Social Media Giants Pinterest are renowned for their anti-affiliate stance. Even following a cash injection from parent company Rakuten – who own the Linkshare affiliate network – Pinterest does not seem likely to change their tack.
Pinterest has removed Amazon affiliate links, blocked certain tracking URLs including Google Analytics UTM codes, and even declared Linkshare tracking links as spam. Despite this, it is still possible for a business to use Pinterest legitimately, although increasingly companies are looking elsewhere for a way to build a business around making it easy for people to share photos of their interests.
One of the pretenders to Pinterest’s throne is Fancy.com – a ‘style curation’ website. Established in 2009, it allows users to add things you like to the site and ‘fancy’ the posts of other people. Where Fancy differs from Pinterest is that they provide a sales outlet for each of the products. A recent addition to Fancy allows users to add referrals to their post, which means any product shared with friends has the potential to earn you a bit of commission. Whilst this isn’t the full on affiliate linking some are after, it is certainly a better option that Pinterest’s zero tolerance approach.
Pinterest did have a brief foray into the affiliate market when they teamed up with Skimlinks earlier in the year, but they soon pulled the links following somr angry feedback from some of their users. Pinterest could also be decribed as an aspirational website, as many people pin items they will likely not have the means to buy.
Another startup competitor is Wantering.com, a fashion focussed site working on a similar concept to both Pinterest and Fancy. At the moment, they don’t appear to be using affiliate links, but this would appear to be an obvious and easy to implement business model.
The future of affiliate marketing for Pinterest and other photo sharing websites remains unclear, but they will be sure to try to monetise their significant standing in the social media market.