How To Stay Transparent on Pinterest?
As with bloggers, integrity is everything. Or at least it should be. Christine Martinez and Kate Arends both said they turn down many more offers than they accept. Martinez said, “I’m very discerning about what I pin. Unless it’s something I really love and would naturally pin anyway, I’m not doing it.” Arends agreed. “From all the [brands] that approach me, I’d say probably 10% are appropriate for my boards. I’m really concerned about losing the integrity of what I curate,” she said. “The thought of losing that to make money scares me a little bit.”
Disclosure of sponsored pins is an area where we could see abuse happening (intentional or not). Unlike a blog, Pinterest doesn’t have a lot of space for text. You can put a comment under a pin, but generally the images speak for themselves. Arends tries to always make it obvious when she’s pinning something for a brand, writing things like “courtesy of” or “thank you for sending this gift.” But it may not always be obvious and transparent. So going forward, both brands and pinners are going to have to be careful about how they represent themselves–and of the two, pinners probably have the most to lose, since their reputations are wrapped up in how they present themselves online. It’s the same blogger dilemma, just on a new screen.
But we’re not totally optimistic that the transparency will always be there. When we asked Science’s Kyla Brennan if we could expect to see more press releases like the one we got about Calypso partnering with Martinez—or if these sorts of arrangements would remain behind the scenes she said, “It’ll definitely remain behind the scenes.”