News Column

Pinterest Now Open to All

Aug. 10, 2012

Jeremy C. Owens

pinterest

Silicon Valley social network Pinterest is now open for all to join, with the fast-growing site ditching its invite-only beginnings as it continues to become more established.

A blog post placed on the site Wednesday announced that the social network welcomes all prospective "Pinners," allowing them to sign on using Facebook or Twitter accounts or with an email address.

"We're really excited to have the capacity to offer Pinterest to more people, and if you're a Pinner with friends who've been waiting on the sidelines, we hope you'll let them know," the blog post read.

Pinterest, which lets its 20 million monthly visitors collect and share digital images and link them to websites, launched in January 2010 and has enjoyed a meteoric rise. Opening the site to all has become a rite of passage for social networks since Facebook switched from a network solely for college students and became the leader in the sector.

Pinterest's change is one in a series of moves the company has made to match its astounding growth. Like Facebook, the company recently left Palo Alto after failing to find enough office space to stay in the Peninsula city. While Facebook stayed on the Peninsula, in Menlo Park, Pinterest moved near Zynga and other growing tech companies in the SoMa area of San Francisco

Pinterest also recently secured $100 million in venture capital from a group led by Japanese online retailer Rakuten, which values the company near $1.5 billion. Existing Pinterest shareholders Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and FirstMark Capital joined the round of funding.

The site's massive growth has been a welcome surprise for the company, which was co-founded by CEO Ben Silbermann. In April, Pinterest became the third-most-visited social network behind Twitter and Facebook, according to an Experian Marketing Services report.

Experian research showed that the site's visitors were demographically different from those visiting other social networks, with women accounting for 60 percent of the visitors and a higher percentage of users in the Midwest, Northwest and Southeast.

Alexa, a Web analytics company that uses a combination of visitors and pageviews to rank the most popular sites on the Web, said Thursday that Pinterest was No. 16 on its list of U.S. websites, ranking behind LinkedIn as the fourth-most-popular social network.

While Pinterest claims a fanatical following that exceeds the combined populations of New York and Los Angeles, the company has yet to make a move toward monetization. Asked in February how the company plans to make money, Silbermann said he "hasn't really focused on it."

Staff writer Peter Delevett contributed to this report.



Source: (c)2012 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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