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Wednesday, 02 May 2012 01:28

A Glimpse Beyond Pinterest

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Pinterest’s rise has helped highlight the value of social discovery over traditional search for shopping and the lesson hasn’t been lost on competitors. TheFind, a shopping search site with a trove of product data, is going after Pinterest with the launch of Glimpse, a new Facebook shopping discovery app that is built on top of Facebook “like” data. The app curates shopping pages for users based on their likes, as well the stuff their friends like.

As GigaOm reports, while Pinterest has taught people to pin the stuff they like from the web, Glimpse takes the existing data from Facebook’s open graph and marries it with its database of 500 million products and 500,000 stores. TheFind’s CEO Siva Kumar told me TheFind has been working with Facebook for some time to bridge the two data sets, mapping a user’s likes to products, their taxonomy and a user’s profile. Now, when a Glimpse user likes a page, the service can determine what product the URL is referring to, can pull up the most recent availability and pricing data and also fit it into different styles and trends.

It remains to be seen if people will gravitate toward it as people have with Pinterest. Pinterest has taken off, in part, because it’s not just about discovering products but about expressing yourself through curation. People don’t necessarily think of the Facebook like button in the same way, as a tool for curating their favorite stuff. But I think Glimpse is still a good effort to make the most of all that Facebook like data and potentially make some serious money from it.

But how? The answer is referral marketing: each time that a user clicks on a product in Glimpse, an affiliate identifier is added to the URL such that if he finally decides to buy the product advertised (or, in some cases, any other combination of products in that store for a certain period of time) the merchant can trace back and pay a comission to Glimpse. The user, of course, doesn't see any of that comission. Is this fair? Well, maybe - it is the compensation for the value provided for the service. However, when Pinterest tried to introduce earlier in February a similar monetization mechanism in partnership with Skimlinks it seriously backfired with the user community and had to be stopped. Indeed the perception in Pinterest is that the user-generated content is of higher value than the platform provided by the firm. However, where is the line? What about Twitter? Facebook? Wikipedia? Who benefits from which content in which platform?

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 01:50
Isaac de la Pena

Isaac de la Peña is a Senior Director at MicroStrategy, a leading provider of business intelligence solutions, in charge of its e-commerce products in the convergence of mobile, social and cloud computing, and a Limited Partner at Inveready First Capital, a spanish seed investment venture fund.

Website: www.isaacdlp.com

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