Pinterest vs. The Marketers: Round 2

Round 2: Ding Ding…

(Here was round 1)

There’s some strong feelings going around today about Pinterest and their undisclosed use of Skimlinks to monetize links that are posted.

According to GTO Management, if you post an affilate link, Pinterest will follow it through to the final destination URL and use that as the Pin’s link instead. &That not only removes your affiliate link, but clears the path for Skimlinks to act on the url as it is now pointing directly to the merchant or website in question.

There is a workaround, whereby you can edit the pin and put your affiliate link back in. &I think this is probably a loophole that they’ll close eventually.

Personally, I have no issue with Pinterest using Skimlinks to monetize their site. &They need to make money. &They have a lot of VCs to carry. I’m not comfortable with the fact that they do this on the sly, with no disclosure.

It does raise the question in my mind as to who owns the content that you post to Pinterest. &Maybe you do, but you grant Pinterest the right to modify and exlpoit it to their heart’s content.

And can you expect any more from&a free third-party service, where you’re posting on their own website? &

I don’t think so. &But I guess it’s about expectations.

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Their terms are pretty clear on this…

From Pinterest’s Terms:

“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.”

(bold mine)

and in fact, they don’t even want you to make money off the site in the first place…

“You agree not to do any of the following…Use the Site, Application or Site Content for any commercial purpose or the benefit of any third party or in any manner not permitted by these Terms;”

So there you go.

Even though I don’t see Shareist as a competitor to Pinterest (maybe at a meta level; you could actually build an entire Pinterest-like service with Shareist), we are thinking about these exact same issues for Shareist. &

We actually do a similar thing as Pinterest when you post links and strip out the affiliate links and replace them with the clean links. &But that’s not for our benefit, but for the site-owner’s benefit. &In the case they allow others to post links on their site, random people can’t post their own affiliate links.

On the Pro version of Shareist, the site admin can put in their own affiliate links, which Shareist will use when someone clicks. &We give this feature away to our private beta testers, but eventually, the pro version will not be free.

Anyway, again, I think the whole issue here is transparency and disclosure.

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Image credit: superwebdeveloper

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