Pinterest is the latest website creating a firestorm of attention across the Internet. You may have seen your friends flooding your Facebook news feed with Pinterest posts and wondering where they are all coming from. Could it be the next big thing in social networking?
Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies and more. Users can browse other pinboards for inspiration, ‘re-pin’ images to their own collections and/or ‘like’ photos.
Pinterest’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting”via a global platform of inspiration and idea sharing. Pinterest allows its users to share ‘pins’ on both Twitter and Facebook, which allows users to share and interact with a broad community.
Founded by Ben Silbermann, of West Des Moines, Iowa, the site is managed by Cold Brew Labs and funded by a small group of entrepreneurs and inventors. It is one of the “fastest growing social services in the world.”
Development of Pinterest began in December 2009, and the site launched as a closed beta in March 2010. The site proceeded to operate in invitation-only open beta. Co-founder Ben Silbermann said he personally wrote to the site’s first 5,000 users offering his personal phone number and even meeting with some of its users. Nine months after launch the website had 10,000 users. Silbermann and a few programmers operated the site out of a small apartment until the summer of 2011.
On August 16, 2011, Time magazine listed Pinterest in its “50 Best Websites of 2011″ article. Pinterest is similar to earlier social, image bookmarking systems based on the same principle, such as David Galbraith’s 2005 project Wists. In December 2011, the site became one of the top 10 largest social network services, according to Hitwise data, with 11 million total visits per week. The next month, it drove more referral traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+. The same month, the company was named the best new startup of 2011 by TechCrunch.
In January 2012 comScore reported the site had 11.7 million unique users, making it the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark. Pinterest’s wide reach helped it achieve an average of 11 million visits each week in December 2011. Most of the site’s users are female, with 97% of the site’s Facebook “likes” being made by women.
At the South By Southwest Interactive conference in March 2012, Silbermann announced revamped profile pages were being developed and would be implemented soon. On March 23, 2012 Pinterest unveiled updated terms of service that eliminated the policy that gave it the right to sell its user’s content. The terms would go into effect April 6.
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