Earlier this month, I got my invitation to join Pinterest. It was, apparently, the hottest things since, er, the last hot thing in social media, and I was quite looking forward to seeing this social scrap-booking service. It:
“lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.”
From an architecture, engineering and construction perspective, I had read about how Pinterest could be used as part of a company’s online marketing to showcase building products. For example, friends at Pauley Creative had blogged about its potential (see: Case study: How a UK flooring company is using Pinterest, plus video); and The SEO benefits of using Pinterest).
A few days later, I got an invitation from the developers of OpenBuildings.com (ExtranetEvolution post; pwcom post), telling me about their new service, Clippings.com. As a PR person, clippings can mean news coverage, but this is different. Clippings is very similar to Pinterest, only oriented towards architects and interior designers and their customers. For clients, the service:
“features curated design inspiration for your home or commercial projects and matches you with architects & designers nearby.”
Similarly, and like Openbuildings.com, it can be a marketing platform for designers:
“Clippings is a new marketing channel that uses your portfolio & your inspiration to connect you with potential clients. … Use it on a daily basis to organise your design ideas and to share your style.”
In the same way that Pinterest allows you to ‘pin’ content to your own pin-board, Clippings lets you ‘clip’ images you like within two broad categories: home design and commercial design. According to a follow-up email, the developers are also offering early adopter customers in London a free “concierge service” to help you start your design project (“suggest some design ideas, research professionals who would be able to make your project happen and help you start talking to them”).
The timing is convenient: Clippings can ride the Pinterest wave, and explain what it does by reference to the latter, but differentiate itself by being focused on a narrower range of interests (no weddings, no recipes), just architecture and interior design (some of it apparently already shared via OpenBuildings.com). While it faces direct competition from Pinterest (launched in 2010), which has also already achieved considerable online buzz and critical mass, perhaps it will carve out a dedicated niche.