With more than 11 million users Pinterest is the current King Kong of sites featuring curated collections of images of doilies and Quaker-style furniture (among many other things). The Fancy may have trumped Pinterest in one respect–businesses can profit directly from items posted on the site. This differs from the current model used by Pinterest which monetizes content through affiliate links:
Merchants need to claim items already posted on the Fancy site in order to sell there. Right now, the startup will only accept one merchant per item. Eventually, like Google, it will list many merchants who sell an item. If no merchant claims an item, users still need to travel to a third-party site in order to make the purchase.
Joe Einhorn launched The Fancy in 2011. High profile backers include Ashton Kutcher and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey sits on its board. Until today, though, it was a lesser-known Pinterest competitor and like that site unprofitable. Business Insider, however, says The Fancy’s users are “highly engaged” and the site is more “male-focused” than Pinterest.
The Fancy is doubling down on becoming profitable by also allowing users to plan vacations there. Based on images of vacation destinations site users can book hotel rooms, even making group deals at a discount.
In an interview for GigaOM, Mr. Einhorn told blogger Ryan Kim that he intends The Fancy to “turn commerce on its head.”
“Up until now buyers for specific stores and different websites tell us what we’re allowed to buy, how much it costs and when we’re allowed to buy. In this case, we’re going to fancy the product or hotels that interest us and we’re going to let the owners or brands or merchants come to us with the appropriate offer,” he said.
Another reason Pinterest should watch its back in the dog-eat-dog world of image curation and monetization–The Fancy has Kanye on its side:
My friend Joseph’s site is really dope…thefancy.com
— Kanye West (@kanyewest) February 20, 2012