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By ANICK JESDANUN
AP Technology Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — In its fve short years of
life, Pinterest has become “the” place where
brides-to-be create wish boards of wedding
china photos and do-it-yourself home reno-
vators bookmark shiny turquoise tiles for
bathrooms. It’s where people share ideas
and ingenuity and get creatively inspired.
And it’s fueled a new way of searching for
items that’s even stolen traffc from tech gi-
The San Francisco-based venture capital
darling was recently valued at $11 billion.
While its core audience has always been fe-
male, Pinterest says its popularity is growing
faster than ever among men. It is winning in
the all-important social-mobile space — the
vast majority of “pinners” connect from mo-
bile devices — and is enjoying a healthy ex-
As Pinterest celebrates its ffth birthday
this month — hopefully with perfect bacon
cupcakes topped with a single, artisanal
beeswax candle — here are fve things to
know about the site and where it’s headed.
Who uses Pinterest?
Pinterest had 79.3 million unique visi-
tors in February (the latest data available),
up 47 percent from a year earlier, according
to Internet research frm comScore. The vast
majority were women, but male visitors grew
at a much faster clip: 62 percent for men vs.
42 percent for women.
Enid Hwang is the company’s community
manager and the fourth employee ever hired
at Pinterest. She wouldn’t disclose what per-
centage of users are male but says Pinter-
est’s male user base in the U.S. has doubled
in the past year. She doesn’t think Pinterest
is for women any more than it is for men.
“At its most fundamental, we believe that
Pinterest is a tool for unlocking people’s cre-
ativity,’’ she says.
Pinterest often gets lumped in with popu-
lar social networks like Facebook, Twitter and
Instagram, but there are plenty of ways that
it stands apart. Hwang sees it as more inti-
mate and personal. While Facebook is about
sharing what you did, read or saw recently
with 400 of your closest “friends,” Pinterest
users pin stuff for their own inspiration and
beneft. While others can see it, she says Pin-
terest people are “saving stuff that means a
lot to them personally.”
Popular “man trends” as Pinterest put it
recently, range from do-it-yourself home proj-
ects such as making a wooden couch sleeve
for your drinks, to different ways to tie knots,
to the world’s best hiking trails. And then
there’s the more unusual.
“Last year, we noticed a trend of
says. These pinners
found “creative ways
of solving what they
might do if there is a zom-
bie apocalypse,” she adds,
or a more mundane natural
disaster. There are Pinterest
boards of base-
ment fallout shelters, disaster preparation
and the contents of survival backpacks.
After Pinterest introduced “Place Pins” in
late 2013, the vast trove of pinners’ travel-
inspired boards became easier for people
to fnd. Users pin photos, links and videos
inspired by past trips or travel aspirations.
Place Pins are designed to work sort of like
an online travel magazine combined with an
By the numbers
• There are now more than 50 billion
“pins” on Pinterest. One billion boards have
• Headquartered in San Francisco, Pin-
terest has six international offces: in Britain,
France, Germany, Japan and Brazil. More
than 40 percent of Pinterest users are out-
side the U.S., up from 28 percent in 2013.
• About two-thirds of the content on its
site was created by brands. “If we were in the
magazine business, (that) would be 50 bil-
lion pages being ripped out and referenced,”
says Joanne Bradford, head of partnerships
• Earlier this year, Pinterest raised $367
million that valued the company at $11 bil-
lion. It says it may raise as much as $211
million more, and plans to use the more than
half a billion dollars for international expan-
sion and other corporate purposes.
A new way to search and shop
Pinterest’s penchant for exposing people
to something new has turned its site into
a learning and shopping hub that can be
more useful than Google and other search
engines for certain topics. Many people now
go to Pinterest frst when they are looking for
ideas on planning a wedding, preparing an
exotic dinner, planning a kids’ birthday party
or fnding the perfect pair of shoes for a new
Evan Sharp likens this
phenomenon to “search
without typing,’’ making it
particularly well suited for
The heat is on tech companies for lacking
gender and racial diversity among their em-
ployee base, especially in the highest ranks.
Pinterest is no exception. At the same time,
the company seems to be doing better on
this front than some of its Silicon Valley coun-
terparts. According to statistics released last
July, 40 percent of the company’s employees
are women. This compares with 20 percent
at Apple Inc. and 30 percent at Twitter Inc.
and Google Inc. Among Pinterest executives
though, it’s a different story. Nineteen per-
cent are women, compared with 21 percent
“We’re not close to where we want to be,
but we’re working on it,” wrote Tracy Chou, a
software engineer and tech lead at Pinterest,
in a blog post last July.
Pinterest turns 5
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PORTENT.COM,
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