Pinterest has exploded in popularity since it first debuted. Though it only recently opened registration to those without invitations, it already had over 11 million unique users each month by February of 2012 according to comScore. Much of this popularity stems from the attractive and easy-to-use design that Pinterest offers. However, the service is not without its detractors, including those who express concerns about potential copyright infringement. The creators of LoveIt have decided that this leaves room for them to create a service that is similar to Pinterest but designed to respond to some of the limitations and weaknesses of Pinterest that have emerged as its popularity has increased. And, they hope that these improvements will be enough to convert Pinterest users to their new service.
At first glance, LoveIt looks very similar to Pinterest. In fact, I think you could be forgiven for mistaking it for Pinterest at a glance. But, as you dig deeper, it becomes evident that even if the look and feel of the two services is the extremely similar, LoveIt has some key differences. The feature I found the most interesting was the privacy settings. LoveIt lets users set any collection to private, which prevents other LoveIt users from viewing their items. This isn’t to say that the site is any less focused on sharing; users can also make collections public and can indicate who else may collaborate with them on their collections, in a manner similar to that found in Pinterest. This is not the only way that LoveIt has specifically aimed to respond to complaints about Pinterest though. LoveIt has also designed its Terms of Service to address head-on many of the copyright concerns that Pinterest has evoked. In their August 28th article on the service, Mashable quoted LoveIt’s CEO as saying: “We clearly call out in our Terms of Service that the content you bring into LoveIt is yours…We don’t claim any ownership of the content and you’re more than welcome to move it or share it on any other site you choose. We fully support the DMCA and the rights of content owners.” Beyond this, LoveIt is also designed to do a better job of automatically crediting the source of each image to avoid many of the copyright concerns that have plagued Pinterest.
LoveIt also clearly aims to be user-friendly. It combines Pinterest’s ability to follow people or collections, with a greater focus on tracking users’ interests and guiding them to content that matches those interests. Many of the features work in a way that will be familiar for loyal Pinterest users. In fact, some of the usability even represents an improvement, such as the way that you can import multiple images from a single webpage to LoveIt simultaneously with their bookmarklet. Along the same lines, their bookmarklet also allows users to import any or all of their Pinterest items into LoveIt with just a couple of clicks, a feature clearly designed to convince Pinterest loyalists to convert, though LoveIt says the feature will soon be available for other social networks, including widgets to embed collections in other websites.
After trying LoveIt out, I found that it represents some real improvements over Pinterest’s functionality. The features have all worked as promised and the site has functioned smoothly and quickly for everything from single image imports to bulk imports. Right now, the main limitation the service faces is the fact that it is still a small community. Any service of this nature, relies on having an active, passionate community and LoveIt might struggle to find such a community when many users who are looking for this sort of tool are already huge fans of Pinterest. But, LoveIt is working hard to convince users that the switch will be worth it and, based on my experience with the site, this argument may have some merit. Don’t believe me? Watch the video below to see if LoveIt can persuade you. (Hat tip to @AaronTay who alerted me to this service).