If you have any contact with females online* – I’m sure you’ve heard of Pinterest. It’s a service that provides virtual pin-boards (reminds me of a digital corkboard of sorts) that allows users to “pin” things to them. Think recipes, photos, products, etc. One of my favorites that I’ve seen is friends used a shared pin-board to help inspire another friend’s haircut.
It can be a great way to collaborate and share, but personally, Pinterest has never really interested me. Here’s why:
#4 – I don’t need another social media time suck
I guess this means I’ve officially earned the title of “social media curmudgeon”, but I hear from everyone I know that uses Pinterest how they end up wasting HOURS on the site. Now I like cool stuff, but considering I barely blog or Tweet anymore because of how busy I am, I definitely don’t have room for another social site.
#3 – They take viral contacts to a whole new level
I have a Pinterest account – however I have never pinned anything, but will browse around occasionally. One HUGE issue I had when I signed up for Pinterest is that when I sync’d it with my Facebook account, it auto-followed everyone on my friend’s list without asking me first. I also can’t figure out how to unfollow people. Having my accounts linked used to be something I didn’t think twice about, well once bitten, twice shy.
#2 – The user experience leaves a lot to be desired (IMO)
I’ll give it that it’s a fair attempt – and for a company that has only been around for 2 years they are doing a fair job, but whenever I go poke around on Pinterest I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed. Maybe I just follow people that pin a lot, but at the point I’m at in my life – I’m looking for ways to cut through the content to find what’s important.
Honestly – I find it more interesting to think about using it for myself personally than for any sort of collaboration. I could see my using it as an online inspiration board for any shows I’m working on, or for marketing projects. Right now I use a combination of Evernote and Delicious depending on the project. Pinterest could simplify that, but I need more control as a user and it needs to be clearer how to use it.
Now I’ve been complaining about Facebook’s user experience for years, but it’s not like that’s deterred any of their growth.
#1 – I question their ethics as a company
Recently it was discovered that Pinterest has been using a service called skimlinks which scans all the links pinned to the site and replaces them with affiliate links where appropriate so that if a purchase is made they essentially get a kickback. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for social startups figuring out how to monetize – however I have a serious concern with the fact that this was uncovered and NOT DISCLOSED. Leveraging social recommendations is something that is ubiquitous for brands on the web – I can’t tell you how many Sponsored Stories I am exposed to on Facebook on a daily basis. But do you know what’s different about Facebook? I can opt-out. I have a choice.
Pinterest doesn’t allow that, and they didn’t disclose it before it was uncovered. And as far as I’ve heard Pinterest hasn’t released a statement or made a comment about the practice. In social – silence speaks volumes. They’ve been caught, and instead of owning up to it, they’ve been silent. This causes issues for me.
On the bright side – it’s an interesting reminder that individuals could potentially use Pinterest to generate small amounts of revenue via their own affiliate tracking codes.
Now I’m not saying you should dislike Pinterest too, I’m saying that before you go diving into another platform, I wanted to provide some perspective on why Pinterest may just be the next hot thing for right now and then disappear. In the end – it’s all about where your audience is and what you can do as a brand to encourage and inspire their passion for you.
*Not trying to say that only females use Pinterest, but the demographics definitely skew that way.