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Pinterest Blogger captures stardom by pinning 5700 images on site.

Christine Martinez spent the past week frolicking on the Caribbean island of St Barts after becoming a star by sharing her sense of style at Pinterest.com.

Pinterest has become the web’s hottest young website, particularly among women, by giving people virtual bulletin boards that they decorate with pictures showcasing interests in anything from food to sports, fashion or travel.

“Gawd I love Pinterest,” fashion blogger Martinez said in a Twitter message fired off between flights on Friday as she made her way back to her home in the Californian city of Oakland

Nearly a million people have signed up to follow Martinez at Pinterest where people “pin” pictures they have taken or, in most cases, plucked from elsewhere on the internet.

“I have a penchant for pretty,” Martinez said in her Pinterest profile, which had a picture of her with her cherished dog ‘Miles.’

As of Saturday, she had 43 Pinterest boards with more than 5700 images reflecting her taste in jewellery, swimsuits, and more.

Pinterest is such an influential fashion venue that chic beachwear label Calypso St Barts took her to the French island territory for a week to “live pin” the label’s swimsuit photo shoot.

“Pinterest is the latest procrastination tool of the masses,” Avery Spofford of fashion website shefinds.com wrote in an online post citing Martinez’s adventure as evidence of Pinterest’s clout.

“Mostly, people just like to look at photos of puppies and cake and interior design,” Spofford continued. “Us, too!”

Pinterest was launched in early 2010 and has been growing at a dizzying rate in the past six months despite being invitation-only. The website reportedly has more than 13 million users.

Pinterest is driving more online traffic to retail websites than social networks LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ combined, according to a January report from Shareaholic.

The first investor to back in the venture, Brian Cohen, is delighted with its results so far.

“Pinterest’s traffic charts aren’t hockey sticks – they’re rocket ships,” internet tracker RJ Metrics said in an analysis released last month.

“Pinterest is the hottest young site on the internet.”

Brands are leaping onto Pinterest, setting up pages to appeal to prime shopping demographics or forming collaborations such as the one between Martinez’s MilestoStyle.com blog and Calypso.

“The amount of free advertising a brand gets on Pinterest is ridiculous,” blogger Kerry Sauriol wrote at WomenInBizNetwork.com.

“Without even having their own Pinterest boards, clothing companies, furniture designers, tech companies, and on and on have their products pinned and adored,” she continued.

“Think of the marketing power of a brand that does have a board.”

Other websites have begun adding “pin it” buttons inviting visitors to decorate Pinterest pages with images using a single click, according to co-founder Ben Silbermann.

“The last few months have been a whirlwind here at Pinterest,” Silbermann said in a recent blog post. “It’s humbling, and exciting.”

The small Pinterest team works in box of an office in single-story building in downtown Palo Alto in Silicon Valley.

About a dozen engineers were working at rows of desks in an undecorated room when an AFP correspondent visited.

Pinterest said it was too swamped with attention from users and media for interviews.

Rampant pinning of images snagged from the internet has raised concerns about copyright violations at Pinterest.

The website follows procedures set out in US copyright law and has a form at the site for reporting violations, Silbermann explained. Each “pin” has a flag icon for marking pirated content.

“We care about respecting the rights of copyright holders,” Silbermann said.

“Copyright is a complicated and nuanced issue and we have knowledgeable people who are providing lots of guidance.”

Pinterest fans include Dave Morin, a longtime member of the Facebook team who left the leading social network to start Path.

Morin sees Pinterest as part of a trend for people in “the world’s biggest club” Facebook to form sub-groups based on interests or close relationships.

“Now that the world understands how to be social through the internet people want unique experiences in different contexts,” Morin said, noting that Path lets people intimately share with family and close friends.

“Pinterest has a space where you can talk about your deep interests,” he continued. “In my case, deep interests in ski gear or photography gear.”

Sourcd & published by Henry Sapiecha

F-Commerce has not delivered expectations.


Last April, Gamestop opened a store on Facebook to generate sales among the 3.5 million-plus customers who’d declared themselves “fans” of the video game retailer. Six months later, the store was quietly shuttered.

Gamestop has company. Over the past year, Gap, JC Penney and Nordstrom have all opened and closed storefronts on Facebook’s social networking site.

Facebook, which this month filed for an initial public offering, has sought to be a top shopping destination for its 845 million members. The stores’ quick failure shows that the California-based social network doesn’t drive commerce and casts doubt on its value for retailers, said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Closed: Gamestop shut its F-store.Closed: Gamestop no longer sells directly on Facebook.

“There was a lot of anticipation that Facebook would turn into a new destination, a store, a place where people would shop,” Mulpuru said in a telephone interview. “But it was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.”

