How will Pinterest make money?
Until recently, Pinterest were using a nifty service called Skimlinks that would automatically turn many of the links from their images to third-party sites into affiliate links.
This made money for Pinterest every time you or I bought a product after following one of those links. With 20 million users, I imagine it amounted to a fairly substantial amount of money each money.
But when people noticed what was going on, there was a big outcry about it. And Pinterest stopped using the Skimlinks service.
Today, in his interview on-stage at South By Southwest, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann insisted that
Affiliate revenue is not the business model
So it sounds like they won’t be returning to Skimlinks any time soon.
But if it’s not through affiliates, how will Pinterest make money?
Pinterest probably don’t yet know themselves. They’ve had a total of $37.5 million in funding, so it’s certainly not urgent for them. Like other fast-growing venture-backed firms before them, they’ll be focussing on growth and market domination and will only worry about revenue later.
We do have some clues about Mr Silbermann’s thinking on the matter, though. He mentioned in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal that they might try advertisements. And today he said that Pinterest’s long-term monetization strategy will have to “speak to the heart of the product itself,” which is “helping people discover things.”
Personally, I’m not sure why an affiliate model isn’t a good fit for that (and certainly no worse than advertising). But then I’m not heading up the Pinterest juggernaut and facing the world’s press.
How do you think Pinterest will make money?