Pinterest has generally been ignored by the advertising world at large, but the site is making big moves to assert its relevancy. As of last week, the social media website has done away with their invite system.
Pinterest has used the invite model since launch, but it hasn’t been as talked about as other invite-only services, like the ones Google is always rolling out. At most, people have had to wait a week to get their invite; most others simply got referred from a friend and signed up immediately. Still, the removal of the invite system is indicative of a new direction being taken by the site.
So starting this week, when people navigate to Pinterest, they’ll see the old “Request an Invitation” replaced by the much more inviting “Sign up now.” It may seem like a small thing, but it will likely result in a boost of the userbase. There are no hard numbers, but we can safely assume that some percentage of visitors saw the invite request and instead navigated away; an additional percentage likely requested the invite and then never followed up. Offering the ability to sign up instantly is a lot more welcoming to new users, as the exclusivity of an invite system wears thin quickly.
The other major change implemented by Pinterest is the default layout. Before the update, users automatically started with boards about products, books, locations, style, and home decor. A quick glance at that list reveals what the site thought to be their main audience–women. With the update, Pinterest now offers four blank boards, allowing users to define the experience for themselves.
These two changes, while not earth-shattering in and of themselves, represent a new direction for the company. They are becoming increasingly open and are clearly looking to broaden their audience; a broader audience means more people to market to. So are you on Pinterest yet? Because you really should be.