In the past few weeks, Pinterest has been giving hints of what direction this money will take them in. They've introduced Guided Search, which offers up more specific search term categories to point you in the right direction if you're just "exploring," which sets their image search up to compete with Google. And they're also slowly expanding their Promoted Pins strategy, which is where they're actually going to make money. Pinterest is working with a small batch of U.S. brands, from ABC Family to Gap brands to Ziploc, as they roll this form of advertising out. It's this strategy that's prompted Kevin Roose at New York magazine to predict that one day the company will eat "its competitors alive."
In his piece, Roose posits that Pinterest is dismissed because its so lifestyle-focused, which is essentially just code for its being dismissed because it's considered a product for women, who might be appreciated by brands for their buying power but aren't really respected because their interests aren't serious enough. Yet they're one of the few tech start-ups actually working actively to hire women.
But ultimately, despite Pinterest's serious image copyright issues, a Pinterest spokeswoman confirmed the biggest thing they have going for them: they've managed to bridge the gap between ads and content in a way that doesn't make people feel distrustful. "Users don't really look at them as ads," Malorie Lucich told Roose of Promoted Pins. For Pinterest, that's a huge win that outweighs the hilarity of the fact that they've built their company on the backs of tastefully arranged mason jars.