How Pinterest alternatives disclose affiliate linking

linkingAfter vilifying Pinterest for employing an affiliate link tracking program without clearly notifying users, we decided it was probably important to check out how the many Pinterest clones and alternatives out there were operating their sites.

First, a brief explanation of providing information about this tool. Basically, the Federal Trade Commission requires that websites are transparent about all their affiliate relations — users must be notified in some way that links on a site are tied elsewhere, and that the site in questioned is being commissioned for this link if it results in a purchase.

WeHeartIt

WeHeartIt is arguably the most popular Pinterest alternative. Upon visiting the site, you’ll immediately notice that it has advertisements on the sidebar, so you should probably be tipped off that nothing is being shoved under the rug here.

In the platform’s privacy section, there’s also a link explaining it uses VigLink to monetize links on its site. Click on that link and you’re sent straight to this disclaimer:

FTC Disclosure – Readers: The site that brought you here uses VigLink to automatically affiliate their commercial links. They’ve linked to this page because they want you to know that they sometimes get paid if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, the site only recommends products or services they use personally.”

Unfortunately, WeHeartIt is among the minority in how clear it makes this policy. Bonus points for transparency. 

TheFancy

We found an article from last year about Thingd, the company name behind TheFancy. According to the article, Thingd planned to use affiliate feed to create profit from its platform. “Thingd would share the affiliate fees if links leads to a purchase,” says SF Gate. “The company could also help private buyers and sellers of secondhand goods find each other and take a cut of the transactions (a la eBay).”

While TheFancy doesn’t come right out and clearly say it’s using links to profit like WeHeartIt does, there are plenty of clues buried in its TOS (under definitions, it mentions including its affiliates) and privacy policy. It’s actually about as vague and muddled as Pinterest’s explanation.

Curisma

This tech and gadget-focused site follows TheFancy’s cue and includes its affiliates in its definition, then later also talks about using a third party site for credit card transactions. It’s not the most obvious way to explain affiliate linking, but at least you know there’s e-shopping going on here.

viglinkWe inspected the photos linking to the site where you could purchase items, and found that VigLink was also being used, the same service that WeHeartIt uses. However, Curisma doesn’t have the same straight-forward notice that WeHeartIt does.

Minglewing

The recently launched Minglewing (from the privacy-focused minds of Facebook alternative Anybeat) takes heavy cues from Pinterest. Don’t bother looking through its TOS or privacy policies for affiliate linking admissions though, because the site doesn’t use them.

When asked, team member Brad Seraphin replied, “No, we don’t do anything like that on any of our sites.” Minglewing does vary from Pinterest, however, being as it’s more of a visual discussion room than a product referencing service. 

News

Facebook no longer lets you save your friends’ birthdays to your own calendar

Facebook quietly removed a feature that allowed users to export and sync their friends’ birthdays to an external calendar like iCal or Google Calendar. While you can still export upcoming events -- parties, get-togethers, and the like --…
Social Media

Looking to share some content? Here's how to repost on Instagram

Have you ever seen a cool picture on Instagram that you wanted to share? There's no official means of reposting content on Instagram, but there are a few workarounds. We break down the two most logical choices for getting the job done.
Mobile

Bitmoji lets you create personalized emojis to spice up your online chats

Looking for more interesting ways to use emoji when chatting? Bitmoji are personalized emoji that you design to look just like you -- and then create a whole keyboard of stickers that you can use with them. Here's what you should know.
Social Media

Your Twitter name can change with the times, just like you do — here's how

Despite what you may or may not have heard, Twitter names aren't actually set in stone. Check out our quick-hit guide on how to change your Twitter username and display name in less than five minutes.
News

Reddit is finally back online after an hours-long desktop outage

Reddit is back online for desktop users after an hours-long outage early Thursday morning. Reddit's status page said it was still investigating some residual issues, so users may still have some trouble accessing the site. 
Social Media

Here’s why Twitter went down for an hour earlier on Thursday

Twitter is finally back online after going down for users around the globe late Thursday morning. The hour-long disruption made Twitter the latest major social media network to go offline over the past month
Social Media

Facebook now allows you to opt out of those ads that target your tastes

Tired of seeing Facebook ads that aren’t relevant to you? Now you can not only opt out of ads from that company, but you can also see why the ad was shown to you in the first place.
How-To

Stop Facebook from tracking you and using targeted ads with these tips

Facebook and businesses that use the site track what pages you like, your political affiliation, and even try to guess your race. All of this is done so the site can target you with relevant ads. Here's how to opt out.
Social Media

YouTube offers creators more ways to boost their bank accounts

Whether you're a top YouTube creator or just breaking into the game, the video-streaming site has some new features designed to help you please your fans and increase your bank balance.
News

President Trump attacks Facebook Libra, says it’s not dependable like the dollar

President Trump attacked Facebook's new Libra cryptocurrency on Thursday, claiming it will have "little standing or dependability" and that Facebook would need to seek a banking charter if it wanted to move forward.
Social Media

The FTC will hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine over privacy violations

Facebook has agreed to a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its numerous “privacy missteps." Once it goes through, this would be the largest FTC fine for a major technology company – and a huge chunk of…
News

Lua uses animated emotions to help you keep your plants happy and healthy

The Lua Smart Planter is currently seeking funding on Indiegogo to make this smiling plant pot a reality. The device helps you take care of your plants by showing their needs through a series of animated faces.
Mobile

Flex your thumbs (and your brain) with these fun texting games

Gaming consoles keep getting more advanced, but you can still have fun with the good old Latin alphabet. Here are our picks for the best texting games, so you can make the most fun out of that limited data plan or basic cell phone.
News

Facebook says it won’t launch Libra until regulators are happy

Facebook says it won’t roll out its Libra cryptocurrency until it’s fully addressed regulatory concerns – though it added that regulation of the currency itself would largely happen in Switzerland, not the U.S.