Pinterest May Become a Social Networking Takeover Target

Pinterest, a web-based image sharing network, is swiftly becoming the next internet sensation — and that should get the attention of social network players Facebook, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD). The company doesn’t release traffic numbers, but ComScore estimates that the website’s users have increased from 418,000 in May to a whopping 3.3 million in October, an 8-fold jump. The stat is especially impressive given that becoming a user is an “invitation only” process initiated by other current users.

Pinterest acts as a virtual bulletin board for users to “pin” images to and share the images with fellow users. One of the founders, Ben Silbermann, feels that the site has filled an idea-sharing void. Bloomberg quoted Silbermann who said, “Once you know what you want, Google or Amazon will take care of it. But if you don’t know what you want and you want to discover, I don’t think there are very good solutions.” The site has largely appealed to stay-at-home moms, cooks, do-it-yourselfers, and brides-to-be, which has translated into a 70% female user base.

Like many start-up business, Pinterest has yet to turn a profit, but with the rapidly growing user base, the site is beginning to catch the eye of many advertisers. Retailers such as Whole Foods, Williams Sonoma, and West Elm have already set up their own boards, which is currently free advertising for the companies. Williams-Sonoma and West Elm were attracted to the site after they noticed a large amount of traffic was coming to their sites directly from Pinterest. Aaron Able, West Elm’s social media manager told Bloomberg, “It made sense to share home stuff and artwork and design ideas because that is a huge part of the Pinterest community. Our customer was very involved in Pinterest, so it made sense to be there.”