We all know this: Pinterest is the new web phenomenon and everybody is talking about it.
Since nobody wants to feel outdated, the web hysteria and fast paced life requires mass of followers to adapt to the new trends and join the “coolest” platform or social media tools of the moment.
It’s the good old “Be there or be square”. It worked in high school and still works fine on the web.
Sometimes this is enough for a decent social media or photosharing idea to hit the spot and collect million and million of users and eventually make a lot of money out of them by selling it to some angel fund or Venture Capitalist that will buy it for a million dollar to sell it back 2 years later for half of the price.
That’s because millions of users don’t mean a thing if you don’t find how to make money out of it and get them involved more and more deeply in the platform.
At GT we want to be very clear about this: Pinterest might collect zillion of users but it’s still a platform that is very much likely to collapse. And here’s why.
#1 - THE MORE YOU USE IT THE MORE YOU START TO RE-PIN AND STOP PINNING NEW ITEMS.
This is simple math. The more time you spend on Pinterest the less you spend on other websites looking for things you might just be willing to pin.
And since Pinterest lives upon what users upload and/or pin online, this is a very dangerous paradox.
Paradoxically in order to keep growing and being interesting, Pinterest should encourage its users not to spend their time on boards.
That is because Pinterest is an hungry beast eating what users provide and feeding users with the same items. But if users stop collecting food for the beast, it will start delivering the same rotten food again and again and lead its users to frustration and boredom.
2# - PINTEREST DOES NOT HAVE A CLEAR BUSINESS MODEL AND REVENUE PLAN
Before Pinterest was thefancy.com.
These guys create a platform to collect users preferences and “likes” on high-level design products and share them with others.
Thefancy.com just didn’t make it to the big market. Didn’t become popular.
Whether because of its name or because of its being too much design focused, it’s still (at least in European market) a niche platform.
No newspaper titles. No hype.
Yet, the fancy.com is most likely to survive Pinterest mania and make some money out of it.
Infact while Thefancy.com has found a clever business model, Pinterest has not.
After collecting tons of very cool items divided into different categories they have added the possibility to actually BUY that item from their own site.
And this makes the difference between a large scale social utility and a revenue making project.
Sure, Pinterest is cool, but unless it finds a smart way to monetize its success, the server and bandwidth needed to keep it running will ultimately stab it in the back.
Yes, Pinterest is wow. And newspapers love it.
But does it have what it takes to go next level? Can it stop being a trendy cool social medium and start being a money machine?
That’s the bad thing about the internet: YOU CAN’T BE FREE FOREVER.
Sooner or later, the network demands its slice of the cake to keep you up and working. Servers, programmers, bandwidth… these and more costs.
And advertising can’t cover all of them.
Will Pinterest find a new way to solve this issue?
We will see it in the future. For now, we keep on being skeptical.