CH 1, p. 47


Pinterest views Google as its primary competitor because searching is a core part of its mission. Although Pinterest is primarily visually based, it also uses text searching as well. Google is a primary competitor in the search arena because Google is the pre-eminent search engine. Almost no one else even comes close. Yahoo used to be comparable, but that was years ago. Searching via the internet used to be very narrow and non-intuitive. This is very different now with meta searching capabilities incorporated by Google as a standard capability. This used to be a specialty feature in the past by such providers as Dogpile and Momma.


Pinterest focuses on mobile platforms when developing new features and products because of the ever-expanding ubiquity of smartphones. About 80% of its traffic in 2016 was from mobile users. Social networkers are addicted to their smartphones and check social networks constantly during the waking day. As smartphones expand so does mobile e-commerce. It is only natural for Pinterest to have a mobile platform be the common denominator for software development. More and more consumers are making greater numbers of purchases over smartphones moving forward.


Copyright infringement is a definite problem for Pinterest. This is because of the visual nature of the platform. Images are posted very quickly and can be re-posted many times over extremely quickly. Posting image permission and/or attribution is voluntary. Pinterest is not required to police this activity, yet; they may or may not be required to police it in some form in the future depending on possible future litigation. An image policing requirement would severely hamper them and could threaten the livelihood of the firm. This is an issue in the developed world where copyrights are taken seriously. This is not as much of an issue in the developing world where it is not taken so seriously if at all in some countries.

CH 1, p. 50, Projects



This company excels at ubiquity. One can access the firm from any internet or Wi-Fi connected device (computer, tablet, etc.), or from a smartphone. It performs well at this.

Global reach is limited somewhat. Amazon is primarily a U.S.-based company, but itís international footprint is expanding.

In terms of universal standards, Amazon is no better or worse off than its competitors.

As far as richness goes, the company is pretty good. Their content is multi-media. It gets better all the time. One thing they are particularly good at is providing product specifications/background and user ratings. Here again, the firm performs well.

Interactivity is so-so. They are very good at collecting consumer information, but limited in adjusting their experience to the visitorís actions.

Information density is quite good. It is accurate and timely. They often have the best prices even while providing some of the most expansive product information. This is probably the thing they best perform well.

Personalization/customization in my opinion doesnít really apply to Amazon. They donít sell services, only products. This is probably where they perform most poorly.

Social technology is limited. The only content that is really user created is product use feedback (ratings). Here again, they perform fairly poor overall, even though their user feedback is strong.


Dear President and CEO of Amazon,

You perform well at the expanding the ubiquity of your firm. Congratulations.

Your companyís richness and information density are quite good. Many millions of people explore your site to conduct consumer research before they ever commit to a purchase anywhere, online or in person. Keep up the good work.

There are two areas for improvement: personalization and social technology. I would recommend you begin to explore the idea of selling services in addition to products. Also, you should try to find ways to allow users to post and link (screened) product-related multi-media on your site.

Thank you very much for your time.


Bob Webber



There are more than a million businesses featuring 10M products on Pinterest. Businesses can leverage sales on the platform because of the high exposure potentially received because of the ubiquity, or shear volume, of use; there are over 150M users. Nearly three-quarters of users have purchased something they saw on Pinterest. Thatís impressive.

Pinterest also has direct buying capability through their app for users. Companies that promote products on Pinterest can take advantage of this capability to increase revenue. The costs to pursue this? I can only speculate, but the ROI is probably really worthwhile for stable legitimate firms of retail products.

Almost one-fifth of social traffic to commerce sites is driven by Pinterest. This is provided primarily by buzz. People highlight and feature products they use on the site. Other people see this. A fraction of them are influenced and go onward and purchase the same products. In this way, Pinterest is a social media marketing force-multiplier.

Powerfully, Pinterest links consumer-made advertising with retail purchase capability.