August 9, 2012

No Invitation Needed: Pinterest Opens Up

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Good news for those who have been itching to search for wedding decor ideas, peruse images of sweet treats, or simply catch up on the latest memes: You no longer need to be issued an invitation to create your own Pinterest account!

As announced in their blog, Pinterest is saying they´ve finally introduced an open registration to their increasingly popular social media site. Now, new users can sign up with the common credentials: Email address, Facebook login, or Twitter login.

Since it´s early stages, any user who´s been dying to get some ideas with what to do with their spare bedroom or share pictures of quotes from books they´ve been enjoying have had to wait for an invitation from a friend, or worse, ask to be invited by Pinterest themselves. After all, there´s nothing worse than having to ask to be invited to the party. Way Faux Pas.

By using this invite-only system, Pinterest was able to control their expansion, lest they grow too quickly. Despite their best efforts, the site has become something of an overnight success.

Though Pinterest has seen a recent boom this year, the site actually launched in March of 2010.

According to a May study, Pinterest was estimated to have as many as 11 million users.

Of these 11 million, 68.2% were females who spent an average of 405 minutes every month looking at one another's “Pins.”

Some other fun Pinterest trivia: The average user is in between the ages of 26 and 44 and earn the company an estimated $28.09. A Facebook user, by the way, is worth $118 to the social networking giant.

For those who aren´t a part of the privileged 11 million, Pinterest is a social media site which allows it´s users (or Pinners) to create themed “Pinboards” full of content they´ve found online. Armed with a browser bookmarklet, Pinners can surf the web with arms wide open, pinning anything that happens to catch their attention and sharing it with their fellow Pinners.

It's this ease of sharing, however, that raised some copyright issues earlier this year. Many photographers became concerned when their pictures were being shared without any attribution, credit, or more importantly, payment.

Pinterest further came under scrutiny this spring when it was discovered that spammers were taking advantage of the site by attaching spammy, Acai Berry diet links to regular pictures of cute dogs, skinny midriffs, and colorful adult beverages.

Though Pinterest has yet to find a way to capitalize on their growth, other services have been able to net a small fortune.

By providing users with alternative bookmarklets, services like PinDollars have given pinners the ability to have any clicks tracked through other sites, such as Amazon, to earn them some cash whenever another Pinner clicks on one of their Pins to make a purchase elsewhere on the web.

These issues are all a part of the growing process, however. Now that Pinterest is open to anyone who has yet to sign up, we could see even more growth in the coming months. Will we see more slip-ups as a result of this growth, or will we simply see even more lens-flared pictures of scarf-clad artsy girls posing on city streets?