Pinterest: Is it the new Facebook?

Remember when you were young, and would run around your house and yard, collecting anything that caught your attention? I do. And I’m guessing Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest, did too. Evidence is seen here: “Silbermann took a somewhat circuitous path to Internet stardom. The son of doctors from West Des Moines, Iowa, he collected things — stamps, leaves, insects — as a child.” (CNNMoney.com article)

What is Pinterest, and what is it all about?

Pinterest is a site designed for collecting things. Each user has their own virtual pinboard(s) that you can “pin” (which means upload) a picture to if you take interest in it.          Other users that have some of the same interests as you are put on your pinboard feed- one similarity with Facebook. Also, your “profile” on Pinterest can have a “profile picture”  (Facebook similarity number two). And finally, guess who Pinterest just hired as their director of monetization? Tim Kendall,  who had spent many years as Facebook’s  director. Seem coincidental? I thought so too.

Pinterest is also becoming majorly popular, with celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon and political figures family, such as Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann using the service. Ann  [Romney] uses the site to organize pictures of her family, and share patriotic recipes that she invented. It has actually been declared as the “fastest growing website of all time,”  have a 52% jump in members in just one month. For a website still in the “invite-only membership” stage is pretty dang remarkable.

Reading all the reviews about Pinterest actually got me interested in the site, so I requested an invite to join the site, and got an email that said “Thank you for joining the Pinterest waiting list”. You’re probably thinking “Wait, they have a waiting list?” Yeah, me too. While I’m waiting to get an actual invite, I decided to dig around to find more research on the site some more and what I find is suprising. A lawyer/photographer and Pinterest member, Kirsten Kowalski, decided to take a legal look at the site’s terms of use. What she found scared her. The actual text from the terms of use are very confusing, so I’ll break it down for you: It states that you may only “pin” pictures that you have the permission by the photographer to use, or if they’re your own pictures. Now here’s the scary part. If you pin someone else’s work without permission and they decide to sue you, you must pay for your lawyer AND Pinterest’s lawyer. Also, if you do get charged, you must pay your own and Pinterest’s damages also. That’s a lot of money. The blog post she wrote (which is fairly long, I assure you.) went viral, and Ben Silbermann, [CEO of Pinterest] decided to call her. She then created a follow up post stating that Silbermann is planning on talking to his lawyers about re-writing the terms of use to clarify what you can and cannot use- so no worries!

If any of you want to join Pinterest as well, their site link is right here. http://pinterest.com/

After I join Pinterest, I may make a follow up post to tell you whether it really is worth the hype- leave a comment if you would like me to!

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