Pinterest has once again jiggered its business model, offering a new site, tools and features for businesses and brands that promise to bring in business – mostly, to Pinterest itself.
Companies have been savvy to the value of Pinterest from the start, but the relationship has been confused at best.
For example, while the social pinboard is extremely well-suited for creating and propagating branded material, many enterprises were reluctant to allow people to pin their images, citing copyright, licensing and other issues. Amazon was one such company, though it recently changed its policy.
Similarly, while Pinterest has seen many viral take-ups of brand-generated content from companies like Whole Foods and the Smithsonian, it had not formally recognized brands on its site, until now.
Most importantly, the confusion has left insiders wondering how Pinterest plans to generate income from the site. Ironically, many other social sites including the rejuvenated eBay and Myspace, have copied the Pinterest look and feel for their own sites.
Industry watchers have long anticipated a LinkedIn-style reorganization, and the new Business Site seems to deliver on that expectation.
Among the new business terms and features:
Separate sign-up for businesses. This includes publications, brands, designers, bloggers, retailers, online merchants, non-profit organizations, institutions, or local businesses. Pinterest is directing new business users to a special sign up site on Pinterest for business accounts.
An exclusive business site. Existing accounts on Pinterest can be easily converted by following the steps on the new site for businesses.
Verification of business websites. The verification badge helps people identify high-quality sources of content and more easily find the business they want in search results.
Access to upcoming features. Receive updates on future products and services that will provide more powerful ways of reaching and understanding audience on Pinterest.
If all of this sounds confusing, fear not, Pinterest anticipated that, too.
The site has published new case studies, best practices, and guides on how to use the Pinterest brand in marketing materials.
Of course, all of this new material likely presages an even bigger step, e.g., subscription-based premium services for businesses.
Watch the pinboards for more.