I am trying to add affiliate links to Pinterest. Commission Junction states that you must include their complete html code including image source. When I enter this on a pinterest picture, it says invalid URL. Any ideas? CJ says “You must include all the above html in your links. Any missing html, including the image source, will prevent the link from tracking properly and result in a loss of commissions” but their code begins with <a href= and isn’t just a URL…
I am of mixed emotions with this particular question, actually, as one of the things I really enjoy about Pinterest is that it’s not overrun with spam, hype, marketing and advertisements. There’s another aspect too: Pinterest has gotten more than a bit of grief about the fact that it has at various times used a third-party utility called SkimLinks to automatically add affiliate links to external links to sites with affiliate programs but that don’t already have an affiliate ID included. (there was some misunderstanding about whether they were replacing aff IDs with their own, but the company insists they’re not doing that)
The other piece of this is that Commission Junction really wants you to include a tiny tracking ‘beacon’, a 1×1 graphic that’s essentially invisible, so they can monitor usage of affiliate links and make sure there’s no fraud. If you only use the affiliate link to whatever page you target but don’t include the image, there’s a chance that your sale won’t be credited and you’ll have basically wasted your time.
Add these up and you’re basically out of luck: If you do need the image tracker for your CJ affiliate links, there’s no way to do that with the way that you add target links on Pinterest.
Let’s have a look anyway.
Here’s a CJ affiliate link:
id%3D2375879%26skuId%3D19879323%26type%3Dproduct%26ci_src%3D11138%26ci_sku%3D19879323&cjsku=19879323″ target=”_blank” onmouseover=”window.status=’http://www.bestbuy.com’;return true;” onmouseout=”window.status=’ ‘;return true;”>
Ugh. Complicated. But if you look closely, you’ll see that there’s still just a core URL embedded in the above, a URL that is the value in the segment href=”xx”. Pull that out it and it’s:
Let’s paste that into Pinterest as the destination URL for an image and see what happens.
It’s a bit hard to see what’s going on because the URL is so darn long, but I’m editing the image I’ve previously uploaded and simply changing the link from the original site to the CJ affiliate link shown above.
The only indication that something odd is afoot is the “From dpbolvw.net” on the top right:
Otherwise it sure seems to work just fine: when you click on the Chronicle poster, you get bounced to the Commission Junction affiliate link, then forwarded on to Best Buy. Then again, the Commission Junction terms of service specify that you shouldn’t be adding links on third-party sites with your affiliate ID anyway.
Which means that as with much on the Internet the question isn’t can you do it? but rather should you do it? I’ve already commented on that earlier, however, so I’ll leave it up to you.
I will say this: It’s not my plan to use any affiliate inks on posts I make to Pinterest. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary. Instead, think about whether you could write a blog entry about the item you want to link to, then “pin” your blog page. Users click through, read your commentary and endorsement, then they click on the product and hit the affilate link. All on the up-and-up and completely consistent with CJ and Pinterest community guidelines and terms of service.