Why I Don’t Mind Pinterest Hijacking My Links — BlogWorld & New Media Expo Blog

Recently, Joel Garcia at GTO Management bought it to everyone’s attention that everyone’s new favorite social sharing site, Pinterest, is basically hijacking links to make money as an affiliate. I highly recommend checking out Joel’s complete post, but here’s the main idea: via Why I Don’t Mind Pinterest Hijacking My Links — BlogWorld & New Media Expo Blog.

SkimLinks is a London based affiliate marketing platform. Their tools and products provide Web site owners the ability to monetize their site through placement of affiliate links. The SkimLinks JavaScript code is placed on their site, which then scans the website’s content and converts product references to links to those products from marketers.

Why use SkimLinks?

The Skim: Is my site suitable for Skimlinks?

Discussion

I have no problem with Pinterest making money. What bugs me is that they weren’t up front about what they are doing.  If you pin a product on your own Pinterest board,  what you are doing is creating a link. What happens to that link is that it is turned into an affiliate link without your knowledge, the knowledge of the merchant, or anyone who clicks that affiliate link.  I have a Pinterest account but haven’t created any Pinterest boards yet and now that I’m aware of this I don’t feel inclined to. How do you feel about this?

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27 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Mind Pinterest Hijacking My Links — BlogWorld & New Media Expo Blog

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  2. Another fascinating post from you that always leaves me knowing more than I could have ever discovered on my own. While I don’t use Pinterest, I have seen several of my projects shown there when I looked. I noticed that my WordPress dashboard doesn’t show any incoming links on my admin panel from them. Makes me wonder even further if I am getting any credit for my work there.

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  4. Thanks for the information. I had no idea that Pinterest was doing this and I am sure many of the users are the same way. I am totally fine with this happening, as they have to make money somehow, but I just wish they had been more upfront and open about disclosing what they were doing. However I do prefer how Pinterest is making a profit compared to Facebook. I hate all the ad bars that are on the side of my Facebook account. I much prefer the simple and clean layout of Pinterest.

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  6. There was an article in the blog section of the New York Times yesterday about Pinterest and links – so the questionable practises (if there are any) have hit the big time news.

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/is-pinterest-already-making-money-quietly/

    I should mention that I was alerted to the news article through the Rabbitgram email from the Rabbit Agency that I signed up for a while ago. It is a good digest of social media and web news.

  7. It’s pretty much the way the world is going, TT… as far as these companies are concerned, we’re just small fry, what do they care? They don’t ask us. I’m not surprised you’re annoyed or upset by this, if I were a Pinterest user, I’d feel the same.

  8. Thanks for this info. I do use Pinterest, but most of my boards are not product oriented. I use it rather to “advertise” creative people I admire who I would like to see get more traffic. Maybe I’d better rethink my strategy though. Not supporting dishonest practices is more important to me

  9. Follow-up:
    The comment by Brian on on Blogworld clears it up for me where he says

    I guess it can only be considered hijacking if they were replacing affiliate links with their own affiliate links. Since they are creating links from direct links, it’s not really stealing anything but it is very controversial. I am a little disappointed to hear about it and you are right, they may pay a price for violating the FCC rules. I don’t know if they’re based in the US but the FTC is very clear on affiliate link disclosure and I’m a little surprised they would be so careless.

  10. I don’t know what to make of it. I dislike the word ‘skim’, so they are not off to a good start with me.

    However, Joel and Allison seem to be saying is that if a person pins his or her own affiliate links, they will get wiped and overwritten by Pinterest’s own Skimlinks’ affiliate link.

    I don’t know whether Pinterest knows this happens.

    I looked at Pintersest’s privacy policy etc and I cannot find any reference to Skimlinks or affiliate links.

    Joel also seems to be saying that if a marketeer goes in to change the Skimlink affiliate link back to the original, then Skimlink will not re-overwrite it.

    So – and this is where I call the whole ‘name and shame’ tone of the articles into question – Pinterest seems to be stopping marketeers who have affiliate links from pinning their own stuff on Pinterest and making money off the back of Pinterest.

    What is so wrong about Pinterest doing this?

    I am asking this partly rhetorically and partly because I am not sure I understand the set up correctly.

    • Hi David,
      Thank for hanging in there and getting more information. I have read the ToS and the privacy policy and could not find any references to Skimlinks or affiliate links. I hadn’t considered that there would be affilate marketers creating pinboards. Now that you have provided more on this I have an answer to your question.

      Pinterest seems to be stopping marketeers who have affiliate links from pinning their own stuff on Pinterest and making money off the back of Pinterest.

      What is so wrong about Pinterest doing this?

      My answer is “Nothing, provided they state that in their policies so everyone is clear on what their policy is.”

  11. Kind of agree with you. If they gained permission first through disclosure then perhaps I would weigh up the usefulness of the platform against the fact they were making money from it. Kind of like Google. I know clearly how they make money but the utility of their platform offsets that.

    • Hi there,
      So you feel the same way I do. I wish they had simply stated this in their policies so all users were clearly aware of what was going on.

  12. I was attracted to the visual component of pinterest, but have found it really unwieldy to create boards. It seems easy when bloggers include a link to their pinterest boards, but actually setting up my own seemed very slow and awkward, and the pin it function doesn’t like my browser, so p-interest has pretty much lost mine.

    • Hello there,
      Thanks for sharing your expereince. I haven’t had the time to create any pinboards yet. I was also attracted to the visual component and thought it would be good to have pinboards on various art therapy themes. I was eager to make the time to do that but now that eagerness has faded.

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