An Inside Look At The Top Users On Pinterest & The Confusing World Of Paid Pinning
Many of the top users on Pinterest lead a private, nonpublic life and the muddy monetization rules from both Pinterest and the FTC may keep them that way.
Unlike YouTube or Vine, you won’t find any comedians. Dissimilar to Insagram, there isn’t the suggestion of celebrity or riches. User that are currently top the charts of Pinterest aren’t looking for fame or notoriety, it’s exactly the opposite. An expose by Bianca Bosker on Medium examined a handful of these Pinners that have reached the pinnacle of Pinterest and looked at motivation, monetization and more.
With 9.6 million followers, the second most popular Pinterest account belongs to Maryann Rizzo who, like everyone else, is just a clandestine civilian. Other than a simple Tumblr blog and the intel of living in the “Northeast USA” there is nothing known about Ms. Rizzo — and that’s not uncommon for these top Pinners. Bosker points out that the popularity was bestowed upon many of these users, that they didn’t seek it. That’s important to know for marketers who are looking to impress. For most top users on Pinterest, it’s about the product & picture, not a pushy promotion.
On the other hand, some other users have been more ambitious with the new-found pin power. Danaë Vokolos, aka Veanad, found her account on the Suggested List and jumped to 6 million followers in just one season. In an interview she told Medium that she has been paid by brands to “share products” and also leveraged affiliate links. This is where it gets hairy as Pinterest technically doesn’t allow for a paid pin. It’s a problem that vexed both Pinterest and the FTC. Technically Pinterest users aren’t allowed to “Directly compensate users for Pinning, following or unfollowing,” yet they have promoted pins. The waters get a bit muddier as Pinterest specifically says that:
A business can pay someone to help them put together a board that represents their brand. For example, it’s okay for a guest blogger to curate a board for a local boutique’s profile. We don’t allow that boutique to pay the blogger to Pin products to her own boards.
So technically a paid pin is a no-go, yet is something that is happening quite frequently and may put a user’s account at risk. Another hurdle to both marketers and top pinners is that the FTC hasn’t quite figured out Pinterest yet. The FTC wants clear and conspicuous disclosures for all paid marketing and brands need to consider this when engaging in any type of Pinterest promotion — top Pinner or not.
Putting these rules and regulation into perspective helps clarify the movement towards privacy by these top Pinners. Those who have successfully monetized their presence likely aren’t looking for scrutiny, while other more reserved Pinners may simply yearn for privacy and unwanted intervention. As brands however, this is a great lesson in social promotion. Clear, consistent disclosures are paramount, even on Pinterest.
The full article from Medium is a must read and dives in much deeper on these top Pinterest personas.