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Has Pinterest Broken a Golden Rule?

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Why are we so concerned about a report by LL Social that popular online pinboard Pinterest is making money off our interactions when Facebook has been doing it for years---but with our much more personal information?

Is it because more people understand affiliate marketing---and have experienced the spammy nature of its content? Or is it that most people just don’t understand how Facebook makes money from them?

The interesting or perhaps biggest risk I see Pinterest facing is in the relationships it will now have (or perhaps, not have) with brands. The launch of Google + brand Pages saw its biggest growth spurt in users since it launched---as brands scrambled to create their own space---but what will brands now think about the affiliate relationship with Pinterest content?

Whether brands are using Pinterest in any kind of “subversive” manner (e.g., creating profiles called their company name for example and collating customer/product-related pins), even now they must be thinking twice that, potentially, content they are creating for their own customers is funding another business, or worse still, is actually costing them money through the affiliate links Pinterest is adding.

Tough times are ahead on the face of it, but this could have a simple solution: search-indexed premium brand pages with customization capabilities would more than offset the sparse revenues that affiliate marketing would generate.

What are your thoughts?

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I currently head up social media for 02 Telefonica. With an an already enviable reputation for excellence in social media, I'm working to see how 02 can continue to lead the field and give our customers a great digital experience, however they wish to engage with us. I'm also passionate about the concept of "social business" and how we can take learnings from customer behaviours and activity on our social channels and more deeply integrate them across the whole of our business.

More recently...

My previous role as Digital Director of Brazen PR saw me manage the digital/social output for over 12 million fans (some global) across 20+ social media channels. In the past I've worked with some of the world's biggest brands, providing consultancy, developing and implementing social media strategies in the UK and Europe for names such as Dyson, Lexus, Microsoft, Durex as well as The NHS, The North Face, Monopoly, Ronseal I could go on...! My social media consultancy for Greater Manchester Police laid the foundation for their global hit, GMP24 in which the Force tweeted every 999 incident for a 24-hour period.

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  • by Alyssa Thu Feb 9, 2012 via blog

    Great (timely) article! I think brands are diving into the world of Pinterest at such a rapid pace that the idea of a customized brand pinterest page seems highly unlikely right now. But wouldn't that be great! My company's page is B2B so I don't really see Pinterest as a threat.

  • by Kerri Fri Feb 10, 2012 via blog

    Interesting idea about Facebook. This only way I don't like social nets.

  • by Tea Silvestre Fri Feb 10, 2012 via blog

    I've only recently discovered Pinterest myself and am reluctant to spend any more time learning something new to market my biz. For now, it's a fun diversion when I have the time (and after I've checked in to my Facebook and Twitter accounts). It's bad enough that now we've got Google+ to learn. I suppose resistance is futile, but I'm not an early adopter, so I'll wait and see.

  • by Jonathan W. Sat Feb 11, 2012 via blog

    I really like this article. Pinterest really hasn't appealed to me very much. In my NewhouseSM4 class with DR4WARD we will no doubt have to experiment with it but that is as far as I may go with it. I have enough Social Media things to deal with right now like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Google Reader.

  • by Jonathan W. Sat Feb 11, 2012 via blog

    Just wanted to let you know I am studying Social Media Theory & Practice with @dr4ward at @NewhouseSU, I have subscribed to your blog, I look forward to your excellent stories in the future. #NewhouseSM4

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