Pinterest just killed the top way its users make money from the site -- people are not happy about it

Pinterest has banned affiliate networks from its platform, according to VentureBeat, a move that will completely cut off the main source of income for the majority of the service’s top “pinners.”

Many users made money from Pinterest by posting pins of products with affiliate tags and links to websites where their followers could click through to purchase the items. The pinner would receive a cut of the sale.

Pinterest began moving affiliate links, redirects and trackers on Thursday night, according to VentureBeat. It regularly removes spammy affiliates, but now it has issued an all-out ban, targeting popular affiliate networks Hello Society and RewardStyle.

In an email to users (read it in full below) Pinterest says: “If you’ve participated in either of these affiliate networks [Hello Society and Reward Style], all your past pins will show up normally and still be clickable.”

In other words, the pins themselves won’t be deleted, but any chance of monetization through those affiliate networks has vanished.

Pinterest advises that there still is a way to make money from the service, such as being paid to curate a board or participating in paid social media marketing from a board, which involves Pinterest. However, those suggestions usually require an invite from a brand in question and there will be fewer opportunities than through using affiliate networks.

Business Insider contacted Pinterest for comment about the reasons why affiliates have been banned from the service. We did not yet get a response.

A Pinterest spokesperson gave VentureBeat this statement: “We are removing affiliate links to ensure we’re providing the best possible experience for Pinners. Recently, we observed affiliate links and redirects causing irrelevant Pins in feeds, broken links and other spammy behaviour. We believe this change will enable us to keep the high bar of relevancy and quality Pinners expect from Pinterest.”

However, some pinners are less than impressed: