Welcome, friend. Pinterest has opened its gates to you, and you are loved.
The social sharing site announced Wednesday evening via blog post that it now has the “capacity to offer Pinterest to more people.” After spending two years in invite-only beta mode, Pinterest will now allow new users to sign up via Facebook, Twitter, or using their old-timey email addresses.
The announcement followed news from Shareaholic that Pinterest is now the fourth largest traffic referral source in its network of over 200,000 websites. Referral traffic from Pinterest increased nearly 16% in July so that it now accounts for 1.38% of all referral traffic. That’s actually a slow-down from its May to June increase of 43.7%, leading many to wonder if the novelty is starting to wear off. But regardless of whether or not the hype is fizzling out, Pinterest is still outpacing Twitter, Bing, and StumbleUpon when it comes to referral traffic.
ComScore reported in June that Pinterest is now the fastest growing social network with 4377% growth between May 2011 and May 2012. Interestingly, comScore also determined that Pinterest users tend to buy more and conduct more online transactions than other social media users.
Not so, says e-commerce analytics company Jirafe, which looked at the behavior of 89 million online shoppers who visited their clients’ 5,000 Web stores in the last year and found that when it came to the percentage of visitors who actually bought something, those coming from Pinterest only placed fifth among traffic sources. The analytics company found that Bing, Google, Facebook, and Twitter all had better conversion rates than Pinterest, which was also true for the average order size.
But this could be one of those things where one study finds that a glass of wine every night is good for you and then another study comes out saying a glass of wine every night will give you cancer.
Whatever Pinterest’s users are doing, it doesn’t discount the reality that the site’s growth has been meteoric. The site reached 10.4 million registered users in February, according to AppData, which also found that nearly 98% of Pinterest’s users are female. And in April, a report from Experian Hitwise revealed that Pinterest has now emerged as the third largest social media site in terms of monthly visits. Will opening up registration to everyone fuel an even steeper climb in user growth?
No doubt the $100 million raised in May gave Pinterest the resources to open its gates to the Web without overloading its servers. Japan-based online marketplace Rakuten led the round, which also saw participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital, and a number of angel investors.
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