Pinterest Eliminates Affiliate Links

February 23, 2015

Many bloggers are in an uproar over Pinterest’s announcement to shut down affiliate networks.  Pinterest’s decision to remove all affiliate links correlates with the platform’s ultimate goal– to gain control over the e-commerce generated through pins.  But what exactly does this mean and how will it affect your company? Allow us to explain…
What are affiliate links?
An affiliate link is a set URL that includes an affiliate username. Affiliate links allow advertisers to track the amount of traffic and purchases that each URL generates. Any referred sales that result from these links will reward the link “owner” with a commission. The amount of commission is based on the affiliate program and the number of sales generated.
How does this affect your site?
The obvious answer: if you already have an affiliate program set up within Pinterest than it will be completely shut down.  This means that retailers are no longer able to generate e-commerce through Pinterest and bloggers’ business models will cease to exist entirely.
Why did Pinterest make this drastic decision?
According to Digiday, “Pinterest is trying to shut off affiliate networks in order to obtain more control over how commerce is conducted on its platform.” Although Pinterest claims this move was made to benefit user experience – as with most social media platforms – it’s hard to believe that money didn’t play a part in their decision. While companies used affiliate links on Pinterest to gain revenue and drive traffic, Pinterest didn’t reap any benefits from these transactions and provided advertisers with a free advertising platform.
How does this affect future advertisement on Pinterest?
Although it has not officially been confirmed, the word on the street is Pinterest will be adding a “buy” button to pins making it easier to shop within the platform. This tactic will provide Pinterest with the control that they seek.
If you have been affected by Pinterest’s ban on affiliate links you are certainly not alone! Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest social media updates!

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