Virtual idea board. That was the initial idea behind Pinterest. It was envisioned to be a place to keep track of ideas and share new ones in the digital age.
CEO Ben Silbermann has said that the point of Pinterest is to get people to “go out and do that thing,” and it’s certainly inspired a robust and loyal user base. The site has over three hundred million active users.
Image-based information is the driving force behind Pinterest. Users upload images or share them from websites, sometimes attaching links to relevant content. It’s a discovery style website, meaning that users surf through the content to find information that they didn’t necessarily know they were looking for. In recent years, the site has put a heavier emphasis on search rather than discovery.
Pinterest has a web presence as well as app service on all major platforms. Its users can create content or share content that’s already been created, as well as message and follow other users. Advertisements and boosted content are mixed in with search results as a way to generate revenue for the company.
One longstanding and significant concern for Pinterest has been the issue of copyright on its site. To combat this issue, Pinterest created a notification system in which copyright holders can flag content for removal if it violates their rights to the material. This is an issue that’s continued to follow Pinterest, as it encourages users to share and send content. The company has been adamant that it complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in service of maintaining its safe harbor status.
Other major issues that have come up for Pinterest have to do with its purging of misinformation and conspiracy theories. The company has regularly purged users starting in 2018 for sharing false information, particularly surrounding subjects like anti-vaccination and anti-abortion.
Do the Things
Pinterest has long been a place for individuals to catalogue and share their ideas. People from all over the world use boards to brainstorm and plan for projects both big and small. Retailers use Pinterest as a way to showcase their products and share information to potential buyers. Companies like West Elm, Nordstrom, and The Gap use the site to gather referrals when users pin items that are relevant to their products.
Though Pinterest started out as a website that catered to DIY and household tastes, favorited by parents, it’s grown far beyond that scope. There are a wide range of ways that Pinterest is used now, with every kind of topic imaginable now catalogued on the site.
Pinterest did initially skew towards women, with more than 80% of the user base being women in 2012. That number has come down dramatically to less than two thirds of users being women in 2017. The user base of Pinterest now looks close to the user base of the internet in general in the United States.
Pinterest has seen a huge growth in the few years that it’s been operational. As retailers have come onboard with the company, its growth has increased. Pinterest is a privately held company, so its revenue isn’t public, but it’s grown to sixteen hundred employees and is active in twenty-seven languages.
With continued adaptation and improvement based on its extensive data gathering process, expect this San Francisco-based company to continue to change the way that people think about getting things done.