Pinterest has a classic Internet problem: It doesn't know how to make money off of its popularity. The twee found Internet items sharing site is a sort of social media phenomenon, engaging members two to three times better than Twitter and more than doubling its traffic since November to 11 million monthly unique visits, according to Comscore data via The Wall Street Journal's Sarah E. Needleman and Pui-Wing Tam. But, there's no solid plan to monetize all that visiting. "We have one hundred ideas but no execution as of yet," Pinterest board member Jeremy Levine told Needleman and Tam. And it's not just the standard social networking traffic to advertising equation. Considering Pinterest's natural connection to online shopping, there's hope for Pinterest yet.
As a visual site that encourages sharing pretty things -- it alludes to both wedding and food porn in its about section -- Pinterest has turned into an organic marketing tool for online shopping destinations. Fellow twee site, Etsy, for example, powers three percent of all pins, found research from RJMetrics via Venture Beat. And store referral traffic has gone up 389 percent from January to December 2011, according to this Monetate infographic. That matches anecdotal evidence from Warbey Parker and The Wedding Chick, who both told Needleman and Tam that Pinterest is pushing people to buy from their sites. "Our traffic converts to sales," Wedding Chicks founder Amy Squires told Needleman and Tam.