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Pinterest accused of replacing external affiliate links with its own

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Social network Pinterest has been found to be replacing pre-existing affiliate links on items posted to their site with their own.


Pinterest, a social network designed to visually showcase interesting links, has apparently been replacing pre-existing affiliate links with its own on items posted to the service. Anytime a user pins an item that has a pre-existing affiliate link,
Pinterest uses a service called "Skimlinks" to swap out the original for its own. This cuts out the kickback to the original curator of item should a Pinterest user click-through and make a purchase.

The issue was brought to light by Josh Davis writing at LL Social, though he notes that the use of Skimlinks by Pinterest was mentioned in early January. Davis notes that it's an odd way for a start-up to raise funds, and that not disclosing this "feels weird." The news came to light shortly before TechCrunch got a hold of ComScore numbers that revealed Pinterest had surpassed 10 million unique monthly visitors. There's no word on how much Pinterest has made from swapping affiliate links, but the traffic milestone shows the potential is there.