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Pinterest’s New Paid Pin Policy Aligns with Its Ultimate Goal: Authenticity

By , February 7, 2014

“We want people to Pin authentically.”

That’s the entire “short-version” of the section in Pinterest’s revamped Acceptable Use Policy that pertains to pinner compensation. It’s a perfect example of Pinterest’s ongoing mission to keep the site customer-centric and keep the pinning experience enjoyable.

This week Pinterest tweaked the rules for how pinners can be compensated on the network. It’s cracked down on paying people for individual actions on Pinterest – following, unfollowing, and pinning.

PinterestFrom the new policy: “People should be able to find things on Pinterest that actually interest and inspire them. We believe that compensating people for doing specific things on Pinterest—like paying them to Pin—can promote inauthentic behavior.”

But for the influential bloggers and brands that work with them, not all is lost. Pinners can still participate in affiliate programs or as part of paid campaigns. Pinterest provides an example:

“A business can pay someone to help them put together a board that represents their brand. For example, it’s okay for a guest blogger to curate a board for a local boutique’s profile. We don’t allow that boutique to pay the blogger to Pin products to her own boards.”

Unlike other networks where there are plenty of ways to buy fans or followers, Pinterest has decided to forbid this practice, staying in line with its commitment to authenticity.

Banning paid pins also means decreasing the amount of visual spam on the site, which prevents the user experience from crumbling, time on site from shrinking, and users from jumping ship. And with a $2.5 billion valuation and a user base that spends on average $170 per session, that’s critical. As ReadWrite points out, “visual pollution” gets in the way of Pinterest’s quest to create an accurate visual search engine. Its acquisition of visual recognition startup Visual Graph points to this as well.

Ultimately, the new policy is good for users and brands. Users get a better Pinterest over the long haul. Brands still have the option of working with influential bloggers and pinners in a paid capacity, without having to resort to spammy tactics like paying per pin. Pinterest has carefully considered all involved; it even worked with top pinners to help craft the new guidelines.

Pinterest continues to be the quiet giant of the social space. With user growth still climbing, its releases focus on the user and how they will improve user interactions on the site, such as its recent announcements of Interest pins and this week’s updated mobile site to accommodate mobile pinners. And updates like its release of a Domain API to display real-time pins and now these changes in the Acceptance Use Policy illustrate to brands that while its goal is primarily to create value for users, it won’t do it at the expense of businesses.


Learn more about using images to connect with your customers on Pinterest, Instagram, and other networks. Watch the replay of our webinar, “Worth 1,000 Words: Using Images to Engage Your Social Followers.”