Earlier in 2012, Pinterest took a lot of heat for secretly partnering with a London-based company called Skimlinks to get a cut of the sales referred through the website. But how much money was the company actually making? At the Founders conference in New York, Skimlinks founder Alicia Navarro revealed how much sites like Pinterest can potentially earn from affiliate links.
She said the company works with about 20,000 publishers for hundreds of thousands of domains. While the size of the checks that it cuts to those partners ranges from pennies a week to six figures a month, she said the average is $500 to $1,000 a month.
Granted, that’s an incredibly wide range of payments and if the average payout is a grand or less, affiliate links are probably better suited to solo entrepreneurs who just want some extra cash. But Pinterest is not your average website – it was ranked number three in the United States, according to Experian.
In response to an article written earlier this year by LLSocial writer Josh Davis about using Skimlinks, Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann clarified that the affiliate links were just a test to see if people would buy things that they found on the bookmarking site.
Though the company had already stopped using the links by then, Pinterest added the following message to the company’s help page to explain to its users what had happened: “We’ve tested a few different approaches to making money such as affiliate links. We might also try adding advertisements, but we haven’t done this yet. Even though making money isn’t our top priority right now, it is a long term goal.”
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