An internal company survey last year asked Pinterest employees a simple question: Should the fast-growing social network make money on advertising or e-commerce?
While the results of the survey are not known, the company is now making a big push to generate revenue from advertising. It’s rolling out “promoted pins,” which allow companies to pay to have their products appear more prominently on Pinterest. It’s built partnerships with e-commerce sites like Zappos.com and Walmart.com and begun to pitch high-end brand advertising programs.
Yet Pinterest’s decision not to build a shopping service—long considered an obvious option for a site built around people “pinning” pictures of their favorite things—could leave an opening for more narrowly-focused, commerce-oriented sites that mimic the “pinning” but offer the products for sale too.