Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Here’s What a Pinterest Ad Looks Like


Pinterest today started its preannounced test of “promoted pins,” a.k.a. the first-ever revenue-generating product for the company valued at $2.5 billion.

Well, not so fast on the revenue front. Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann said in September, “Nobody’s paying for anything yet — we want to see how things go and, more than anything, hear what you think.”

But now we know what Pinterest ads look like. Promoted pins, which will appear alongside regular user pins in Pinterest search results and category feeds, are identified as such in exceedingly fine print. When the user hovers over, an explanation appears. In the example: “About this pin — This pin is from Julie’s Outdoor Supply. It’s showing up here because Julie’s Outdoor Supply paid to have it placed where you’d be more likely to notice it.”

Pinterest doesn’t permit retailers to upload their whole stores to the site, preferring that they pick and choose products to feature on inspiration boards.

“We encourage brands to have an authentic presence on Pinterest that shows what makes their brand unique, and give people inspiration to take action offline with those pins,” a spokeswoman said in a recent email.

Obviously, a significant part of Pinterest’s massive valuation is based on investors’ assumption that the company will be able to reap some benefit from all the traffic and sales it sends to commerce sites. Promoted pins are the first test of that.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik