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Pinterest Cuts Off Bloggers by Removing Affiliate Links and What You Can Do About It

To money and fame, I changed my name
And played a different game. – 2Pac

Pinterest, a company founded by Ben Silbermann and launched in 2010, is a free social network that has been an early favorite among a small passionate group of handmade DIY enthusiasts and has seen extraordinary growth over the years, now with major consumer brands using it of the one of the must-have social channels.

While it has been an amazing ride to watch, we at Makers Ring know that building your business on any external social network is inherently risky, such as when the platform matures and monetizes (or withers and dies with your data). While that risk shouldn’t discount an effort to build a presence on those platforms and to opt for growth (especially if you act early), it is something to keep in mind and to avoid relying too much of one’s business’s core growth and revenue on a platform’s decisions. This is as true for bloggers as for any marketers.

A few days ago, Pinterest announced a blanket ban on all external referral links. This decision disrupts affiliate networks such as RewardStyle and creates business continuation issues for startups like Hello Society, a network of influencers on Pinterest. In place of third-party referrals, Pinterest is launching its own service and inked a deal with Apple, a giant notable for its marketing ability. This is unmistakably a monetization effort by Pinterest to become a different type of social network. And it isn’t surprising.


A Precedent in Platform Monetization

There has been one notable precedent very recently. Think about when Sheryl Sandberg pushed Facebook into its current profitability. Brands and pages that had had tremendous followings were disenfranchised overnight and their posts are no longer visible to their followers (who had liked the page and opt to receive these posts).

Recent changes to Facebook’s news feed algorithm have brought about a significant decline in “organic reach,” the number of people who see a post that hasn’t been boosted by paid advertising. Two years ago, organic reach for many posts was at about 16 percent, but over the last several months it’s been throttled to 2 percent or even less. That means a typical post may reach only about 95 people unless the group pays money to boost it. – IBT, Facebook for Non-for-Profits




This monetization effort at Facebook was hasty and didn’t go over well. Users started complaining that their newsfeed is no longer filled with people and brands that they care about, and is filled with ads that they are not interested in. Facebook responded, to the users, and now sells few ads but at higher margins. To further appease users, Facebook launched ads relevance score for advertisers so that the users are better targeted.



Nevertheless, organic reach on Facebook no longer exists. If you are a brand, a blogger, or ecommerce business and this makes you feel oddly dissatisfied, unlikely losing yet another game of Blackjack in a Vegas casino, you are right. The house, in this case – the social network – always wins, unless you have a technical edge.


What You Can Do About Pinterest

At Makers Ring, we believe that Pinterest’s current monetization and current removal of affiliate links is an inevitable milestone for their business. However, we believe that the content providers should have some compensation, especially if they consistently share valuable content. And forcing them to pay each and every time while holding their audience captive isn’t the answer. After white-boarding and deep dive at our office over a long weekend, we’ve arrived at a workaround. A solution that allows you, the pinner, to keep your affiliate links, comply to all said rules, and still keep your commission. Do you want to find out how? Find out by working with us or attend our future workshops.



In the meantime, if Pinterest is your top monetization channel, this announcement at Pinterest will dramatically impact the way that you do business there. So make sure to consider Promoted Pins, Pinterest’s own referral linking service, and register for them here. Currently, this service is in closed beta, so sign up for your waitlist spot now. Like Facebook ads, the promoted pins will likely increase in price in future, so if you have to buy ads, do it early.

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Launching Knowledge Series @ Makers Ring

Introducing the Knowledge Series at Makers Ring! We will be sharing a number of cool tips and digital tools with our community here on our website, and freebies in digital assets! The first post is coming out this afternoon on a huge change at a majorsocial platform. Sign up to our Knowledge Series emails, stay in the know, & never stop learning.

Knowledge is power. Let us show you the tools.

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Bishop Collective is Changing Garment Industry One American-Made Shirt at a Time

It has been a while since we blogged about some cool companies in New York City. One of the companies we support is Bishop Collective, a cool NYC startup starting a private label for everyday basics clothing that is ethically sourced and manufactured. Makers Ring is proud to partner Bishop Collective on its mission to redefine American manufacturing.

Behind every great company, there’s a socially responsible mission that lifts the brand above the rest. Hear the story from the lips of the founders, Mai and Dimitri:



After being funded by a Kickstarter compaign, the co-founder Mai Vu and Dimitri Koumbis, who met as teachers at top fashion schools in NYC, are working closely with American manufacturing partner to create T-SHIRT or TANK in the colors of your choice. Their private label basics are made from a blend of pima cotton and tencel, giving it the softest hand. This is the ultimate quality shirt. We, at Makers Ring, cannot wait to get our hands on these well-made American basics! Grab yours now!

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Siemens App Launch

Siemens needs an iPad app to market its services and to explain its service benefits. We create this app that allows the functionalities to be used without WiFi (such as at tradeshows where the WiFi is inconsistent at best). The app is usable without internet by queuing up and storing information locally. Once the device is connected to the internet, the information stored will be sent to server.