Pinterest Is Stripping All Affiliate Links From Its Network, Starting Today

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Pinterest Is Stripping All Affiliate Links From Its Network, Starting Today

Just as reports surface that Pinterest is working on a new way to monetize its network, there is now news from VentureBeat that Pinterest is banning all affiliate links.

Pinterest power users are being warned via email that links containing affiliate info, redirects, or pin trackers will be automatically removed.

These types of links are already being removed as of today, and Pinterest is apparently keenly focused on popular affiliate networks RewardStyle and Hello Society.

Pinterest is no stranger to banning affiliate links on a case by case basis, but this is the first time the company has ever issued a site wide ban.

It’s not going unnoticed that this move comes at an interesting time. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, news broke yesterday that Pinterest is working on a ‘Buy’ button.

When you take that into account you start to get an idea as to why Pinterest is banning affiliate links — it likely doesn’t want people sending others off the site to make a purchase. When the Buy button is launched, Pinterest is going to want to keep all sales contained to its network, or at least as many sales as realistically possible.

As Pinterest works to monetize its network it has effectively quelled an audience which could have stood in its way: Pinterest power users/affiliate marketers.

If you engaged in this form of link sharing in the past, all your old Pins will not be deleted but they will be stripped of any kind of affiliate or tracking info. Going forward Pinterest recommends that marketers use approved practices, such as paid social media (Promoted Pins).

A Pinterest spokesperson offered the following statement:

“We are removing affiliate links to ensure we’re providing the best possible experience for Pinners. Recently, we observed affiliate links and redirects causing irrelevant Pins in feeds, broken links and other spammy behavior. We believe this change will enable us to keep the high bar of relevancy and quality Pinners expect from Pinterest.”

The spokesperson added that this change is 100% about the user experience, and not at all about the company’s monetization plans.

Matt Southern
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing... Read Full Bio
Matt Southern
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  • Alexander

    Congrats Pinterest.

    But I wonder why you’re calling them power users? They are affiliate trolls, nothing less. And their accounts are filled with spam via bots.

    End users could hope that Facebook and Twitter would do the same and strip all these links from their networks. And I am not speaking of the average webmaster using affiliate marketing, but the whole set of automatically pushed ten thousands of links day to day via fake accounts. If those trolls want to spam mankind with their links they can start blogs (and of course they already do this). But search engines won’t rank the most of them very high.

  • phil madrigal

    this is great to know but my question is will Pinterest links still remain high value links or does this raise the value of those links.

  • Booker

    Will Pinterest remove pins that point to websites that contain affiliate links? As opposed to a direct-link to an affiliate?

    • Michaela Kennedy

      No Booker. High quality social media sites are most interested in whether their members are being offered quality content at the other end of the links. If the user returns quickly, chances are the destination had poor content. A good affiliate marketer will provide rich content, including why the products they are promoting are worth buying and how to use them. Hope that helps.

  • Aaron

    I’m only disappointed with this because they also strip out Google’s UTM parameters and arguments, making it more difficult to discover user behavior for Pinterest traffic on tablet and mobile devices. But I totally understand that they want to move towards monetization and making their site appear safer. They also do not allow shortlinks either.

    • Kelsey Jones

      That really is too bad, from a tracking perspective. They probably just discount anything after an ? in the URL, is what I’m guessing.