Pinterest Pulls the Plug on Affiliates: What Now?

It’s been a month since Pinterest banned affiliate links from the site. The digital scrapbooking service delivered the news to its “power pinners” via email, according to VentureBeat. With more than 70 million users, it’s unclear how much brands, bloggers and affiliate marketers made in affiliate sales on the platform.

When Pinterest was in its infancy, there was talk of the company stripping pins of affiliate tracking codes. I never tested affiliate links on the platform to know if this was true. However, after chatting with blogger and Pinterest guru, Amiyrah Martin of Four Hats and Frugal, it was confirmed that pinners were able to insert affiliate links, but it was frowned upon. More so, there were still instances when pins could be stripped of affiliate links to avoid spam and abuse on the network.

This incident with Pinterest can serve as a lesson for bloggers to never depend heavily upon a platform that you don’t own or have control over for revenue. Pinterest and other social media networks should be used as a tool to direct fans and followers back to your website where more of your great content should be. It’s there you can convert them to loyal readers and email subscribers.

Remember that digital media is still new compared to other media sources and the game is changing everyday. Yes, it’s great to use your social media numbers as leverage when brokering deals with brands and agencies, but don’t neglect your virtual real estate while doing it. I know that brands tend to pay more on campaigns when you have huge fans and followings on social media, but what if Pinterest had decided to scrap the entire site instead of just banning affiliate links? Lucky for me and my pinned recipes, they didn’t.

In an article published by Recode, Pinterest will be adding a “buy” button to the platform in the next three to six months. So far there hasn’t been confirmation from Pinterest. However, although Pinterest stopped affiliate marketing on their site, they offered advice on how the site could be monetized. According to VentureBeat, users are encouraged to create original content for brands, curate sponsored boards and include pinning in social media marketing packages.

What do you think of this change? Can bloggers still make money on Pinterest or should it be taken as a loss and move on?