Pinterest’s March to Monetization

Social site debuts business pages, case studies, best practices

Inspire a burgeoning user base. Check. Name a business-to-business public relations agency of record. Check. Hire monetization, operations and b-to-b PR alums from Facebook. Check. Create business accounts system for brands. Check. Self-publish case studies showing how effective the platform is for businesses. Check.

Yep, across several moves during the last eight months, Pinterest has exhibited an increasing business-mindedness while seemingly setting the stage for real cash flow. In yet another incremental-but-revealing development today, the pinboard-style social site debuted free-to-use business pages that, more than anything, differientiate themselves from regular user pages.

For one, the terms of service for the business pages state the platform can be utilized commercially—a major point of departure for Pinterest to date. That's because regular consumer page owners sign an agreement that doesn't permit explicit marketing. In addition, Pinterest now explains in more depth how to use its Pin It and Follow buttons on business sites in accordance to the platform's guidelines.

Case studies and best practices were also pitched to the brand world for the first time today on, while designed to show how companies are using the image-heavy site to drive Web traffic and, in some cases, sales.

Matt Wurst, director of digital communities at 360i, described the news as “a symbolic first step toward understanding the value that brands can have leveraging [Pinterest’s] platform to connect with consumers.” His expectation is that Wednesday’s “first step” will lead to the introduction of ways brands could pay to promote their Pinterest profiles or content to users, aka ads.

Indeed, retailers like the flash sales site Jettsetter will likely want to test whatever paid products that the platform might release in the months to come. Publishers like Real Simple will also probably find ads on the site alluring as a possible driver of Web traffic and print subscriptions.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.