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How To Make $1,000 a Day with Pinterest

written by John Chow on March 29, 2012

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Yesterday, my friend Zac Johnson posted a story about a Pinterest spammer who was making over $1,000 a day off the social networking site. While that isn’t a lot of money, the spammer (who goes by the name “Steve”) got big media coverage. He got so much coverage that he retracted the story and now says it was all a hoax.

Whether Steve’s story was a hoax or not doesn’t really matter. What matter is that it is possible to make a lot of money off Pinterest, and you don’t have to spam the network to do it. Here’s how.

The Pinterest Business Model

Pinterest is ideally suited for affiliate marketers. The network serves a mostly female audience that loves to shop. The way to make money off them is to post, or “pin”, items that would be of interest to these women and link those items with an affiliate link. This is why you see so many pins with items from Amazon.com. Ten times out of ten, that Amazon link will be an affiliate link.

Before you go blasting Pinterest with your Amazon links, you need to do a couple of things.

Cloak The Affiliate Links

If you’re going to post affiliate links to Pinterest, you must cloak the links. Pinterest uses a service call Skimlinks that scans their network for affiliate links, and then change those links to their affiliate ID!

You should cloak your link with a custom short URL. I wouldn’t recommend using a well known service like Bit.ly or Tiny URL. Chances are, Skimlinks have them in their database of links to skim. The best link cloaking service to use is LinkTrackr.

Not only does LinkTrackr allows you to monitor clicks and conversion, you can wrap the links around a custom short URL that will be outside the Skimlinks database. This ensure that your affiliate links won’t be changes to the Pinterest affilate ID, and you’ll get credit for the sale.

In the above pin, you can see I’ve used LinkTrackr to link the GoPro with my own JCLink.me URL that redirects to my Amazon affiliate link. Notice at the end of the URL, I added a “pin” sub ID. This is how I track where the traffic comes from (on my blog, the link is jclink.me/gopro-blog).

Host The Images On Your Server

You should host all the images you pin on your server. Pinterest links all the images back to their source. If you’re pinning items right from Amazon, clicking on the image will take a user to Amazon. Since you can’t link an image with your affiliate ID, it’s best to send the user to the site where you host the image and post the link there.

Don’t Spam

The Pinterest spammers use bots to automate the process of creating accounts and posting pins. I don’t recommend you do this. Like Facebook, Pinterest will get better at detecting and banning spam pins. You should take a long-term view if you want to make money off Pinterest. Spend an hour or so a day and post pins of stuff you love. Link those pins with a LinkTrackr link and keep building. In a month or so, you’ll have a Pinterest page with thousands of items all with affiliate links, and should make some decent coin from it.

Happy pinning!

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{ 93 comments }

KennyFabre March 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

John
 
I saw that post on my facebook wall yesterday, PRETTY FUNNY like you said whether its a hoax or not its very interesting that you say we should host the picture in our own server, but a $1,000 with pinterest is dam good being that its new and all
 
Kenny Fabre
http://www.kfm24.com

Robert Moulinneuf March 29, 2012 at 11:11 am

http://pinterest.com/moulinneuf/
Vs 
http://pinterest.com/johnchow/
 
your account seem empty ? ;-) or I got your identitytheft twins ?

Saqib March 29, 2012 at 11:13 am

Why can’t we manually upload an image and then use the affiliate link, instead of hosting the image on our server.

John Chow March 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm

@Saqib All images are uploaded to Pinterest, but they are linked to its source. That’s why you have to host them.

TabletCrunch March 30, 2012 at 5:46 am

 @John Chow  @Saqib So by having to host the image, we in essence need the traffic to come to our site first > and then click thru again to Amazon?  Basically, we are creating a blog post on our site > sharing that post URL on Pinterest > user from Pinterest clicks the image which takes them to our blog post > then the user has to click the image on our blog post to go to Amazon?
 
Am I missing something here?
 
Can you tell I’m confused…

Waynes Cellphone Diary March 30, 2012 at 7:42 am

 @John Chow  @Saqib  What about the picture / image description that is saved with the image itself? Would the person not see this link in the description? First they see the image, then they read whats underneath it…isnt that how it is?

Noel April 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

John,

I would be greatful if you could expand on this a little, I have read all the comments below and i’m still confused about hosting the image on you server. Do you send traffic to you blog first, i can see where this useful but is that what you meant.

Thanks in advance.

Noel.

Fishing Blog March 29, 2012 at 11:43 am

hmm pinteresting

EliePalima March 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I receive bunch of emails about “make money with pinterest” and selling me stuff. so… this is how they do it! :D

OnlineMoneyKid March 29, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Awesome article John, will definitely check Pinterest out.
 
