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Sites Like Pinterest Sprout Across the Web: Visual Grid Design Goes Viral

Annotated List of 10 Popular Pinterest Clones

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Pinspire home page

Home page of Pinspire, a Pinterest copycat

© Pinspire

Pinterest like sites are popping up everywhere as entrepreneurs rush to duplicate the success of the Web's popular image-sharing social network.

There is a Pinterest clone or visual social network for just about any specialty topic you can think of, including travel, recipes, fashion, weddings, and cats, to name just a few. There are scores of general interest copycats, too.

Most copy the grid-like visual design of the original, and many allow people to bookmark and share images they find on the Web in virtual albums similar to Pintrest pinboards. Many, but not all, require invites to join, just like the site they are copying.

What, Exactly, Are They Copying?

Mostly the knockoffs are duplicating the visual, grid-like layout of Pinterest and its system for organizing images into collections and allowing people to follow one another and the collections, too.

See this comprehensive Pinterest guide to learn more about the Web's top image-sharing site. Or check this link to learn how to get a Pinterest invite and make a Pinterest account.

Can the Other Sites Like Pinterest Survive?

It's unlikely that most of the copycats will have staying power, or that any will attract the huge following that Pinterest has. Social networks tend to be a winner-take-all affair in business, thanks to the network effects that make it more useful for people to hang out in online spaces where the largest number of people are congregating. That is particularly true for visual bookmarking and social image-sharing, the category of service these sites fall into.

Niche topics are perhaps more suitable for Pinterest cloning, since the niche versions present opportunities to build community around a shared passion and serve particular interests in unique ways. Building genuine community is harder to do in Pinterest's vast visual cornucopia, because the site covers so many different topics that it can be difficult to find and interact with like-minded people. Moreover, Pinterest is focused more on the visual feast than on interactions between people.

Many Pintrest clones actually drive a fair amount of traffic to Pinterest, though, since people often use them to find stuff to pin back on the original site. In other words, some users appear to be turning to image-sharing knockoffs to find material to pin on Pinterest, which could help clones build audience, albeit a much smaller one than the original visual bookmarking site.

10 Sites Similar to Pinterest: General Interest Clones

Below is a list of general-interest Pinterest clones. These knock-offs (not ALL were created after Pinterest, a few sites similar to Pinterest actually pre-dated it) are general in nature, covering a broad array of topics and are not focused on any particular niche, which makes them similar to the original in scope as well as design.

  • Pinspire
    is a total knockoff of the original. Almost everything about it resembles the site it is copying, from the nearly exact visual design to the "virtual pinboard," "pin it" and "repin it" language it uses. Pinspire has very similar categories of topics covered, too. Its founder is a man in Germany who has created other Web knockoffs before and sold them, presumably for their traffic value.
  • The Fancy
    The Fancy is a knockoff that uses "fancy it" in place of "pin it" to save and share images. It calls itself a mashup between a store, blog, magazine and wishlist. The Fancy has an incentive system of badges to reward people for various levels of activity and image sharing. No invite needed to sign up. There are commercial rewards from paying sponsors, too, which is part of the site's shopping system.
  • Fffound
    FFFOUND requires and invite. It is particularly popular with photographers. The founders are in Tokyo and work for a Web development and design company.
  • We Heart It
    We Heart It was created in Brazil by a Web developer and offers "inspiration" galleries of images. The concept is a lot like Pinterest except it uses "heart" in place of "pin" as its metaphor for "saving" images. Its latest tag line is "a home for your inspiration: organize and hare the things you love." You can follow friends and strangers, and don't need an invite to join.
  • Piccsy
    Piccsy is a picture sharing service that presents a grid with fewer but larger images than Pinterest. Its tag line explains the name: "picc. see. share." The site offers easy reposting of images to Facebook and other social networks. It also has its own Web-wide image search engine designed to make it easier to find visual material to share.
  • GetVega
    GetVegas tag line is "remember everything you love." It lets people bookmark images and organize them into horizontal image strips which it calls lists.
  • PicoCool
    PicoCool requires an invite to join and calls itself the "daily pulse of cool." One way it differs from Pinterest is that it allows people to actively vote to determine the most popular items, rather than just guessing that by the number of repins and likes as Pinterest does. PicoCool was founded by Emily Chang, a web designer in San Francisco.
  • ImageSpark
    ImageSpark lets people upload or bookmark images they find on the Web to create and share collections of images. But it also does something Pinterest doesn't, which is to provide tools for rearranging and merging images using layers inside albums that the site calls "moodboards." Also unlike Pinterest, this site lets users keep their collections private if they like. ImageSpark originated in Canada, founded by Teehan +Lax, which is a digital design firm.
  • Dribbble
    Dribble's proclaims itself to be "show and tell for designers." While it looks a lot like Pinterest, and requires an invitation to join like Pinterest, Dribble is more limited and restricts the number of people who can actually post images. Only members of Dribble can invite others to post. It uses a basketball metaphor to describe the "players" and "shots" they take.
  • VisualizeUs
    This site has been around longer than Pinterest. Its stated purpose is "social bookmarking for pictures." It relies on tagging images with keywords for organization and doesn't offer as much in the way of organizing tools as Pinterest.

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