Pinning for pennies – how Pinterest may be selling themselves short

Having opened the next chapter in our society’s growing penchant for digital over-share, the popular ‘content sharing service’ now accounts for more revenue-per-click than more established social media giants like Facebook and Twitter.  This means big bucks for the e-commerce sites who’ve joined in the fun and are capitalising on the added exposure they’ll receive from referrals, but what about Pinterest itself?

For me, one of the most attractive things about Pinterest is it’s simplicity, there’s almost a humility to the way it’s presented and how it works.  Free of ads and full of loads of deliciously inspiring visuals it’s heaven for creatives, bloggers, shoppers and businesses of all sizes looking to drive traffic home and hopefully convert pins into hardcore currency.  In the midst of all of this warm and fuzzy sharing, Pinterest is not making anywhere near it’s $200 million valuation and at last count there were still only 22 people on staff which isn’t saying much for the company’s growth.  Currently they make money from affiliate fees charged when one of their links redirects a user to an affiliated retailer to make a purchase.  The merchant will in turn pay the publisher – in this case, Pinterest.  With over a hundred million unique visitors every month and over ten million users, this undoubtedly raises brand awareness for the e-commerce stores involved and subsequently makes a little money for Pinterest but the potential for it to be a cash cow has not yet been tapped into.  It’s unclear just how much personal revenue they bring in but estimations of around $3million a month aren’t particularly exciting.



Pinning for Profit

According to, Pinterest have even gone so far as to admit that ‘making money isn’t our main priority right now, it’s a long term goal.  After all we want Pinterest to be here to stay!’  It sounds like they fear monetisation through ads and charging companies for branded pins and campaigns could destroy their character and they might be right there.

Their mission statement is to ‘connect everyone in the world through the ‘things they find interesting’ and another opportunity to be bombarded with sales pitches just doesn’t fit in with the company’s current goals.  A change in ethics could spell the beginning of the end for Pinterest as they seem to fear, but it’s clear that a change in business strategy will need to take place at some point in order to drive business in the future.







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