Pinterest, as I have noted before, is the hip, new kid on the block that all the other, older social networks, apps and websites want to copy. What I did not mention was that, by being so relatively new, though, the site will also begin to copy certain things from the older, more established social networks as it gets bigger and wants to be more inclusive.
The first sign of this occurred a week ago, when Pinterest introduced secret boards, which kind of like a Facebook post that is set so only certain people can see it. Being able to perform actions on a website in secret is something that many people want, and it was highly requested of Pinterest. This was something it had to learn as it grew.
Pinterest is now making a much bigger change, and a step toward being able to compete with its social media rivals, by announcing on Wednesday that it will creating accounts just for businesses, and introducing new tools specifically for those accounts.
“ If you open an account on behalf of a company, organization, or other entity, then (a) ‘you’ includes you and that entity, and (b) you represent and warrant that you are authorized to grant all permissions and licenses provided in these Terms and bind the entity to these Terms, and that you agree to these Terms on the entity’s behalf,” Pinterest’s terms of service now reads.
“Thousands of businesses have become part of our community, giving great ideas, content and inspiration to people on Pinterest. Whether it’s Anthropologie sharing awesome clothes, Whole Foods sharing tasty recipes, the Smithsonian sharing fascinating collections, or Amazon making products easy to pin, many of us have been inspired on Pinterest by businesses,” Cat Lee, Product Manager at Pinterest, wrote in a blogpost.
“We want to help more businesses provide great content on Pinterest and make it easy to pin from their websites. Today, we’re taking a first step toward that goal with some free tools and resources.”
Previously held accounts can be converted into business accounts. And just in case someone isn’t sure if they need to do this, Pinterest gives this helpful hint:
“If your boss is making you use Pinterest, you need to set up a business account,” Pinterest now says in its terms of service.
New business tools
In conjunction with its new relationship with the business community, Pinterest has also established new tools for them to use on their accounts.
The new tools include a verification badge, which is meant to people identify high-quality sources of content and more easily find the business they want in search results.
Pinterest has also established resources, including case studies, a set of best practices examples for businesses to follow, and guides for how to use Pinterest in marketing material.
Why make this change?
The reason for making the change seems obvious enough: for a service that is free, the way to make money is through advertising. And establishing relationships with brands is a good way for them to way to advertise on your site.
There has been no mention yet of what steps Pinterest would take in making money from these brands, though one thing they could do is take a page from Facebook, which copied Pinterest's model in creating its Collections service.
If a user has Liked a certain company, let’s say Pottery Barn, images of products will show up on your news feed. If you click on the product and you want it, you can add it your wishlist by "liking", "collecting" or "wanting" it.
Once the item has been collected there will be a button on the picture taking you an external website, in this case PotteryBarn.com, to purchase the item.
Pinterest could do something similar by taking its model and using it to drive sales for other websites, potentially taking a percentage from sales.
E-commerce is where the money is, and by allowing businesses to create accounts on Pinterest, it has to be hoping to pull in major ad dollars from those brands.
(Image source: http://blog.pinterest.com)