A few days back, I wrotePinterest Spawning Look-Alikes, Competitors, Porn” target=”_blank”> an article about other sites that were popping up that are using the Pinterest layout. Copycats, if you will. There are direct Pinterest competitors, aiming for the same target audience. Something like that is to be expected. Build something innovative and there will be others that copy it, then seek to improve on it, cashing in on the loudly-announced shortcomings of the original. Myspace used to be the social networking big dog. Facebook supplanted them through cleaner layout, more control of experience, etc. It happens.
Then, there are sites that effectively use the Pinterest layout without competing with them directly. That “pinboard” (some call them “imageboards”) layout is not just suited for displaying wedding dresses, flower arrangements, etc. And, Pinterest will no doubt try to expand their vision and get people to understand that they can indeed be all things to everyone.
But, there is a catch. The key to whether or not a Pinterest-style layout will work is to understand that it is image-driven. There are captions, and pinners can take advantage of that capability to further draw someone to click on their pin with a good description. But, generally speaking, if you don’t have a good image that catches attention, the Pinterst-layout is almost more trouble than it is worth. You end up spending a lot of time trying to generate an eye-catching image that is also relevant to your content. Sometimes, there is none.
For example, what image goes with this article? The Pinterest logo? A picture of a pin? Something porn-related (keep reading)? On Pinterest, it is expected that the information behind the pin is very relevant to the image on the pin. If the image is of shoes, the material had better be about those shoes, not about labor conditions in a shoe factory in China.
The point is, while Pinterest seems like a revolutionary idea, it’s just another way to organize stuff that was already out there and being organized. And, no better place to see this demonstrated than in porn.
Stick with me here, we’ll keep this safe for work.
On a typical porn “tube” site featuring videos, there are categories. These are typically listed down one side. Some of the more SFW categories might include “blondes”, “brunettes”, “celebrities”, etc. Once in a particular category, a typical “tube” site will have a pageful of video thumbnails.
Now, some porn sites are going to a more pinboard-style layout. All the same categories are there, but imagined as “boards”. The thumbnails are now “pins”. Not much has changed, since this was a visually-driven site to begin with. The only caveat to this is the “masonry” style layout. Essentially, the material is organized in columns, as opposed to rows. This allows for easy scroll-down browsing, with a “jump back to top” button that follows you.
The real test will be to see if porn-surfing ever becomes a “social” phenomenon, where users “pin” their favorite videos, “follow” each others boards, and “share” materials.
Somehow, I doubt it.
So, the pinboard-style layout it another tool in a web designers toolbox. But, sometimes that’s all it takes to catapult a concept from obscurity to stardom: a better way to look at it.