Currently the third most popular social network behind Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has taken the world by storm. With a simple “virtual” pinboard concept, Pinterest is easy to use, and as you will see, easy to imitate. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but some “similar” sites have taken imitation to new heights, leaving users wondering where Pinterest ends and the “knockoff” site begins.

So sit back and enjoy our commentary of some of these “other” pinboard sites that are trying to make it in the social world by leveraging Pinterest’s business model.

1. Gentlemint – Known as the Pinterest for men, Gentlemint was launched in January 2012 after a 12-hour “hack day” by co-founders Glen Stansberry and Brian McKinney. The concept behind the venture was to build a “manly social site.” They have succeeded from that point of view, as the site is chock-full of weapons, men’s fashion and cult movie references. So, if you have a male-dominant audience for your products or services, Gentlemint just might be the pinning site de jour. The site was also redesigned recently with the goal of providing a little flair and functionality to their minimal design. I think they succeeded.


2. Pinspire – There are copies and then there’s Pinspire. Seriously, if you took the Pinspire logo off the site and replaced it with Pinterest logo, you’d be hard pressed to know there was a difference. They even go as far as lifting description terms in their “About Us” section that Pinterest has become known for, including weddings and recipes. This is what one would call a true copycat site. If you’re currently using Pinterest in your social media strategy, it might be wise to pin your content on Pinspire too. This might save you from missing those potential customers that haven’t been bitten by the Pinterest bug.


3. Thinng – This is the pinboard site that was named on a computer with a sticky keyboard. In all seriousness, this site is great from a visual standpoint. The main difference between Thinng and Pinterest is the lack of copy around the photos when you first visit the landing page. This makes for an appealing visual presentation, but it does lose a little of the context until you roll over the photo and reveal the description. You can also share these photos instantly on Facebook, Twitter and even Tumblr. So if your products or services are visually appealing, and you want to distribute them easily to other social networks, Thinng might just be the thing you need.


4. GetVega – We love the concept of categorizing photos into “Smart Lists.” But unless the pinner provides fairly detailed information around the list, there’s a lack of understanding of just what you’re interacting with. Some of the lists only have a title such as, “Best Travel Ideas,” but there aren’t any subtitles for each individual photo. So this leaves you scratching your head a bit as to what you’re viewing, and the photo URL link takes you to a larger photo rather than provide additional information. If you’re a little more savvy, you could leverage GetVega to highlight your products. An example might be a shoe style that comes in multiple colors. You can have the same description for the shoe, but show individual pictures of each color. This would be a much better layout than you can currently present in Pinterest.


5. Stylepin – If Gentlemint is Pinterest for men, then Stylepin is known as Pinterest for fashion. If you only want to see dresses, shoes, accessories and the like, then look no further than Stylepin. This niche pinning site might be just what the doctor ordered if your products or services have a fashion-specific twist.

So there you have it: five Pinterest knockoffs that are leveraging the pinboard concept with zero shame, or are trying to put a slightly different spin on it. New Pinterest-like sites seem to pop up every day, so we’ll keep an eye on these and will “pin down” any up and comers.

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