Profiting With Pinterest

By on April 4, 2012

Who doesn’t love pinning things on Pinterest? It’s highly addictive and it’s predominantly populated by an abundance of women with a mindset to shop. Every board is comparable to a full scale wish list of purchases waiting to happen. Pins are shared, liked and commented right on Pinterest, fed through Facebook or Twitter feeds where friends can then like, comment and add to their own covetous board of dreams, and the cycle continues.

The question then becomes how to profit from these prized pins? The answer is simple; affiliate marketing. A prime example of this is evident in pins promoting items from Amazon.com. What you need to be aware of, before blindly pinning images, is a service called Skimlinks that Pinterest uses to search out and alter these types of links renaming Pinterest as the affiliate ID associated with the pin. While this is fairly commonplace among web businesses to monetize product links, there are ways to sidestep this and collect on the affiliate link you pin.

Avoid the Appearance of Spamming

Nobody likes a spammer. Most spammers use bots to auto generate content, and Pinterest is not immune. While in its infancy, Pinterest may not catch all spam immediately, but rest assured, it will get more and more proficient in catching and removing spam accounts, boards, and pins. Take the time needed to create quality boards and link your pins with a service, like Linktrackr, that tracks metrics, allowing you to monitor clicks and conversion. Build creative boards with quality pins and content. Sure it takes time, but a little time will pay off in a big way and after a month or two you will have a prized collection of premium boards and pins primed for repinning by your followers.

Link Cloaking

Services like LinkTrackr additionally allow you to customize your links by shortening and adding your affiliate ID directly to the end of the link in order to retain credit for the sale. LinkTrackr, for the moment, is set securely outside Skimlinks’ database, ensuring that your affiliate ID will not be stripped as it would in, say, Bit.ly or TinyURL which have been notably compromised on Pinterest.

In a recent interview conducted by WebProNews, Alicia Navarro, the CEO of Skimlinks, has stated that while Pinterest has been using Skimlinks for the last few years, they have paused using Skimlinks temporarily with all the recent publicity. While Skimlinks was not their sole revenue source, Pinterest has many revenue streams they are currently exploring and implementing. Testing a few of your affiliate links from time to time to ensure the affiliate ID has not been stripped would be a wise move for any marketer looking to monetize their Pinterest boards.

Hosting Images on Your Server

This should be fairly straight forward to most, but the surest way to streamline traffic to your affiliate products is by funneling traffic like so:

Pinterest –> YOUR WEB PROPERTY –> Amazon

This will effectively cut out any affiliate ID stripping and any other hiccups that would otherwise be encountered by simply pinning directly to Pinterest without taking the above precautions. By utilizing these measures and performing some affiliate link testing from time to time to ensure the affiliate ID has not been changed or removed, you can rest easy knowing your boards and pins are performing optimally and maximizing your affiliate income.

Most social sites experience spam of some form or another; Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace have all had their fair shares. Pinterest has recently gotten quite a bit of web and news coverage from a self proclaimed spammer claiming to make $1000 per day off his various pins. Using bots to generate accounts, boards and pins, he spammed Pinterest using affiliate marketing. He has publically outlined his business model, which received so much attention he retracted it, claiming it was a hoax. The point of real interest lies in what Pinterest will do now that this spammer has gone public.

Social sites are constantly updating their terms of service, monitoring tools and algorithms to cut back on spam and maintain the integrity of their sites. There has been talk of Pinterest limiting the quantity of pins posted per day by accounts in attempts to limit spam posts. All in all, Pinterest is an exciting new platform with endless marketing possibilities.

Have you been using Pinterest for marketing? Any insights you can provide? Share with the community in the comments below!

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.