Three questions to ask yourself before creating that Pinterest Clone

Pinterest clones are everywhere. I mean, just everywhere. And like Bollywood directors, a lot of entrepreneurs tend to ‘get inspired’ and are launching a Pinterest clone in the next few days. I know of at least 5 in the making (2 launched, 3 more to go).

But before you launch a Pinterest clone, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself:

1. What’s that 1 use-case for the product?

Why should one use your product (the Pinterest clone, we are talking about)? For instance, if its just about sharing images, or making a shareable collection of images – aren’t there tools available? Is Pinterest styled pinning the best approach? There surely is a use-case for ‘collating’ and ‘curating’ – but is Pinterest format the only way? (FYI: Pinterest for p0rn has been a hit and so is ‘Fancy’, the ecommerce clone of Pinterest).

For instance, one of the geeks I know is building Pinterest for picture sharing and strongly believes that Instagram and Path aren’t competitors(?).

2. The target segment?

Very often, startups tend  to build ‘everything for everybody’. Pinterest is very special – they targeted a community (i.e. women) which is mostly untouched by the technology/media world. Maybe that’s why they are a success and maybe there is a need to do something similar for men (and other specific segments).

The question is whether you are building ‘everything for everybody’? Is there an intent you are targeting?

Pinterest clone
Pinterest clone: That's not a Pin!

3. In for a long run?

“A Yale grad with no engineering background, Silbermann worked for Google before launching Pinterest with some friends in late 2009. Real-time text feeds were the rage at the time, and some observers felt that an image-based pinboard was doomed to fail.

Nine months later, the site still had less than 10,000 users. “I think I personally wrote to the first 5,000 users,” said Silbermann, who also gave the site’s users his cell phone number and met some of them for coffee.

“A lot of people ask, ‘Why did you keep going? Why didn’t you bail?'” he said. “I think the idea of telling people, ‘We blew it,’ was just too embarrassing.”

Small but steady growth, and a belief in their product, kept his team going. As recently as last summer, Silbermann and a few programmers were running Pinterest from a small apartment. But then the site began to gain traction and tech blogs took notice. [CNN]

That is, it took Silbermann 2 years to taste success. Assuming that Pinterest has created a *pinning* category (just like Digg created Digg-ing category), it might just take you a minimum of 1 year to get traction.

Are you willing to take that bet? Or you are in a hurry?

Pinterest is special, because not everybody understands it – in fact, not everybody really understands how (and why) to use it. So, if you are making *cool* things just for the heck of it, all the best.

And, if you think there is a point in building Pinterest for India etc, ask yourself why there exists no Twitter for India, Youtube for India, Facebook for India etc. The world is becoming flat and unless you have a compelling value-proposition, chances are very less that people will pin you.

Having said that, if you plan to actually solve a pain-point and strongly believe that Pinning is the *only* way, go for it (and do let us know when you launch).

What’s your take on Pinterest clones?

Recommended Inforgaphic: Do you Pin it or just Fancy it [Pinterest vs. Fancy]

Also see: Explained: How to create Pinterest Clone Using WordPress