It seems a day doesn’t go by without Advertising Age, Mashable, or Adweek mentioning something about the hottest social media out there, Pinterest. All this attention led me to conduct my own investigation and decide if it was worth all the hype or destined to be just another Groupon.
I started by requesting an invite, getting my profile set up, and exploring all the different boards and brands on Pinterest. I learned a lot and liked the way brands like Peugeot and Whole Foods are using this platform. I like the simple design and user interface and unlike some social networking destinations, Pinterest isn’t trying to be everything to everybody. Going to Facebook is like trying to make a choice at The Cheesecake Factory when you haven’t eaten in two days. Too many choices. For example, you can check-in, post photos, share links, comment, play games, find deals, and update your status, to name a few. I don’t think there is anything wrong with carving out a niche and owning it and I think Pinterest is hitting a home run by giving users the choice to log in with Twitter or Facebook.
Is Pinterest a flash in the pan or is it here to stay?
The short answer to the question above is yes, but I do see several challenges down the road for Pinterest. I don’t think they’re major challenges, but a crusading copyright activist or someone who feels their privacy was compromised by the way Pinterest is making money off of their users pins may turn some people off. But don’t worry, more rabid Pinners will move right in.
On the copyright front I don’t see how Pinterest is any different from other social media that allow the posting of pictures. All pins link back to the source giving credit to the owner of the image and helping drive traffic to the website where the image came from. In the terms and conditions Pinners are instructed not to pin copyrighted images or images that they don’t have permission to use. Is that radically different than what’s already out there? The real problem is with the copyright laws themselves. They are antiquated and have’nt been adapted to electronic materials. I think this issue will be talked about a lot, but I don’t think things will change that much.
The other potential challenge I see has to do with the way Pinterest makes their money. They have algorithms that scan the thousands of images for links back to retailers that have affiliate programs. When they find these types of links Pinterest adds a code to the link that entitles Pinterest to a portion of the fee if a sale is made. I think this is a creative way to make money without having to rely on advertisers, but the questionable piece is that Pinterest is not disclosing this practice to their users. This could create some noise about privacy and questions as to why Pinners aren’t getting a cut of the affiliate money or being told about the practice. Something like this could cause some Pinners to run, but like privacy, which is a subject for another post, it will be talked about a lot while people keep pinning.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.
You also have the ability to Repin, like, comment, and follow other peoples images and boards. You have request an invite to join the sight, but I don’t loose any sleep over this process. It only takes a couple of days and I don’t think they are too exclusive.