Cheers
Lloyd
http://www.makethemoneyonline.com

elic March 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Ok, really interested in doing this. I’m a stay at home mom. Not sure I understand how this works exactly…Am I personally selling the items on amazon…shipping etc from my house? 

John Chow March 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

@elic Amazon does all the work. You are just an affiliate.

elic March 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm

 @John Chow  @elic Thank you for responding so quickly! So I create an associates account with amazon? I noticed as I was filling out the application..it was asking me about my website…do I need a website with products on it? I know how to pin things on pinterest…just wondering how I pin using Amazon?

elic March 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm

 @John Chow  @elic Ok…figured out how to sign up and all on Amazon…found a product…I created a blog…I copied the html code and pasted it into my blog…but when I click on the link, my Amazon Associates ID isn’t on the page anywhere…what am I doing wrong?

John Chow March 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong. The URL that Amazon gives are very long. You might have to look at it closely to see your ID in it. 

Life Insurance Over 85 March 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Never expect we can make money with Pinterest too. I guess it is using the power of images to attract the eyes of ladies. Some ladies saw the product image so attractive that they couldn’t help to buy it.

Life Insurance Over 85 March 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm

John, I assume that Pinterest has no objection that we use their website to sell affiliate products? The reasons are because the main objectives of the program is to encourage people to share their photos, preferences and lifestyle but not so much in money making.
 
Also, I have seen tons of people following me and asked me to follow them back. Is this how we can encourage people to follow us so that we can keep selling things to them like Twitter?

John Chow March 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm

 @Life Insurance Over 85 I’m sure Pinterest would rather make money on those links than have you make it. That’s why they’re using Skimlinks. Promoting Pinterest is the same as promoting any other social network. Just do the same as you do on Facebook and Twitter. 

Martin Staten March 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Definitely an interesting strategy. Very valuable information. It’s worth a shot!
 
FREE Internet Marketing Library! http://martinstaten.com 
 

Abhik March 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Awesome!! Time for some research now.

fatcowbusiness March 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Hey John nice article! I read during this month the head of Pinterest backed down and is no longer using skimlinks to change the affiliate links to theirs, he said it was just something temporary they were testing. WIll be interesting to see what changes pinterest implements with all these stories about spamming in the media!

HealthWrong March 30, 2012 at 12:49 am

 @fatcowbusiness Like to know where you got this information from? I never read anything about backing down of skimlinks. Do you have the link?

fatcowbusiness March 30, 2012 at 8:45 am

 @HealthWrong Hi Heath! This article said Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann “indicated that the use of Skimlinks was a test, not a business plan, and that Pinterest had stopped using Skimlinks a week before I wrote the original story on the subject.”
Pinterest fesses up about affiliate links:
http://www.dailydot.com/business/pinterest-ben-silbermann-josh-davis-blogger/
Anyone have any more info what the current status is? According to them using skimlinks for affiliate links was just a test they were trying out and may have kept happening longer as a glitch but is something they are no longer using
cheers, Dave

HealthWrong March 30, 2012 at 12:54 am

I started my Pinterest account last week and I got so many requests to follow me and to follow them back. I guess there are already macros around that can facilitate this. Let’s see how can Pinterest tackle this problem. Any program that becomes popular on the internet will get spammed and abused. That’s for sure!

Cherry March 30, 2012 at 3:03 am

Is it true? Gonna try this.. Maybe pinterest is the luck in making money online! Thanks for the post!

Cool Lyrics March 30, 2012 at 4:57 am

Interesting. So many ways to make money on the net. Will give it a try.

iheartwordpress March 30, 2012 at 5:19 am

you can only speculate, since you have never done it, sick of marketing experts saying it can be done, but havent done it themselves.

MoneySavingLisa March 30, 2012 at 5:20 am

Great tips! I just received my invite and I plan to find ways to use advantage of it.

JamesW March 30, 2012 at 5:25 am

These are some interesting tips John, and that trick with the image is really good one. I totally forgot about hosting image on another place. But pinterest is so nice that we shouldn’t spam too much our followers, pinterest makes us feel like we’re part of the group :)
 

Chozen March 30, 2012 at 5:26 am

How about using PrettyLinkPro, as appose to a paid monthly service like LinkTrackr?

Matthew Loop March 30, 2012 at 5:31 am

He’s obviously using a bot to game the system. I’m sure he’s making money, too. Might be lying about the amount, though.

virender14 March 30, 2012 at 5:32 am

hi John sir  iam begginer in affiliate marketing can  I have not yet sold a single  product of clickbank

RichardYkGoh March 30, 2012 at 5:50 am

It is just a a matter of time before Pinterest traffic becomes over saturated with spammers and then mighty Google will start to lower the rank for such sites just like what it has done with article directories and social networks such as Squidoo and HubPages
 

Frieder March 30, 2012 at 5:58 am

Hi John,
Isn’t the link cloaking prohibited in Amazon Affiliate linking requirement ?
 
General Requirements Applicable to All Links:
You are solely responsible for the content, style, and placement of each link that you place on your site and for ensuring that Special Links (whether created by you or made available to you by us) include the appropriate formatting necessary for us to properly track referrals of customers from your site. For example, you must include your Associates ID or “tag” (appearing as XXXXX-20, or such other format as we may designate) as a parameter in the URL of each link you place on your site to the Amazon Site. In addition, you must not use a link shortening service in a manner that makes it unclear that you are linking to an Amazon Site.
 
Regards

Surfman1977 March 30, 2012 at 6:01 am

Hey John so if I was to sign up for the Jclink.me/Linktrackr what program is best for a new account. Assuming I dedicate 1 hour a day for 30 days as you suggest?

Guest March 30, 2012 at 6:18 am

Looks like Pinterest has the perfect model.
Endless supply of buyers for which they make commissions & affiliate marketers to pin items they can steal commissions from.
 
Then there is this post that is attempting to make money by convincing everyone here to sign up for
Linktrackr to earn residuals.
 
If you study Skimlinks you will see that they que in on your text as well so in the above example they would override your link because of the GoPro Hero 2 and you will miss your commissions.
 
Skimlinks is going to ruin affiliate marketing in so many ways.
 

Bryan_Knowlton March 30, 2012 at 6:29 am

Thanks John, sound like another fine way to make some extra money online.   I would probably spend only a few hours a week and promote other products and services that I am already making some affiliate commissions with.  Thanks for the tip!

Tribalblogs March 30, 2012 at 6:30 am

The thing about Pinterest, which I have great respect for, is that they started the site for the sole purpose of using Skimlinks to make money as an affiliate. They just did it well, made it look nice and more power to them. They don’t skim all the links (and there is no reason you can’t sign up for Skim Links on your websites and make money that way). They only skim the links that are left free. At least my affiliate links are still there. If you don’t put a link in they will.
 
Of course it will soon get overridden with spammers and will be ruined much like Facebook and Twitter. The vast majority of people won’t ever come close to making $1000 in a lifetime on Pinterest let along in a day. Sorry, but if you believe anyone is making that kind of money besides the owner I have some swamp land or possible a bridge I’d like to talk to you about. Most affiliate marketers make their money by selling books  and products that tell other people how to make money as an affiliate. 

RA March 30, 2012 at 6:52 am

@Tribalblogs $1000 in a lifetime? I definitely think $1000/day is possible on Pinterest, FB, Twitter, etc. It all depends on the niche, consistency, and hard work. No one said it’s easy, but it is possible. Yeah, it may take a year to build to that amount, but who cares it’s free advertising. Ok, Pinterest caters to women…Pin a 1000 images that are over a $100 each and with Amazon affiliate links. You would only have to ear a $1 a day from each image to make $1000/day. The key is to make the images have the most potential to go viral. I recently took a course that teaches how to use viral images to get tons of traffic. The owner of the course got 250K visitors in 48 hours with one viral campaign!

Tribalblogs March 30, 2012 at 7:36 am

 @RA  @Tribalblogs Some people may be able to pull it off but most won’t. On paper it is doable but if the return takes a year most people will drop out long before they see anything. I’d love to see your results after pinning 1000 images. The problem is, most people don’t click on the images. They repin them but rarely do they care to go to the pages because no one has that kind of time. Sure the cake pops get pinned and repinned but who has time to actually make them? And there is the flaw, Pinterest is filled with women who have no spare time except to look at pretty picture on Pinterest. The big joke among users or Pinterest is they spend so much time pinning they don’t have time to actually do any of the crafts, books or anything else they are pinning. 

RA March 30, 2012 at 8:01 am

@Tribalblogs That’s pretty much true with anything in life “On paper it is doable but if the return takes a year most people will drop out long before they see anything” for example medical school and almost any make money online venture (but the online venture has so much trial and error and $$$ wasted on crap products). Yeah, you are probably right. You just have to have a very powerful call to action within the images OR even better what happens is that ALL that repinning builds TONS of links to your website (more of a reason to host images on your site and not direct amazon affiliate links). With the direct links, you just are building free backlinks for Amazon. These backlinks will help your website rank very high in SERPs.

