Pinterest is a social bookmarking site that uses pictures or videos instead of text. When users “pin” a website, Pinterest represents it with an image from the page. Ben Silbermann thought up the idea, and he and his co-founders Evan Sharp (who was a product designer at Facebook) and Paul Sciarra of Cold Brew Labs in Palo Alto, California, started the company in December, 2009.
The site’s growth has been breathtaking. Pinterest launched as a closed, invitation-only beta site in March 2010. Soon after, it became an open beta that allowed registration via an email request. In August, 2011, Time magazine named Pinterest as one of its “50 Best Websites of 2011.” That jump started Pinterest’s traffic. It went from about 120 thousand users in January 2011 to 1.2 million in August to over 11 million users in January 2012, according to Compete.com.
Pinterest’s users are obsessed with the site. As Josh Constine writes on TechCrunch, “With gorgeous photography, and links to shopping sites, Pinterest is becoming an obsession for flocks of women.” This visual social networking site seems to appeal mainly to gals. “AppData and Facebook’s advertising tool show that over 97% of Pinterest’s Facebook fans are women.” And they are loyal. Constine reports. One-fifth of its registered uses check in to the site at least once per day.
Treehouse Logic, an e-commerce website design company, offered some opinions about why Pinterest is so compelling. “Pinterest has tapped into the psychology of shopping in a way that most ecommerce business models have missed,” they write. “Search is about finding a needle in a haystack, Pinterest is true serendipitous discovery.”
Also, because the site uses images instead of text, “It’s easy to use, visual, creative and it’s not invasive or threatening, i.e. no risk of over-sharing or spamming your friends.”
“It’s about style.”