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Pinterest Pulls the Plug On Affiliate Links

     
10:41 am on Feb 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Pinterest has a long way to go before it knows what works best, but clearly, it's decided that affiliate links not the way forward.

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. Pinterest Pulls the Plug On Affiliate Links [venturebeat.com]
11:24 am on Feb 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It shows how out of touch I am with the affiliate world that I never knew - and it never occurred to me - that people might post affiliate links on Pinterest.

But...

Pinterest warned [...] that it will now “automatically remove all affiliate links, redirects and trackers on Pins.”


... how, (from a technical standpoint and out of academic curiosity), is Pinterest ever going to "automatically remove" redirects?

As I envisage it, it will need a crawler and a database and some server-side logic to even distinguish a redirecting link from a plain vanilla outbound link and once the crawler's identity is broadcast, it (presumably) won't even be able to detect redirecting links, because those links won't redirect for that crawler.

What am I missing here?
3:25 pm on Feb 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ronin,

Oh yes, it's chock-full of affiliate links. Many affiliate programs prohibit posting affiliate links on Pinterest.

My guess is that Pinterest has been analyzing them forever. They already crawl every pin link so I'm sure they have a pretty robust set of data to analyze. Seems that crawling and storing the header data would give them a good look at the nature of each link.

They might not be able to detect them all, but I'd bet they can knock 90% of them out pretty easily.
6:10 pm on Feb 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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His first draft:
We're removing affiliate links because we're tired of others using our content for their own benefit, without our permission.

Then he re-read to himself, and started over :)
7:04 pm on Feb 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Then he re-read to himself, and started over :)


A more true statement has probably never been written!
7:05 pm on Feb 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ooops there goes another one of . . .

I gotta love affiliate marketers. I'm sure the good ones have already worked out a work-around for this inevitability.
10:39 pm on Feb 13, 2015 (gmt 0)

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When Pinterest tries to copy Google. :D

Bloggers and affiliate marketers may either use a simple work-around or sell elsewhere.

IMHO Pinterest may see less users around from now on.
12:01 am on Feb 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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... how, (from a technical standpoint and out of academic curiosity), is Pinterest ever going to "automatically remove" redirects?


That's easy, you just crawl the link to it's destination and when it eventually leads you to an affiliate link, you block it.

i do the same sort of thing with one of my link checkers and some are really obfuscated, but not impossible to identify.

It's doable.

However, i fear Pinterest just shot itself in the head because I'm not familiar with anyone that genuinely uses it except affiliate links but then again, look who I hang out with :)

Plus, I've never searched for anything with Pinterest being the results, so I think it's much ado about nothing.
12:51 am on Feb 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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"I'm not familiar with anyone that genuinely uses it except affiliate links"

Pinterest does drive legitimate traffic. I know some who do very well with it. You need a photogenic niche to start with.
3:21 pm on Feb 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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"I'm not familiar with anyone that genuinely uses it except affiliate links"

there is a lady on a train, she looks at Cats and Gardens every morning. I manned up and asked why. She gave me a dirty look and hid her tablet.
5:35 pm on Feb 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm not familiar with anyone that genuinely uses it except affiliate links

Holy shniky! I get more traffic to my main site from Pintrest than from all other social media combined. And I don't have a single affiliate link anywhere. Right demographic, right content and Pintrest is easy traffic.

I know women who spend hours and hours looking at that site.
2:23 am on Feb 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure I've seen this before...

Companies love affiliates as long as they are building up the network.

Once the network is built, they want to dominate potential income streams.

At first, affiliates are fine, as long as they pay to advertise. We have enough pie here... some for affiliates, some for companies who have affiliates, and some for the network builder.

As time goes on, the network builder will try to capture more of that pie. The easiest and most profitable people to cut out are standard affiliates.

At some point, affiliates aren't even fit for paid advertising.
 

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