Tribalblogs March 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm

 @RA  Absolutely. I’m not dogging on affiliate marketing or Pinterest. Pinning is a great way to get traffic and build up readership. But be realistic. There is no free lunch and if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. Making money online takes a lot of work but these products are sold to people who usually won’t do the work necessary because they are looking to make money fast. Sadly, most of the products that are sold for affiliate marketing hype ‘lots of money fast’ and it just doesn’t work that way. There are a lot of ‘gurus’ who prey on people who have little money to spare but want to make money online in a short amount of time. There is no magic bullet or auto pilot software program, ebook, etc that will do that. Affiliate marketing takes a lot of work. 

Eleazar March 30, 2012 at 8:35 am

 @RA  @Tribalblogs  I think it is Chris Munch teaching Hook Pigeon.

fas March 30, 2012 at 7:21 am

Wow, I never knew it sounds so easy.

Waynes Cellphone Diary March 30, 2012 at 7:33 am

Hmmm……interesting article. I have a pinterest account and never thought of using PINTEREST to try and make moola from it… Hmmmm  :D

jpnetco1 March 30, 2012 at 7:42 am

When ever you pin anything you you can click on view your pin and then click on edit and then change the url to where the image is directed and put in your affiliate link there. However you probably want to be sure that the image is relevant to the link.

Dan Mihaliak March 30, 2012 at 8:14 am

Since I heard about Pinterest I have been trying to decide how to do this. I will not send the reader directly to Amazon or Whoever first. I will send them to my blog post

Stefanie March 30, 2012 at 8:19 am

LOVE this! I’ve only tried it with one pin, but I think it’s time to expand! :)

Joey Kissimmee March 30, 2012 at 8:37 am

In my opinion, Pinterest is on it’s way to be the “next big thing”. Same thing happened with twitter a few years back. I think it’s gonna be more of a viral type of thing. If you can learn how to tap into that part of it, you’ll be way ahead of everyone else.

moneca March 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

my goodness mr chow, how appropriate that is coming out when i am just getting into pinning via @blairkaplan and @georgemoen in vancouver…we are learning lots about this new way of social shopping.  thanks for all the great tips and i will definitely use the linktrackr when i get more into the fold!!!

David Knapp March 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I keep trying this but Pinterests keeps informing me that my images aren’t large enough.  How large do they need to be?

David Knapp March 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I figured out what I was doing wrong.
 
I don’t think one can use Google URL Shorteners either.  I can’t use the LinkTrackr because it cost money.

Birdie28a March 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I tried this and yes it does really work I am not up to $1,000 day using this system but it does drive traffic to your site.  Another trick is once someone comes to your site ask them to like your page on Facebook. 
 
Build a fan page around whatever the image is “Weight Loss” :) and now every time you make a post “Affiliate Link” they will see it.

Brendan Carl March 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Wow, I never actually thought someone could make money off of Pinterest. I’ve read some things about it, but I just thought it was bull. I guess I was wrong!
 
I think I understand how Pinterest works (I’ve never actually used it, personally or business-related). You pin an image, and people see it. And, I am assuming that people that you aren’t connected to on the site can see the images you pin (that is, if you can even “connect” with people on the site).
 
That seems really useful for Amazon affiliate sites. I cannot see it being of much use for general blogs, but if the blog is in a specific niche, then this could work great. I will definitely look more into this in the future. Thanks for the great share!

jpnetco March 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm

 @Brendan Carl Yes you can connect with people, you can follow and be followed.
And as for benefiting general blogs, you can really start to drive traffic there too.

smanjolo March 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm

My take is to use pinterest to drive traffic to your blog where you can grown your list and… you know the drill.
 
I have come to learn that your blog is the only place where you have at least 80% control on monetization method.
 

together2study March 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Great share.  I’m learning about affiliate. Thank you very much and hope to receive more help from you.
Myblog: http://togetherstudy.com

westmemphisthree March 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Actually, you can ‘pin it’ from amazon, and then change the link to your affiliate code on your Pinterest board.
 
The other thing is that after Pinterest got into hot water for changing links, they’ve stopped so the links you put on will stay put.  

Andrea Hypno March 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Pinterest substituted links with their own affiliate links? Those guys are money-maker geniuses, they’ve really created a money-making machine, for them. Retaining all rights forever on images pinned etc. Maybe not much on the side of being ethic. I know that now they’ve changed part of their TOS but really is there a better way to obtain a free copyright on such an enormous number of images?
Very interesting post.

windlyu March 30, 2012 at 10:30 pm

you can ” pin it ” product in your aStore Amazon ;) don’t need show link below comment ” Pin “

bihar March 31, 2012 at 4:29 am

I am sure its possible. The tips that you have given are brilliant. I got an email saying that they can use the images for themselves. I am not sure what they are doing. Perhaps they are diverting the links to theirs. 

Americas News Now March 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Thanks for sharing John Chow dot Com

Ali Turab March 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Hey how to sign up early. Because it is taking time to send invite? Any help?

Rosemary Colberth March 31, 2012 at 10:40 pm

They didn’t honour my request

carmengreeneonline April 1, 2012 at 12:21 am

This is a very cool tool indeed.

Dinheiro1980 April 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm

 @carmengreeneonline Concordo com você a ferramenta é realmente incrível
http://www.sitesbaratosrj.com.br

naseemforlife April 1, 2012 at 6:41 am
rabbistarak April 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm

 @naseemforlife nice way of building backlinks but why are you posting three comments on 1 post and anyways your comments are awful.

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All The Best Ways In One Place.

Dinheiro1980 April 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

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http://www.sitesbaratosrj.com.br

Sunganani.com April 4, 2012 at 7:35 am

 @abdelly Except the investment of time

Rosemary Colberth April 2, 2012 at 3:16 am

But I make good money with this new revolution: http://www.xr.com/kj3l

rajkanuri April 3, 2012 at 5:34 am

sounds genuinely interesting.. thanks for the share..
 
http://www.droidedition.com/

Cameron Highland Apartment Tips April 4, 2012 at 7:12 am

awesome share… that man should be very rich right now.. damn

Sunganani.com April 4, 2012 at 7:34 am

This is what I did on my blog:I hosted my picture on my server, The picture name was the title of the blog post, I added the affiliate link from Amazon (used bit.ly), I am also promoting the product on the post the picture links to.
 
So I am hopping to do two things here: get traffic to my blog and, hopefully, make sales.
 
Perhaps may not be $1,000 a day but every dollar counts.
 
Key is to keep on testing.
 
Thanks for the post John

bihar April 4, 2012 at 9:33 am

John I had to come back and read the whole post again. I don’t use any link shortening service but I might sign up to the Linktrackr as you mentioned. I price of $10 seems reasonable enough. You have suggested a brilliant idea. Thank you..
http://www.howtomakemoneyonlineideas.com

JoaoSemedo April 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Thanks for this useful post pinterested has grown a lot in the last moths, it’s an awesome social networkI hate spam so this tips are great to bulid a solid business, thanks

WorkFromHomeGirl April 5, 2012 at 11:33 pm

One thing comes to mind is that, aren’t copy right being violated. 

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AdnanS April 8, 2012 at 8:41 am

I am a software developer and like many I also want to use Amazon affiliate Id to earn a bit of money.
I have been thinking of a system where people like you register and give info like their Affiliate ID and my system can generate a non-Amazon URL for them showing Amazon Data. I will offer both Free and Premium Version with minimal amount.
What do you think, would you like to use such system? Instead of making separate Wordpress Blogs to put Amazon URLs, all you will need to submit Amazon URL of your choice and it gives you a new URL.
DO let me know. If I see potential then I can work on something like that in next 4-7 days.
 

dweiums April 9, 2012 at 8:49 am

I have not been able to get into Pinterest – it tells me to wait for an invitation. Any help here?

Tribalblogs April 9, 2012 at 9:50 am

 @dweiums If you tell me your email I can send you an invite

dweiums April 9, 2012 at 10:34 am

 @Tribalblogs THANKS! Just add @gmail.com to my name. So cool.

s2556 April 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm
Greenlandng.com April 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm

WOW am happy to have read this post, john thanks for sharing i know Pinterest i would like to start using it for my site, but my problem now is that i don’t know were and how to share software programs from my site. i would love to recommend software’s through Pinterest but on what bards or category would be best ?

Bharat Chowdary April 18, 2012 at 10:51 am

This is quite interesting stuff, so after this lengthy process we can earn some good amounts. Thanks John.

Noel April 23, 2012 at 10:36 am

Hi All,

Do you need a website to sigh up for amazon?

Thanks,

Noel.

Kevin May 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I use your link cloaking and you insert your id into it ..well john you are really smart but there are more guys who are smarter than you …after that you stop this service ..what the heck

stockposition.com May 10, 2012 at 10:55 pm

A lot of spammers on Pinterest now. I click a lot of pins that lead to fake Pinterest squeeze pages and ask people to complete email submits.

abdee May 11, 2012 at 10:26 pm

is there any method to cloaking amazon link without using third party like LinkTrackr ?

Ehsan May 14, 2012 at 2:04 am

Hi John, Thanks for sharing the way of making money from Pinterest.