Ben Silbermann’s fashion website Pinterest has done away with its affiliate links program. The move was made as competition is growing from the Shopping cart app Keep.
The four year old Pinterest is a link- and photo sharing portal. It currently has 70 million members.
The decision to ban affiliates was made as part of an effort to maintain the website’s quality level. The affiliate program had allowed users of the site to make money by getting other users to go to third party websites.
A spokesman for Pinterest said in a statement, “Now, we are removing all affiliate links because they are causing a poor user experience. Clickthrough rates should be faster and there will be less broken links. There will also be less irrelevant Pins in the home feed caused by following some group boards. This is not about monetization, this is 100 percent about the Pinner experience and ensuring relevant content on Pinterest.”
So the company no longer needs the service as a way of making money.
If any of Pinterest’s users are now mad at it because of this decision they do have alternatives. According to Business Insider Keep is wooing some of those users.
The bookmarking site has added an affiliate program of its own in response to Pinterest’s decision.
Scott Kurnit, Keep CEO and founder told Business Insider, “Stepping up the relationship with great talent who have just lost their Pinterest juice is only goodness for all concerned.”
He added that, “Pinterest, like Facebook and Twitter didn’t plan to do any of this when they started. It is a likely outcome of many platforms — but not all. Ben [Silbermann]did a brilliant job, as did Mark [Zuckerberg] at Facebook of activating the huge force of talent that helped build their business. Some platforms…as we saw with…the introduction at Facebook of edge-ranking out commercial messages, and now as Pinterest looks to monetize with ads and maybe a buy button, they are clearing the deck for company controlled monetization. Ben has waited a long time for this and I think he’s doing the right thing for his model.”