Pinterest is ramping up its international strategy by kicking off a localisation effort in the U.K. today, tweaking the site so that it deliberately foregrounds U.K. content to U.K. users and also adding a British English language setting to make Brits feel more at home. The U.K. is the first part in what appears to be a bigger strategy to target more usage, and more users, outside of the U.S., with France likely to be the next country to get the localizing treatment, according to a spokeswoman.
We’ve asked Pinterest if it is conducting parallel localisation efforts in other global markets and will update this story with any response. Update: “Pinterest does feel like it’s just getting started with its localisation efforts and with the UK being the first international effort the team is hoping to learn a lot from it, in order to inform how they reach out to communities in other countries. France is likely to be next but Pinterest is waiting to finalise these details until after they’ve learned more from the UK,” the spokeswoman said.
The company is not currently breaking out user numbers, but according to one estimate Pinterest had some 40 million users as of February this year.
Back in February Pinterest raised $200 million in Series D funding – with “international growth” pegged as one of the growth-oriented initiatives that the money would be used for. Last year it also picked up a $100 billion investment from Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten – a further sign of its international ambitions. While in March this year, Pinterest rolled out a design refresh, adding bigger pictures and more discovery features worldwide.
It also rolled out a web analytics product to make it easier for businesses to track referrals and measure what users are doing on the site. Today’s localisation efforts reinforce that effort by encouraging greater user engagement — and driving engagement is likely to be key to helping the social network generate revenues some day.
Here’s how the company explained the U.K.-specific site changes in an email sent to TechCrunch:
…more UK Pinners and pins will be suggested to UK users on the site. Also, when a new person in the UK joins Pinterest, they’ll now see other Pinners in the UK. In addition, search results will feature more UK content. Finally, Pinterest is making sure that people in the UK can access the service in British English. We’re hoping this will lead to more British pinners discovering things they love on Pinterest.
In addition to these U.K.-specific site customisations, the visual social network/content discovery site is also kicking off a dedicated community event — using the hashtag #PinitforwardUK – in a bid to raise its local profile.
The Pin It Forward UK initiative, which also kicks off today, will be used to spread the word about the new, U.K.-flavoured Pinterest. The company has recruited 30 bloggers to post Pinterest-related blogs over the next 30 days to “celebrate their passion” — or rather explain how to use Pinterest to post blogs and, through that, hopefully reel in more British eyeballs.
Each day 10 or so bloggers will post about their passion, describe how they express it on Pinterest, and introduce the set of bloggers for the next day. Long-time UK pinner, Will Taylor, from Bright.Bazaar today started things off with a guest post on the Pinterest Blog. Pinterest will be promoting Pin It Forward UK on its blog, social channels (using #PinItForwardUK) and will also be featuring the best boards as part of the Pinterest Weekly emails.
Pinterest said the U.K.-specific site customisations are a “first step” in its effort to improve the experience for U.K. users, and are the result of feedback it has received from U.K. users.
Bright.Bazaar’s Taylor’s introductory blog on the Pin It Forward UK campaign explains that the site never officially launched in the U.K. — rather it was switched on globally and allowed to grow organically — adding that the idea behind the campaign is therefore to “make Pinterest feel more natural, welcoming and interesting to local audiences”.
Is it still possible to do something new with online forums? The answer is yes, according to Patrick Clinger, founder of ProBoards — he’s launching a new version of the company’s forum-building software today.
Clinger told me that today’s launch is the company’s first big update since 2008. The company was founded in 2000, and in the beginning, he said ProBoards “actually did have the best software,” but he said that over the years it has been overtaken by other companies (one of the latest competitors is the recently announced startup Discourse).
“It’s been a little bit of a game of catch up,” Clinger said – and he argued that with ProBoards version 5 (which was already in public beta testing), the company has taken the lead again.
During a recent trip to San Francisco, Clinger gave me a demonstration of the major new features. He seemed proudest of a new “live search” feature, which brings up search results as you type. That might not seem like much more than a nice tweak, but Clinger said, “One of the biggest problems with forums right now is search” — a clunky search experience makes it tough for users to find conversations that are relevant to them.
There’s also a dashboard that allows users to track their activity across multiple forum accounts, a new theme system for administrators to customize the look of their forums, a WYSIWYG editor that makes it easier for anyone see what a post will look like before they hit publish, and notifications to track any thread that someone has participated in — users can get someone’s attention via notifications by using the same “@USERNAME” tagging that we’ve become so accustomed to on social networks.
Speaking of social networks, I asked Clinger if they’ve taken the place of forums in some ways. He said they have, but “it’s been for the better,” because most of the general conversation among friends has moved to Facebook and Twitter, allowing forums to become more focused on “very topic-based discussions.”
ProBoards has been used to create 3.5 million forums, Clinger added, and he estimated that about 1.2 million of them are still active, in the sense that they’re still getting “a pageview every now and then.”
As for today’s update, Clinger said all new forums created on ProBoards will be on version 5, and admins of existing forums can also sign-up to be placed in the upgrade queue.
See the article here: ProBoards Upgrades Its Forum-Building Tools With A New Dashboard And Live Search
Oh, Flash. Remember when there was still a little reason to believe that it wasn’t a dying medium? When the angry Android masses swore up and down that the absence of Flash would be the death of iOS… only for Adobe to kill their Android effort after just a year?
The shambling corpse of Flash takes another punch to the face today, with game engine Unity announcing plans to drop support.
For the unfamiliar, Unity is a pretty friggin’ awesome game development engine, used in releases like Rovio’s Bad Piggies, Temple Run 2, and a host of other games. I used it pretty heavily to build my Augmented Reality TARDIS project, as well.
One year ago, Unity began work on a feature that allowed developers to export their Unity projects to a Flash SWF file. While the company plans to keep Flash support around until the next major Unity release, the only work they’ll be putting into it moving forward is bug fixes.
Unity CEO David Helgason has a full post on his reasoning here, but his three-part logic is pretty straight forward:
As you might expect, the comments on the Unity post have turned into a bit of a war zone, with much of the heat thrown by those who somehow haven’t moved on since the summer of 1999.
It’s been fun, Flash. We had some good times on Newgrounds back in the day. You’re still my favorite platform for video playback until HTML5 gets its W3C wings. But it’s sleep time soon, okay?
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Spring has arrived in New York City. The sun is out (besides today). The snow is finally gone. It’s time to shed the winter layers and head outside. And in the spirit of spring, we want to give one of our readers a ticket to Disrupt NY and the ultimate outdoor toy: A Parrot AR Drone 2.0.
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