Move over Google+ and Tumblr, there’s a new star in social media town. Pinterest, a Palo Alto-based startup, is quietly becoming one of the most-trafficked social networking sites on the web.
The still-invite-only, one year-old digital pin-board site attracted nearly 11 million visitors in the week ending December 17, according to data intelligence company Hitwise. Hitwise counts Pinterest as one of the top 10 websites in the social networking and forums category.
For those without an invite (you can get one from a friend), Pinterest lets users virtually “pin” products and items they find across the web to their own themed pin boards. It’s a way to collect recipes, home decorating ideas or share your personal style with friends. It’s inherently social in nature, so you can browse friends’ pins and boards, and re-pin your favorite items to your own pin boards.
The site is most popular with females and arts and crafts enthusiasts between the ages of 25 and 44, and its user base is anything but typical — at least for a social network. “Pinterest over-indexes on visits from the states in the Northwest and Southeast,” said Heather Dougherty, research director at Hitwise. “This data indicates that Pinterest visitors have a different profile versus their counterparts visiting other social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube.”
Pinterest is experiencing the type of hockey-stick growth startup dreams are made of — and that’s without really trying. Pinterest, reports Hitwise, now sees 40 times the number of total visitors it did just six months ago. In fact, Pinterest saw 31,788,893 total visits in November, according to Hitwsie data shared with VentureBeat. Better still, that figure puts the site ahead of Google+ (31,748,905) and Tumblr (25,716,031) in terms of total web visitors.
Pinterest may be the sleeper hit of the year, but investors are certainly awake to its potential. The startup has raised more than $37 million in funding from a who’s who list of venture capitalists, including Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, Ron Conway, Max Levchin and Michael Birch.