Pinterest starts testing promoted pins

CEO Ben Silbermann promised the pins will be tasteful, relevant, and transparent.


Published Sep 20, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 5:59 am CDT

Pinterest is taking a step toward making itself a lasting business by testing promoted pins.

It will experiment with “promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses,” CEO Ben Silbermann wrote in a blog post and email to users. It’s a step toward making sure “Pinterest is a service that will be here to stay,” he noted.

While Pinterest has yet to figure out all the details, Silbermann promised pins will be tasteful, relevant, and transparent (you’ll always know if a pin is paid promotion, for instance).

Initially, Pinterest and its partners will test select pins in search results and categories. No money is changing hands during the experiment, and Silbermann is keen to hear users’ thoughts. 

Pinterest is taking a leaf out of Twitter’s book as it attempts to become self-sufficient. Twitter has long allowed brands to pay for promoted tweets, accounts, and trends to give themselves. It’s a core part of Twitter’s business and Pinterest is hoping to emulate that success.

This is not the first time Pinterest has tried to generate revenue from pins. It previously stuffed Amazon affiliate links into pins linking to the retailer—without telling users.

This is a more transparent attempt at making money. Many of the commenters on the blog post understood the move and appreciated the transparency, while two asked for an ad-free subscription service.

Photo via jonas_foyn/Flickr

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*First Published: Sep 20, 2013, 1:51 pm CDT