Chances are, our paths will never cross. So I thought I’d write an open letter regarding your new job – Pinterest monetization. Maybe by some off chance, someone will point this out to you, which would be cool.
First, congratulations. Your time at Facebook created a stunning result, and that’s awesome. Now you’ve got a chance to create a Pinterest monetization system that changes ecommerce forever.
Let’s start with the obvious, (for those reading along). You and Ben have both been insiders in two of the Internet’s best examples of monetizing traffic via Display Ads. In Ben’s case, the Display Ad Team at Google. In your case the Facebook Advertising program, (I use and love both of them). Those two systems have created billions of dollars of value, helped small business owners, (such as my self), and countless other institutions, (like Northwest University – a place I love & work).
With your combined skills, it would be easy to envision a process of creating a Vickrey Auction driven Display Ad-esque monetization model on Pinterest. Wtih elegant engineering I’m sure you could even do it in a way that wouldn’t fundamentally alter the visual appeal of the site. It would certainly be accepted by Pinterest loyalists as, ‘the price of keeping Pinterest in business’, even if it wasn’t liked much by them.
But have you considered the other viable alternative? You could use an advertising model that has a Reverse Auction format at it’s heart, instead of a Vickrey Auction format.
Think about the back-end of Priceline.com, or better lastminute.com.
Granted, creating a reverse auction system might be frought with more engineering challenges, and it might take longer to unveil and perfect. But you could implement it on Pinterest without using ANY text or extra ad-focused visuals. Here is a diagram of how. I realize at this point, a Vickrey Auction system is a well worn path.
But let’s be honest, a Vickrey Auction is a model that has a prima facia appeal to (big) businesses trying to protect their brand & pricing power. A Reverse Auction has a prima facia appeal to consumers. Priceline is loved. Google Display Ads & Facebook Ads are tolerated.
If a Reverse Auction is even something you’d consider, then here is a full write up about how you could implement it, purely through a symbol system and be a consumer hero.
Regardless of what you do, I wish you all the luck in the world. Pinterest is insanely great.
All the best,
Ps. Hey, don’t forget to…