Monday, February 20, 2012

5 Social Bookmark Sites That Wish They Were Pinterest

pinterest-logoMashable recently published a list of Pinterest clones, pointing out the obvious similarity between them and the incredibly popular image collecting site, but they didn't answer the question of what sets Pinterest apart from these copycats and why it continues to be more successful than any other similar service. Let's take a look at each of these sites and see how they really measure up. Is it that the early bird gets the worm, or is there more to Pinterest than just a Masonry layout and bookmarking service aimed at collecting images?

Pinspire

pinspire

What's Same:

Chinese owned Pinspire is a literal rip-off of Pinterest, from design and layout to categorization and features.Their legal page only offers the same terms of use and makes no attempt to justify its existence, passing off the business as an Italian startup (or maybe German?). Considering the European countries used are each active supporters of both SOPA and ACTA, Pinspire's most inspiring aspect is its audacity.

What's Good:

Infringement issues aside, Pinspire does try to improve upon Pinterest by offering a localized experience in several languages thanks to Google translate.

Where They Miss the Mark:

The localized features do not encompass true geolocation, so the Gifts category still shows you U.S. products in U.S. currency and new content or friend suggestions are not weighed by location. Facebook and Twitter are both offered as signup options, but attempts with both couldn't produce results, making it clear this site does not have approved app space with either service.

Stylepin

stylepin

What's Same:

This social pinning site takes some usability and presentational inspiration from Pinterest, but does attempt to present its own style and brand. Image streams and pinboards are arranged by Recent, Top and Hot and users can still click a heart to like the pin or add a comment. Adding pins is identical to Pinterest, down to the browser bookmarklet.

What's Good:

Stylepin aims to build a niche community focused on fashion only, which could become a successful haven for fashionistas once Pinterest inevitably becomes overrun with cat memes and bathroom-cam "artistic" nudes.

Where They Miss the Mark:

There is a lack of top-level categorization, which may make filtering inspiration difficult for users hunting for specific styles or trying to build new boards. There is also no social network integration for login, but user profiles stick to the Pinterest layout, allowing users to add their social network links and discover new friends through the activity stream.

Gentlemint

gentlemint

What's Same:

There is actually very little similarity between Gentlemint and Pinterest aside from the image presentation. Each user post comes with a like and a comment option, but you won't find heart icons here - instead users Like an image by clicking a manly mustache. You can link your account with Facebook and view a stream of your own posts.

What's Good:

97 percent of Pinterest users are women, so giving guys a similar service is not only smart, but inevitable. The layout is minimal, down to providing only a simple stream of latest posts. The overall design and voice, along with an absence of "girly" features such as friend lists and pinboards, lends itself well to attracting the audience Gentlemint wants, which will allow it to survive and grow as a strong niche service.

Where They Miss the Mark:

Whether categorization is considered "girly" or not, it is one of the factors that makes Pinterest so successful. Without a means for users to easily search for and discover new content to create specific collections for a specific or personal purpose, you really just have a prettified version of Reddit's image stream. There is also no bookmarklet, so the service depends on active use within the site and isn't able to benefit from the instant-inspiration adds that make Pinterest so addictive.

Minglewing

minglewing

What's Same:

The layout and design of Minglewing uses the same image layout, top navigation and secondary filter menus as Pinterest. Users can like or dislike an image on hover and post anything from across the web using the Minglewing bookmarklet. Login uses Facebook, but there are no profiles or friend lists here.

What's Good:

Minglewing expands on the social pinning concept by encouraging content sharing based on more than just photos, creating a visually driven news discovery service categorized by interest or topic. The zoom feature is a nice addition, allowing for some level of personalization on an otherwise very content-focused site. They also offer interface translation into several languages.

Where They Miss the Mark:

Facebook is your only option, and the login applet wont work in Chrome. The site is so focused on content and sharing options that it forgets about social integration - you can set it up to post directly to Facebook, but you can't follow other users or comment on posts. The design also seems to be on the back-burner, the navigation bar so cluttered with options it is almost overwhelming and none of the streamlined usability features in place that make Pinterest so easy to use.

Thinng

thinng

What's the Same:

Once again you will find images presented in a masonry-style layout with navigation on top and links to filter items by newest or most popular. Facebook and Twitter logins are supported, and user profiles feature a latest stream with access to social network links, streams from followers, personalized lists and a "follow" link. New items are easily added from the navigation bar or via a bookmarklet.

What's Good:

Thinng has added a user directory that makes it easy to find new people to follow at a glance by listing the avatar and link block of the user's lists in an easy-to-scan format. This idea may backfire if Thinng ever accumulates a significant number of members, but it's nothing a search or filter can't fix.The addition of Tumblr integration is also a great idea, considering Tumblr is the forefather of the social pinning phenomenon.

Where They Miss the Mark:

Thinng isn't clean enough in its design, which distracts from the visual attractiveness that draws users to these types of services. Its small differences are also not enough to convince people to use it over Pinterest. As long as Pinterest can manage to maintain its high content quality, Thinng will need to fine tune intself to appeal to a specfic niche before it sees any significant growth.

Conclusion

Social pinning is definitely the next evolution of social bookmarking, but the concept alone is not enough to make a successful service. Pinterest cracked a valuable user-experience formula by combining the functionality, control and visual appeal that would resonate with the widest audience possible, and had the social media promotion and makreting savvy to get it in front of the right people. We can expect to see a lot of these services surface in the near future, but in the meantime, Pinterest will likely implement localization, additional social integrations and better discovery tools that eliminate the edge these services have enjoyed thus far. Before launching your own clone, take a lesson from Gentlemint and Stylepin and ensure it caters to a specific niche.

Make Your Own:

Know of any other Pinterest clones that aren't featured here? Let us know in the comments!

This is a guest article by Vail Joy who is a long-time writer, designer and copy editor with 15 years of experience in corporate business writing, music journalism and internet media design. When she is not hard at work designing something, she loves writing for Wix.com, the free website builder.

3 comments:

  1. Am a maniac of pinterest clone, Upto my knowledge i like http://www.cogzidel.com/pinterest-clone because of its unique feature and excellent theme

    ReplyDelete
  2. yeah its a nice content dude.. I agree with senthilganesh his reference was looking nice..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awesome information.. pinterest is most popular these days and even helpful to get quality traffic..

    ReplyDelete

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