This article was published on March 14, 2012

Pinning for a cause: how one user makes money from Pinterest, and why she’s giving it away

Pinning for a cause: how one user makes money from Pinterest, and why she’s giving it away
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

It would seem that just about everyone is coming up with ways to monetize Pinterest, except for Pinterest itself. At least that’s what they would have us believe. Apart from the news emerging that the site was ‘testing’ one model with affiliate links provider, Skimlinks, Pinterest itself has kept very quiet.

That hasn’t stopped other users from coming up with ways to turn Pinterest into a money-generating venture for themselves.

One example we recently came across is a new digital and print magazine – Pinned Monthly.

The magazine is a curated ‘best of Pinterest’, highlighting some of the most interesting items that have been pinned that month.

The first question on your mind is probably the same question that has been plaguing Pinterest itself – what about copyright issues? Pinned Monthly only includes items in the magazine after having gained permission from the Pinterest user to do so.

An interview with Pinned Monthly founder, Ms. Pin

We caught up with the elusive ‘Ms. Pin’, the Pinterester behind the project, to find out more about the magazine, and why she’s doing this.

She told The Next Web, “The inspiration behind starting the magazine was a passion for Pinterest and the great content that it helps surface, combined with a want to create a slightly different take on a traditional magazine.”

She adds, “I see great value in crowd-curation and community – having the Pinterest audience itself highlight what it likes, is interested in and would like to see in a magazine, rather than having it selected for them by a team of editors. That’s not to say that I don’t think that system works, but I think there’s room for alternative ways of doing things.”

With over 11 million Pinterest users generating and re-sharing content, driving more traffic than Twitter itself, Pinterest has shot into the top 30 most visited websites in the US. With the sheer amount of content, you’re very possibly missing out on a lot of interesting pins. Pinned Monthly aims to address that.

Ms. Pin explains, “Like many enthusiastic Pinners, I spend a lot of time on the site and blogs viewing and pinning a great number of wonderful things. However, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, to not have the time to appreciate all of the great things you discover and to miss out on some great finds.”

Enter Pinned Monthly. “I personally wanted a round up of the best things on Pinterest and thought that others might too. Having something in a variety of formats provides flexibility too, so I’m not tied to the computer to get my Pinterest fix.”

Doing it for a good cause

Now, whether or not you agree with a third party monetizing a service that someone else is running, Pinned Monthly is actually an entirely non-profit endeavour.

Ms. Pin says, “I’m sensitive to the fact that what we’re planning to do is reproduce someone else’s content. Whilst doing that for-profit is not without precedent (e.g. Hacker Monthly) and all of our contributors have opted-in (which also resolves any copyright issues), I think this is a model more people would be happy to contribute to.”

All proceeds from Pinned Monthly are going to Room to Read, a global organization dedicated to literacy and gender equality in education.

Ms. Pin explains, “I think it’s a nice fit for the Pinterest user-base who are predominantly young, educated women. I’m hoping Pinned Monthly can be a win-win for its readers – providing a valuable product whilst enabling them to give back in some way.”

To see the content that will be featured in the magazine, you can check out Pinned Monthly’s own Pinterest account.

Ms. Pin says, “Pinned Monthly won’t be for everyone, after all they can access the content for free themselves (and we make this easy for people to do by following our boards on Pinterest), but I think some will see value in its curated content, quality layout and portable convenience, combined with our philanthropic aims.”

The first issue, which is coming soon, will be available in PDF, MOBI and ePUB formats for $3, while the print issue will be available for $9. If you’re desperate to get a monthly Pinterest fix you can sign up for a a 12-month digital subscription for $12.99, or a 12-month digital and print subscription for $89.

All TNW readers can also take advantage of an awesome giveaway which will get you the first digital issue of the magazine for free. Just sign up to the Pinned Monthly mailing list using the promo-code TNW-READER and you’ll get the first issue as soon as it’s published.

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