As Pinterest ramps up its monetization efforts, the image-sharing social network has begun to stockpile some of the tech world’s more modestly sized start-ups. In one of the company’s most recent moves, Pinterest has “acquihired” the team behind Tote, a shopping app with a distinctly Pinterest-esque user base.
The move has piqued the interest of several social media marketing insiders, as it could signal Pinterest moving toward a newer model of business. Many are hoping this model will be one where brands can more directly control their presence on Pinterest.
Tote to Shut Down
To those in social media marketing, Tote and Pinterest seem like a match made in heaven. Tote taps into the web’s fashion niche, with stylists and designers posting curated lists of their favorite fashions, just like they would on Pinterest. Users can then purchase items they stumble across directly in the app.
But the sale of Tote to Pinterest is different from your typical Silicon Valley acquisition, since Pinterest has little interest in the app itself. Upon announcing the sale, the team behind Tote posted a message to users informing them that the app would be shuttered in less than a month. App users can migrate their lists onto Pinterest, but will no longer be able to purchase items directly through Tote.
Instead of buying the app, Pinterest is effectively buying the team behind the app, a move known as a “acquihire.” The team of creatives and developers from Tote will now be joining Pinterest to work on entirely new features and ideas.
Second Pinterest Acquihire in Two Weeks
Tote is actually the second acquihire by Pinterest within the past while, as the company also acquihired Fleksy, a customizable keyboard app, about a week before purchasing Tote.
Both of these purchases are a sign that Pinterest is making a more aggressive move toward monetizing its platform. To this point, Pinterest has carefully limited the ways that brands can use and advertise on the social network as a way of maintaining its “it” factor with users.
The purchase of Fleksy and Tote, however, may indicate that the company is working toward adjusting its model with an eye toward improving revenue – welcome news for those in the social media marketing world.
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