The Dirty Secret of Pinterest - Link Swapping

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Social media visual pin board Pinterest, which is now receiving over 10 million unique visitors a month, is apparently swapping out the links submitted by its users for links provided by affiliate network SkimLinks and doing so for profit as an affiliate, according to at least one industry source.

Joel Garcia of GTO Management ran some experiments and found that a pin linked to one of his merchant clients was swapped out for a SkimLinks affiliate link as he was passed from Pinterest to the source page of the pin.

Garcia did note that by using an affiliate link of his own, the affiliate link actually remained in tact (which is very good news for affiliate marketers). None of this, however, is good news for merchants.

The FTC rules on disclosure of affiliate links requires that any content creator that is endorsing or recommending something and receiving a financial benefit for doing so needs to disclose it.

But the law, of course, fails to address how platform providers like Pinterest should be treated in a case like this. Since Pinterest is not actually pushing people to buy something it may simply not apply. The best course of action, in my opinion, would simply be for Pinterest to provide the appropriate FTC disclaimer - and soon. 


More from Website Magazine on Pinterest: 

- Is Pinterest Doomed to Fail? 

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1 comment

Dive Knives 02-09-2012 12:35 PM

FTC rules aside, if this is true Pinterest needs to be up front about it and publicly disclose it, otherwise they'll lose the trust of their community and drift off into internet obscurity.  The community will ask, if they're doing this, what else are they doing that I haven't heard about.

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