Yes, Pinterest‘s burst into the social networking scene is epic, drawing attention from bloggers, marketers, companies — and, well, pretty much everyone who visits the visually addictive site.
Of course, with Pinterest’s incredible power to make users click, pinning and re-pinning as they spread images like bread crumbs through the world wide web, everyone is trying to figure out how they can benefit from this new top social networking site. (And, by benefit, I don’t mean where to find the most fabulous pair of designer heels, I mean — how.to.make.money.)
Early adopters may be sad to see their sweet land of pinning sullied by sponsored boards and paid pins, but it is an inevitability that we can’t fight.
Our only hope is that marketers and users find creative, authentic ways to monetize and promote on Pinterest without being too disruptive of the beauty that is Pinterest. Clearly, that will not always be the case. There are already tacky and questionable campaigns dotting the Pinterest landscape, frustrating and disappointing users.
Paid to Pin — Can It Be Done Right?
This week, Calypso has partnered with the fourth most-followed Pinterest user in the world, fashion blogger Christine Martinez. According to Mashable, “Calypso is flying Martinez from California to St. Barth, a french island in the Caribbean, this week to “live pin” a photo shoot for the label’s 2012 summer look book.”
Christine, Chrisem on Pinterest, is pinning on boards featured on both her own profile and Calypso’s page. The Pinboards include packing for the trip, and “live pinning” from the photo shoot in St. Barth.
The boards are beautiful, highlighting the fabulous clothes and accessories of Calypso St. Barth and the stunning scenes from the beach in St. Barth. These visually appealing boards definitely fit in with Christine’s style and make me want to hit re-pin just as often as an unsponsored board.
In fact, ICED Media‘s Leslie Hall, president of the digital marketing agency representing Calypso, told Mashable on Monday, “The reason this program is primed for success is because Christine is an actual Calypso shopper and her boards embody the Calypso aesthetic.”
And indeed they are correct. Both company and blogger have made a natural and authentic partnership that seems to benefit the company, the blogger, and ultimately, the followers.
BUT, Where Is the Disclosure???
Disclose, disclose, disclose. We bloggers have disclosure so ingrained in our minds that we can barely sneeze into a tissue we got from a brand while we wrote a post, without adding a disclosure – “Please Note: I used a tissue from company XYZ while preparing this post.”
And yet, I can’t seem to find any glaring disclosures on the Pinboards that Christine Martinez is being paid by Calypso or that the boards are sponsored.
However, both Christine and Calypso St. Barth are listed as contributors to the boards and regular Pinterest users would be able to come to natural conclusions that this board on Christine’s profile is some sort of partnership with the brand Calypso.
While the packing for St. Barth Pinboard doesn’t offer a clear cut disclosure of the relationship between Christine and Calypso, the board originates on Calypso’s page and the relationship can be deduced from the dual contributors and the caption, “We’re packing for trip to St. Barth’s and we can’t help but be inspired by the tropical breezes and white-sand beaches. How gorgeous are the flowing Magda Dip Dye Halter Dress and vibrant Jo Silk Blouse tucked away in our suitcase? Bon voyage! “
The second Pinboard, a pinboard that belongs to Christine’s Chrisem Profile, is a behind the scenes peek of the photo shoot with Calypso St. Barth that again doesn’t have a blatant disclosure of the relationship between pinner and brand, but does describe the Pinboard as, “My own personal experience working on a fashion shoot with a brand I love! Fun, sun, and fashion. Does it get any better?”
Personally, the lack of obvious disclosures doesn’t bother me. A follower can quite easily understand the nature of these Pinboards. But, will the subtle disclosures satisfy everyone? I tend to thing not and that as sponsored Pinboards multiply, obvious disclosures will be listed at the top of each board.
A Good Start and A Good Model?
Paid pinning will be part of Pinterest. Marketing makes the world go round and the Internet needs to spin too.
The future will include campaigns and partnerships done well and some done very poorly.
While the Calpyso St. Barth campaign could perhaps use some clearer disclosure, I think it is a campaign well executed and a good model for future campaigns.
What Do You Think?
How do you feel about companies partnering with pinners?
Do you feel comfortable with the Calypso St. Barth campaign on Pinterest?
Do you think Christine Martinez should have had more obvious disclosures on the boards that appear on her personal profile?