Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Pinterest is adding it's own affiliate code behind some product pins

Steve Garfield / Pinterest
Image: My page on Pinterest.

Pinterest is adding it's own affiliate code behind some product pins when they don't already have affiliate codes.

We agreed to it.

Pinterest Terms, Member Content:
Member Content
We may, in our sole discretion, permit Members to post, upload, publish, submit or transmit Member Content. By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services. Cold Brew Labs does not claim any ownership rights in any such Member Content and nothing in these Terms will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any such Member Content.

More: Skimlinks.

via Josh Davis at [ LLsocial ]

Update from Alicia Navarro, Skimlinks’ CEO and Co-Founder:

It’s not a secret. We do monetize social discovery, and it’s great.
There have been a few articles popping up discussing Pinterest’s use of Skimlinks, so we wanted to dive in and talk about what they are doing, as it’s not a secret or sneaky or covert, but a very popular, mainstream, and valuable approach to content monetization.

First off, Pinterest’s use of Skimlinks technology is nothing new, nor is it secretive. Skimlinks has been around for almost 4 years now, we are established and relatively well-known, and a large proportion of our customers are blogs, forums and social discovery sites. Pinterest and many other social discovery sites have been working with us for a long time, and although they are fabulously popular now, we like to think we helped them get the revenues and insights that helped them grow.

Update Karen Garcia explains how affiliate linking works on Pinterest:

As soon as a pin is posted you can edit the link on your pin to your affiliate link, HOWEVER if anyone repins your pin between the time you post it and the time you edit it, the link on the repin will remain the original link (and you won’t get paid for sales through it).

This is where the Skimlinks affiliate link comes into play. Links that are not affiliate links on Pinterest and are directed to a merchant website (and they have an affiliate program, that skimlinks is approved for, etc) are replaced with Skimlinks affiliate link when the user clicks through
Her explanation is a comment on Joel Garcia's post, What Affiliates and Merchants Should Know About Pinterest Links from January 20, 2012.


Now the false accusation that Pinterest swaps out existing affiliate links is spreading. Oh my. Make it stop.

Has Pinterest been pulling a switcheroo with some links? - The Washington Post
Image: Has Pinterest been pulling a switcheroo with some links?

No. They haven't. This is lazy reporting. There is no evidence of Pinterest swapping out existing affiliate links. The Washington Post is syndicating a post from The Verge, and to their credit, they change the headline into a question, but they still leave in the false accusation.


The Next Web's Matthew Panzarino writes: Pinterest does disclose it modifies links, and we shouldn’t blame it for making money
When I briefly spoke to Alicia Navarro, CEO of Skimlinks, she said that the ‘out of the box’ functionality of Skimlinks does not overwrite existing affiliate links. This appears to jibe with the way that Pinterest currently operates.


  1. bonjour et bienvenu a toute et a tous

  2. Thanks for finding this out Steve and sharing it.

    I thought it seemed odd that they would do something like this without disclosing it and that was really the only problem I had with it since they've got to make money somehow.

    As usual, you are the helpful voice of reason in the sea of screaming on the Internet.

  3. You know what I say, "Seek First to Understand."

    I'm sure Pinterest will come out and explain their policy more clearly now. I'd also like to see them address adding revenue sharing.

  4. Would be helpful for Pinterest itself to step in and explain what they are doing (and what they are not doing) in much clearer language than the ToS lays out. I'm not saying it's wrong- in fact I have no problem with the policy- but they would do themselves a huge service by communicating- at all. I haven't seen anything yet (so anyone who has please correct me).

    And it's actually interesting what Karen says. If I read correctly, affiliate marketers need to do a little manual work to get their affiliate links on their pins- and if someone repins, their affiliate link disappears (allowing Pinterest/Skimlinks to take over from there). I can see that torquing off some folks, but again, may well be fair play. But again again, Pinterest should speak up and set everyone straight.

  5. @Doug I have not seen anything yet from Pinterest.

    You've got the affiliate link sequence a little wrong. If someone repines something that has an affiliate link, the affiliate link remains and is not replaced.

    If the post being re pinned does not have an affiliate link, Skimlinks adds a Pinterest affiliate link.

    Would be nice if Pinterest came in and clearly explained what they are doing instead of making us try and figure out all the use cases.


  6. @Steve Garfield, well clarified. Wish it was reported like that in the first place on the web.