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Women love Pinterest. Are there too few men on the site?

A woman looks at First Lady Michelle Obama's Pinterest, a social photo sharing website.

With Twitter’s IPO up and out of the gate -- its shares gained more than 70 percent in the first day of trading -- there’s plenty of buzz in the investor world: “What’s the next big thing in the internet startup world?”

One fast-growing firm that comes up in every list of potential IPO-launchers over the coming year is Pinterest, a fast-growing social-media site with tens of millions of users backed by hundreds of millions in venture capital. (Pinterest raised $225 million in October 2013.)

Pinterest spokesman Barry Schnitt said in an email to Marketplace that Pinterest has “no plans at all” to go public at this point, adding “it’s not even on our radar. We’re focused on the core experience for Pinners and building an advertising program (we don’t have revenue yet).”

Still, many technology and investment analysts think Pinterest has plenty of potential, and with so much venture capital on the line, they say the company will be looking for an exit, through an IPO or an acquisition, at some point.

Pinterest lets users ‘pin’ digital pictures into online scrapbooks, grouped under user-generated categories, for instance, “tasty doggy treats,” “DIY kitchens” or "really awesome boots."

“I think there’s interest in Pinterest,” says Brian Blau, technology analyst at Gartner. He says while Pinterest hasn’t yet generated sales, it’s a perfect platform for ecommerce. He says Pinterest will have to figure out how to advertise, and provide ways to sell, the consumer brands of which people collect pictures on the site.

Pinterest users are mostly female: at least 70 percent of them. “If I had a startup that had that percentage of women and was growing that fast, I’d be a super-happy guy,” says technology writer John Battelle at Federated Media. He adds, “Women are seen as a primary driver of the most important household and large-ticket items, including cars.” 

CNET senior editor Bridget Carey is a typical Pinner.

“I’m actually using Pinterest a lot right now to plan my wedding with my mom,” says Carey. “It’s a really efficient way of saying ‘Hey, what do you think of this?’”

And her dad? As of yet, he’s not pinning-up online pictures of stuff he likes. So Carey says she has no clue which tools he might want from Sears for Christmas.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.
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From what I've seen, Pinterest is nothing but a scrapbook of stuff and mainly very consumerist, craft-oriented stuff at that. I'm sick of Pinterest-women's fixation on affecting/buying the "perfect" lifestyle, the ooos and ahhhs over cute, pretty little things, this apparent retreat into mindless domesticity. Meanwhile, women are underrepresented as readers of news magazines that are low on lifestyle-content. Frankly, growing up as I did in the sixties, I imagined a far different outcome for women by now. To me, Pinterest exemplifies the stalled revolution for equal rights, equal power, equal dignity. Stalled not because of some shortcomings on the part of feminist leaders, but because too many (certainly not all) women are uninterested in full adulthood (the autonomous pursuit & negotiation of power in business, government and society). For those who have largely given up, Pinterest offers a safe, gendered inner sanctum where no one argues, discomfits, or makes one feel intellectually inadequate.

It makes me ashamed to admit it, but it needs to be said.

Tell Bridget Carey that Sears' Shop Your Way Rewards has a similar looking system to create catalogs with items that one wants, such as tools, that is accessible to others by logging in. Their system was up long before anyone was going on about Pinterest in the news.

Men are hardly on the Pinterest site due to a poor search system making it difficult to sometimes find things and the overall tone of the site reflecting a more female-centric user base. I, a male, have an account and the place is really rather boring to be on. Pins have no time/date stamp and finding things through connecting boards seems to be the site's "nudgingly" designed default, rather than the search box. Men much prefer a more straightforward method of discovery. Nothing wrong with a female-centric site with a set-up that encourages the user to remain for a long period of time. Just don't expect males to find much use for it overall.

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