Pinterest had a banner year in 2012. While Pinterest made dozens of substantial changes on their own platform, two key elements of Pinterest had a significant impact on the Internet as a whole.
Pinterest used automatic attribution to tame the Internet’s wild west attitude toward giving credit for creative content.
After being maligned early in 2012 as one of the biggest image misappropriaters, Pinterest has made major strides to accurately attribute the content of the Internet back to its source.
Attribution could end up being Pinterest’s greatest legacy. When I talked to Ben Silbermann in February of 2012, attribution was on his mind. He hadn’t implemented automatic attribution tags on Pinterest yet, but he was already talking about the possablity of these types of tags being used across the entire Internet. Since then, Pinterest has worked with some of the largest social network and creative content hosting platforms to implement automatic attribution links with all pins that have content originating from these sites. The system uses an API and so far the following sites are using this feature:
Some discussion of this topic from earlier this year.
Pinterest’s ability to work with some of the most popular services on the web to better provide attribution for creators is one of the biggest long term change to come from Pinterest this year. Whether these attribution tags can be eventually extended out to other parts of the web remains a big question, but Pinterest making these tags a core part of there service paves the way for other services to consider including them.
Every site on the Internet (ok, only most of them) incorporated some “Pinterest like” design.
Staggered chunks of content, whether images or anything else, became a design theme in 2012, and Pinterest deservidely got much of the credit. While other sites had previous used masonery design (thinking of many Tumblr themes), Pinterest’s success with a almost never ending page of staggered images got everyone chasing the benefits of masonry design. eBay, Facebook and The Huffington Post all did “Pinterest like” designs, as did thousands of other sites around the Internet.
Whether this staggered approach works well for other sites and types of content has yet to be fully determined, but if you talked about website design in 2012 you likely used the phrase “Pinterest like” a number of times.
Can Pinterest bring any big changes for 2013? I would love to hear your thoughts.