A year ago, investors hailed so-called F-commerce as the next big thing, speculating that the company had potential to threaten Amazon.com and PayPal. Facebook is the most-visited website in the world. Some people thought that persuading visitors to shop would be easy, Mulpuru said.

David Fisch, Facebook’s director of business development, said in June that the site would make shopping online, previously a solitary experience, more social.

Hanging out

“This is where people are hanging out,” Fisch said at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in San Diego.

Facebook planned to profit from retailers buying ads to drive traffic to their on-site stores. Business consultant Booz & Co. predicted in January 2011 that physical goods sold through social commerce would balloon to $US30 billion from $US5 billion by 2015, with Facebook contributing a majority of sales.

Even as some businesses shut storefronts, many companies continue to devote advertising dollars to the social network. Facebook’s sales surged 55 per cent to $US1.13 billion in the fourth quarter. The company aims to use e-commerce more as a way of getting users to stay longer than as a way to boost revenue, said Krista Garcia, an analyst at EMarketer in New York.

Chris Kraeuter, a Facebook spokesman, declined to comment.

Customers had no incentive to shop at Gamestop’s Facebook store rather than the company’s regular website because purchasing online is already convenient, said Ashley Sheetz, who is the Grapevine, Texas-based company’s vice president of marketing and strategy.

Shut quickly

“We just didn’t get the return on investment we needed from the Facebook market, so we shut it down pretty quickly,” Sheetz said in a telephone interview. “For us, it’s been a way we communicate with customers on deals, not a place to sell.”

Gap, which has 5.6 million Facebook fans from its namesake, Banana Republic and Old Navy pages, opened and discontinued a storefront last year, said Liz Nunan, a company spokeswoman. The San Francisco-based company also discovered customers preferred shopping on its own sites, she said.

“We will continue to evaluate if this is something we want to bring back in the future,” Nunan said in an emailed statement.

Nordstrom tested ways to make shopping “seamless through Facebook” and decided on a broader social media focus, Colin Johnson, a spokesman, said.

JC Penney featured assortments in a Facebook “shop” tab beginning in 2010, and took it down in December 2011, Kate Coultas, a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Other advertisers, such as Procter & Gamble, have kept their F-stores running, including Olay, Tide and Cover Girl.

An Australian online business, however, had a re-think about selling its goods through a Facebook store, after considering the costs.

Eugene Tan, director of Aquabumps, a business selling daily photographs of Bondi and other beaches, has a meaningful fan page on Facebook but declined the offer to create a new e-commerce engine or merge his current one on the social network.

“I had a look at some of the guys providing the service to create a shop and I thought (the site) was slow. A lot of apps that run on Facebook are slow. And I can’t control it. I’d rather people come to me (from Facebook).”

Tan said he also didn’t like to put a “hard sell” on his Facebook page. “We’re very subtle on the sell. My buyers would switch off.”

Tan stores about 1000 images on his site and offers 12 permutations in framing and sizing options.

“It’d be very difficult to have two stores, and expensive too. They (third party) wanted a monthly fee and a percentage of sales. With my own site I can control the costs – I paid a one-off fee to create it and pay the credit card transaction fees; that’s nothing,” Tan said.

Cracks in model

Wade Gerten, chief executive officer of social media developer 8thBridge, previously known as Alvenda, opened a Facebook store for the florist 1-800-FLOWERS. Minneapolis-based Gerten went on to develop commerce strategies for Delta Air Lines, Diane Von Furstenberg Studio and denim-maker Seven for all Mankind.

Cracks in the model showed quickly, Gerten said in a telephone interview. Clients “have taken a different approach,” shutting stores or scaling back their offerings.

“It was basically just another place to shop for all the stuff already available on the retailer websites,” Gerten said. “I give so-called F-commerce an ‘F’.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Facebook sly grog deliveries

set to dry up because of legalities

Asher Moses

June 1, 2011 – 12:41PM


Cheap booze deals for Sydneysiders advertised on Facebook.Cheap booze deals for Sydneysiders advertised on Facebook.

It’s sly grog for the 21st century. A Facebook page offering round-the-clock booze delivery in Sydney has piqued the interest of NSW liquor licensing authorities, who are threatening fines of $11,000 and a 12-month jail sentence.

The Blind Pig Sydney page recently went live on Facebook, offering free delivery of six packs of beer and bottles of wine for $15 a piece and bottles of vodka and whisky with mixers for $50.

Delivery in the inner west, eastern suburbs, north and south Sydney is free, according to the ad, and proof-of-age identification is required on delivery.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Facebook: the new sales frontier

Alexandra Cain

May 19, 2011

Forget website sales – a new class of business is instead focusing on Facebook to build and market products and services.

This approach has become increasingly popular since Facebook added shopping cart functionality to its site, allowing businesses to transact through the popular social networking forum

Sourced & Published by Henry Sapiecha