The Pinterest-craze is growing.
The newest hot commodity in the tech world is now the fastest-growing referral site with 260 million unique visitors monthly, according to a recent study. It currently drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Reddit, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Referrals increased from 2.5 percent in December to 3.6 percent in January, according to by content-sharing company Shareaholic.
Pinterest works like a scrapbook of all of your favorite things that constantly updates. It's like window-shopping outside an infinite amount of stores. Users gather and "pin" everything they like on a virtual pinboard that shows up on their profile: home decorations, clothes, recipes, whatever they like. They share and discuss their interest with other users.
Pinterest's business model is unclear. How will it generate revenue in the future? After $37.5 million in total funding, perhaps even Pinterest isn't sure about its revenue-generating path. But it is creating a sense of exclusivity.
The gathering site is currently invite-only, yet its growth has surged through the online world. It's generating hype and capturing people's imaginations as they think about having access to this exclusive world.
Exclusivity has proved successful for high-end stores, restaurants and anticipated nightclub openings in the brick-and-mortar world.
Eventually, the company can generate revenue in many ways. It can advertise, as long as it strategically does so in a way that wouldn't affect the user's experience. It could go the e-commerce route, where it would make money from each transaction that comes from the site. Revenue-generating ideas are endless with this company's potential.
Here's a company with so much money, yet it doesn't have a clear business plan at this point. But it actually makes sense that it doesn't. Pinterest needed to first learn about its users, what their interest are, what they like to "pin," what sites they're visiting, what they're uploading and sharing. And this is how the company will eventually make money.
"We become so obsessed that we fail to fully realize that our self-expression is subsequently being catalogued, repackaged and sold to the highest bidder—if a company has reached that stage in its growth," writes Alexia Tsotsis at TechCrunch. "For a chance at reaching the top of that pyramid, hell, maybe it’s worth it."
The majority of Pinterest's users are 24- to 44-year-old females from the Midwest, according to ComScore. In fact, Midwesterners are 102 percent more likely to visit the site than the average U.S. Internet user.
"To get to the bottom of what motivates Pinterest’s throngs of users, you first have to realize who those users are," writes Brad McCart. "I challenge you to go to Twitter, search for Pinterest and see who’s using it. No, not who’s writing about it, but who’s actually using it. The vast majority? Female.
"At the risk of sounding sexist, we have to examine the traditional habits of females versus males. To that end, women tend to like to shop more than men do. You could easily define Pinterest as a way for people to 'window shop' for anything that interests them, whether that’s a physical object or something as intangible as quotes.
"They can then show off their 'purchases' (pins) to their friends, and even re-pin and create discussions around what they’ve found."
When Pinterest launched in March 2010, little was known about it and now people are using it to plan weddings and bridal showers, redecorating their entire homes based on their "pinning" obsession.
Whatever its business model is or isn't, it's working.