Pinterest Cuts Off Style Bloggers by Removing Affiliate Links

Some fashion bloggers pin photos on Pinterest along with affiliate links to derive revenue. Pinterest is now removing those links

Pinterest, a major source of revenue for personal style bloggers, is turning off that money-making spigot.

The social network is removing all affiliate links, the trackable links that enable the people who share them to earn commissions on traffic to or sales from retailers. Many fashion bloggers, who number in the thousands, have sizable followings on Pinterest and derive a consistent revenue stream from affiliate links.

“We observed affiliate links and redirects causing irrelevant Pins in feeds, broken links and other spammy behavior,” a Pinterest spokesman said in a statement Friday. “We believe this change will enable us to keep the high bar of relevancy and quality Pinners expect from Pinterest.”

Personal style bloggers, an often self-employed, fashion-forward crowd, regularly post pictures of items they own or were given, along with products they like or have their eye on. They share these photos on their blogs, as well as Twitter TWTR +1.15%, Instagram and Pinterest, with links to retailers where the items are sold. Bloggers get paid when a shopper clicks on those links and purchases within the following month, whether it is the linked item or other items the retailer sells.
Pinterest said it has been automatically removing affiliate links for years but had allowed some exceptions that were “maintaining good quality.” RewardStyle, an affiliate network that caters to the fashion industry and works with 9,000 bloggers, websites and other publishers, was among those that had been allowed to link, until yesterday. “We have noticed their Pinner behavior going downhill,” the spokesman said. “This has caused slower delivery of Pins and less relevant Pins in people’s home feeds.”

RewardStyle says it wasn’t given advance notice of the change. Baxter Box, RewardStyle’s chief executive, said in an email the company “will be collaborating with Pinterest teams on a seamless process that will help maximize premium digital content in the future.”

Some style bloggers took to Twitter to sound off about Pinterest’s move: