How does Pinterest make money?

With how useful and neat Pinterest is, as well as how popular it has been getting lately, they have to be raking in some serious cash, right?

Actually, as crazy as it sounds, the truth is that Pinterest hasn't really figured out how they're going to make money yet.  No, seriously.  Pinterest is just starting to figure out how they might profit from their success, after almost four years in business (from the time of us writing this article).  And you may ask, "How is that possible?"

Pinterest and their investor relations

Pinterest is taking a very unique approach to marketing themselves.  By offering their services for free, even to small businesses who want to use Pinterest to advertise and promote themselves, they're looking to find out two things:

  1. How many (new) users they can attract to the website, and (more specifically)...

  2. How many users follow posts and pages from businesses on Pinterest back to the websites of those businesses (where they supposedly buy stuff).

Based on those two things, Pinterest is looking to keep potential investors guessing as to how good Pinterest would be as a marketing tool for them.  This is why, while Pinterest doesn't have many established ways of making money yet, the company was estimated to be worth around $5 billion U.S. at the time of us writing this article.

Potential money-making models for Pinterest

As for how Pinterest MIGHT make money in the future, some potential avenues that have been speculated upon include:

  • Placing advertisements for paying businesses next to related posts (a feature called "Promoted Pins" that they recently launched)

  • Selling information to marketers about what people look for the most on Pinterest , in order to help those marketers know what products to sell, where to sell them, and who wants them

  • Selling control of the company to a computer or Internet mega-corporation like Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft

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