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David Allen March 18, 2012 0

Pinterest on steroids | Meet TheFancy.com

The following column is by Social Media Specialist David Allen, and represents the opinion of the author, not the opinions of TrendEMe or its staff.

Yes, we’ve all heard of Pinterest and its reinvention of interest-based content platforms, but one issue keeps popping up in almost every talk of social media: long-term life expectancy.

Social Gamification at Work

Places like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – they’re all in the same boat. Without monetizing their digital cattle calls, their business model will flop. Facebook has ads, Twitter has promoted tweets and Pinterest apparently can sell the content its users upload.

But is that enough for success down the road?

A new startup, The Fancy, might have the answer Pinterest wants — the ability to sell and create deals directly on the platform itself.

From TheFancy.com “Help” section:

“Fancy is part store, blog, magazine and wishlist. It’s a place to discover great stuff, to curate a collection of things you love, to get updates on your favorite brands and stores and to share your discoveries.”

Translation: It’s a glorified affiliate program, and a smart one at that – exactly how Pinterest should be.

Pinterest doesn’t create content. Its users do. But with that comes the power of curation; the sheepherder to a flock of millions. There’s no better means of making money than driving it through the content the community is so quick to provide. Without a cash stream coming in, investors (and eventually the community) will either pay through the nose for a membership, or be subjected to ads (hello Facebook and Twitter) to recoup the difference.

FastCompany.com writes of The Fancy:

“New York-based startup, which features gorgeous products and allows users to “Fancy” them, has a few serious competitive advantages: The backing of PPR, the French conglomerate that owns fashion brands such as Gucci and Bottega Veneta, which led a recent $10 investment round at a $100 million valuation; a board that includes Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Square and original Facebooker Chris Hughes; endorsements from celebrities like Kanye West; a tight-knit community of curators churning out top-notch content and charting the taste graph; and as of today, a social commerce platform that allows brands and merchants to sell products directly from Fancy.”

Sounds like something Facebook and Twitter can only dream about: a surefire source of cash and social commerce: refined. Facebook can only sell so many FarmVille tokens before users tire of buying intangible goods.

TheFancy also ties in social gamification to the mix. That is, much like Foursquare or GetGlue, you can earn badges based on your commitments and community uploads.

This is probably the best social business plan I’ve seen in a while, barring AirBNB. Having a solid business plan is the foundation every social startup should consider.

Facebook made its millions (billions) on venture capitalists and investors. Is it a success? Unquestionably so. But how many clicks will it take before users reach the center of frustrationland and leave? The world may never know.

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