog, Prussakov writes:
“Quite a number of affiliate marketers are actively using social media for dissemination of their marketing message(s). If you are one of them, you should understand (and appreciate) that third-party online properties — or those of them that owe their success to agility and strategic genius — will never stay inert. Rules will change. Terms of Service will get tweaked to adapt to the external changes, challenges, and opportunities. It’s always going to be about what works best for them (not for those who seek to use their platform as a monetization venue). So, be it Twitter or Facebook, Pinterest or any other third-party property, be ready for an overnight change.”
Chief among the lessons Prussakov says marketers should take from Pinterest’s decision is that building a business model around a site other than your own is never a good idea.
Another lesson is that focusing on one site is not recommended, he adds. It’s important for affiliate marketers to diversify the sites on which they operate, Prussakov says. So if sites other than Pinterest limit your abilities in the future, it’s not the end of the world.
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