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Pinterest announced Wednesday that it will begin offering options on its site specifically for businesses, paving the way for business relationships between one of the fastest-growing social media sites and companies looking to take advantage of their engagement with users on that site. While the announcement isn’t huge for now — the new business option just allows company owners to snag their names, learn some best practices, and verify their accounts — Pinterest makes vague mention of upcoming future options for businesses, and it’s easy to see an analytics or ecommerce option changing the game and making Pinterest profitable.
Targeting brands and giving them more insight into engagement on the platform is exactly what Facebook has done with brand pages and insights, and it makes sense for Pinterest to begin courting businesses, who have already had success using the site. It’s also easy to see how Pinterest moving into branding and analytics would signal death for more than a few startups that are entirely focused on providing analytics for Pinterest (for example, sites like HelloInsights, Pinfluencer, Pinalytics, Pintics, and others.)
In a blog post, Pinterest notes the wide variety of brands already getting good traction, either on Pinterest itself or by making items easier to pin, including Anthropologie, Whole Foods, the Smithsonian, and Amazon.
Initially, the Pinterest business option (which has its own page on the site) allows brands to sign up and claim their names (moving away from the first name, last name requirement), and “secure access to new and upcoming business-specific features,” a Pinterest spokeswoman wrote. The business page currently features best practices for businesses on Pinterest, examples of what other brands have accomplished on the site, guides for adding pinning tools to websites, and new terms of service specifically for businesses. Brands already on Pinterest will be able to convert their pages to official business pages.
Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann, speaking recently at GigaOM’s RoadMap conference, said the company is competing for user attention in an increasingly distracted world. The company recently rolled out secret boards, allowing users to pin in private, and Android and iPad apps this past summer. The company is based in San Francisco and allows users to “pin” or mark images to personal boards, liking and comment on images posted by other accounts.