I recently read another timely article on Perform Insider about Pinterest a popular and fast growing website where according to their website “People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes”.
Nothing really new about the service that hasn’t been tried before by similar community share platforms but why is Pinterest suddenly raising eyebrows? Apparently, their practice of automatically replacing any user generated product or retailer links with affiliate links of their own.
From Perform Insider: “Several blogs have questions this, not only as being deceiving but a possible violation of FTC rules that require that disclosure when content is disguised as an advertisement. Pinterest’s argument could be that they themselves are not actually promoting the product, they are changing the code and thus it’s not a real placement. Either way, its something they need to address because the FTC has already shown they don’t appreciate when people hide advertising in content without telling users about it.”
My overall concern is built on the whole user-generated ‘content’ aspect. I can appreciate website monetization challenges but I believe I am right in my assessment that the practice without notifying your users in clear language throughout is wrong in my own personal opinion.
Pinterest responded to the building criticism on their blog: “Online communities need ways to generate revenue to support their operations, and the preference is always to earn this revenue without disrupting their users or detracting from their UI with flashy advertisements. Creating a beautiful, user-friendly site, as Pinterest has done, mandates a non-intrusive way to make money.”
What is your opinion of Skimlinks. What about the disclosure process? Even more important does it work for your website, blog and your content type ? What about the programs transparency? Do you feel confident sending your traffic through them as a provider? Do you only send select traffic or go all-out?