Pinterest on Thursday announced that it would begin experimenting with promoting certain pins from a select group of businesses.
The announcement came via a blog post from CEO Ben Silbermann, who hastened to assure the site’s users that this move would not be a descent into ad madness.
“I know some of you may be thinking, ‘Oh great … here come the banner ads,'” he wrote, “but we’re determined to not let that happen.”
To that end, Silbermann promised that the ads will be "tasteful," with "no flashy banners or pop-up ads."</p> <p>The ads will also be transparent, and viewers will always be informed when they are viewing paid promotions, he promised.
The ads will be relevant as well — that is, they will be marketing products the viewer actually is interested in — and will be improved upon feedback, too.
The initial tests of ads will be in search results and categories feeds. For example, when you search for Halloween, you might see a costume on sale at a local shop that had pinned the outfit. The format follows in the footsteps of other social advertising successes like Facebook and Twitter. Both similarly let businesses amplify the reach of their organic content by paying for “promotion”.
Pinterest’s decision to push sponsored content follows a common trend among popular social media sites. Twitter rolled out Promoted Tweets in 2010, and Facebook rolled out the highly-controversial and now-defunct Sponsored Stories in 2011.