Monday, April 9, 2012

5 things you should know about Pinterest

Pinterest is the hottest new social network in town. Here are five things you need to know about the website that has everyone buzzing.

1. What is it?

Pinterest is a social network that lets users create and manage image collections based on topics such as hobbies, events, people or anything else they like. The website is reminiscent of boards that people use at home/ office to "pin" articles/ photographs they like.
Pinterest launched as a "beta" website to a closed set of users in March 2010. It's now "invitation only", though anyone can request an invitation.
2. Basic concepts

A "pin" is an image added to Pinterest, either from a link or directly uploaded by the user. A pin may also include captions. Images pinned from websites, include link-back to the original page. Once something is pinned, another user can "repin" that and add it to his/ her own board. A user can have multiple "boards", which is nothing but a collection of pins, typically organized by topic. Users can "follow" specific boards or users, in which case they subscribe to all boards created by that user.
3. Popularity

As of March 2012, Pinterest is already the third most popular social network in the United States after Facebook and Twitter. It beats Twitter and Facebook in terms of number of users at this point in the lifecycle - Twitter and Facebook had 3 million and 6 million users respectively after 2 years of launch, while Pinterest had over 10.4 million users 24 months after launch. Note: Google Plus steals leads this battle by the proverbial mile, with over 90 million users as per official estimates, while unofficial ones put it beyond 100 million users. This is less than an year after its launch.
4. Demographics and celebrity users

Interestingly, around 80% of Pinterest users are women. Most of Pinterest users are based in the US, though the website is now starting to take-off internationally. (Source: comScore)
The top brands on Pinterest reflect this, with brands like Better Home and Gardens, Whole Foods etc. amongst the most followed brands on Pinterest. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and US President Barack Obama are amongst the celebrities pinning it up on Pinterest.
5. Funding and business model

In early 2011, the company received 10 million USD Series A financing led by Jeremy Levine of Bessemer Venture Partners. Since then it has received two additional rounds of fundings, amounting to 27 million USD (October 2011) and 37.5 million USD (March 2012).
Pinterest makes money by using its affiliate code in links to products pinned on its website. Due to the limited number of links that actually correspond to commercial products, this does not amount to much. The challenge for Pinterest now is to look for additional sources of revenue by tapping into the fast growing user-base.