From social community to marketing channel – what’s next for Pinterest?

In between being deluged by retweets of articles “How to manage your brand using Pinterest”, I noticed, on Pinterest, the first user comment complaining of all of the advertisers appearing on the site. Not that I’m surprised, but now I’m waiting to see what happens next. What will happen to the Pinterest pioneer users – will they stay? Will they go? How will Pinterest be able to retain the authenticity of the experience, that’s been so critical to their success thus far? I should say, from an initial user perspective, I LOVE Pinterest. I frequent the site almost daily. It makes me feel like I have a better sense of what people are responding to in real time. It makes me feel like part of a community who values the same things I do (although I could do with less wedding stuff and more recipes). And it gives me ideas that stoke my creative fires. All in easily digested beautiful photos that I can access on my terms. Such a great idea.

But now that they’re mainstream, a new advertising channel, what will happen to my perceived value of the experience? As a frequent user, I worry that Pinterest will go from a place to share great ideas, to a place to sell stuff. The second those beautiful “pins” go from a great idea that I should try because someone else loved it to a marketer’s advertisement trying to sell me something, it becomes a different experience altogether. And given the comment I referenced earlier in this post, I have to wonder how other members of the Pinterest community will respond too.