Pinterest Starts Advertising

The popular image networking site Pinterest has set the goal to start generating revenue. According to ReadWrite.com, the website has just recently made the decision to promote advertisements.

Up until this point, Pinterest has been careful with investor money, not trying to turn a large profit from the visual pinboard site. As part of the process, Pinterest recently hired Joanne Bradford, former president of the San Francisco Chronicle, as the head of commercial and content partnerships.

Bradford’s strategy to take Pinterest into the next phase of generating revenue begins with “Promoted Pins.” According to Pinterest, a Promoted Pin is a sponsored post on the website to promote a service or product such as ABC Family, Gap, or Banana Republic. The companies will pay Pinterest to promote their pins and users will be able to use the posts however they want.

“The Pinterest mission is to help people discover things,” Bradford explained to ReadWrite. “Promoted pins help people discover, and help brands be discovered.”

Pinterest has experimented in the past with sponsored posts, having slipped a few affiliated pins onto the website without informing users of what they were up to. Many of the paid-for posts were indistinguishable from other user-made posts. Some Pinterest users and internet bloggers were upset with this sneaky tactic and criticized Pinterest for trying to make money under their noses. The new Promoted Pins plan is moving forward with much more caution and transparency. Bradford elaborated on the strategy:

“Promoted pins [are] the result of much testing. You can only find the pins in searches and category feeds right now, where they’re most relevant and [least intrusive.] It’s the result of a lot of pinner and marketer feedback… Brands find Pinterest to be a rich canvas to tell their stories. We’re very flexible. Search and display ads are a little bit confined in how you can tell your story to consumers.”

According to CIO.com, the website is expected to go public and open to investors very soon. Due to the overwhelming popularity of Pinterest, and the large percentage of female users (four out of every five), many advertisers are likely to throw in with the website, knowing that the user-base is mostly people interested in household and domestic products. CIO reported that Pinterest is currently worth $3.8 billion and has accumulated $564 in funding from venture capitalists.

Pinterest users will have to stick by the site and hope the changes only help to make the website better.