Facebook completely dominates the social web. Google is throwing everything it's got at competing with it, and it's not going great. Everyone else has just given up. But, as always in the tech world, perhaps it's not time to pack up and call it a day just yet, new companies can and do manage to compete.
Pinterest is a great example of that. A site coming seemingly out of nowhere, mostly ignored until very recently, is now challenging Twitter in terms of referral traffic.
The site enables users to create a pinboard, hence the name, of the things they find interesting and that they believe are worth sharing. It's not pure sharing though, more so than sharing over Facebook or Twitter, sharing on Pinterest is about the personal brand, it's about how people want to present themselves.
The site is still invitation only, yet it's been growing very fast, so fast that it caught everyone by surprise. In six months it went from barely visible to the fourth biggest source of traffic for many websites in the US, as a Shareaholic study shows.
Facebook, of course, took the highest place, it was responsible for 26.4 percent of referrals in January. StumbleUpon came in second with a much smaller but still very respectable share of 5.07 percent. It dropped from 6.5 percent in the previous month.
Google managed to grab 3.62 percent while Twitter was responsible for 3.61 percent of referrals. Pinterest accounted for 3.60 percent. That's up from 2.5 percent in December and just 0.17 percent in July.
At this rate, it will overcome Google and likely even StumbleUpon within a month. Already, it's bigger than YouTube, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and MySpace, put together.