The Web's newest digital darling, in case you haven't heard, is Pinterest.
The social curation and aggregation service, a "visual pinboard", if you will, enables users (which are trending towards females, apparently) to collect content they find on the Web and arrange it in categories with links back to the original site.
Sound familiar? It should, because sites offering some combination of social media and bookmarking have been around for many years. Remember Delicious? Or any of the hundreds of bookmarking services that have since been shuddered? While not everyone can see the value in Pinterest participation, the platform is growing at an absolutely phenomenal rate – but can it continue?
There are many reasons why users/consumers will be interested in using Pinterest. Namely, the activity on the site is purely organic, meaning that visitors are using the site as it was intended. I recently watched my own wife spend upwards of 90 minutes on the site perusing and pinning items in a variety of categories including travel, hairstyles, fashion, home and kids, to name a few. She is the prototypical user for Pinterest, and she loved it.
The problem is that the honeymoon period (whether Pinterest is in beta or not) will likely end very soon – for both users and Pinterest iteself. Here's why: Internet marketers have not made their way into the system. Over time, more users will be brought in and that larger community of users, which will likely be difficult to manage, will start shaping Pinterest into anything but what the platform was originally intended for – and that never ends well.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where users control who sees their content and in turn what content is seen by them, Pinterest is relatively wide open – providing an opportunity to explore openly. That sounds great on the surface but one, two or three million marketers could render Pinterest nothing more than a repository for self promotion and affiliate links. Now, while I don't believe that Pinterest is doomed to fail in the short term, it does have its problems. In the meantime, I'll be loading up my Pinterest account with good-looking images and some affiliate links.