Male-Order Commerce: Opening the Wallet of the Young, Middle-Class Man

Minyanville

Pinterest is currently the 38th most-visited website on the entire Internet. This is a true thing that is really, actually true. That fact is made doubly impressive by the fact that women make up 80% of the site's traffic. Turns out that Rule 30 is false: There are women on the Internet, and even more importantly, they spend money.

While Facebook (FB) is having a great deal of trouble convincing investors that it has a plan to make money through advertising, Pinterest is quietly cleaning up. Shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to make an actual purchase than shoppers referred by Facebook, and they also spend 10% more per purchase. All stereotypes aside, "women be shoppin'" is a fact of life for social media sites.

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Men have money too, though. I know because I am one, and I just looked in my wallet to make sure. So how can social media websites access this huge section of the market? Men are perfectly happy to spend like crazy online when it comes to things like food (as I've said before on Minyanville, I literally went broke in college by ordering delivery every night), but is there a way to get them to shop for less transient things using social media?

The phrase "a Pinterest for men" gets thrown around a lot because of this situation, but it seems like there's finally a front-runner for that title: Tapiture, the site that dares to bring you pictures of trucks, otters, and Vicente del Bosque (for some reason) alongside a truly staggering array of young women who own digital cameras but seem not to be able to afford much clothing. This is partly due to the fact that the site is owned by Resignation Media, the company responsible for theCHIVE, which boasts "the best funny, viral and interesting photos from around the world."

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Interestingly, though, there are also a fair number of straightforward pictures of desirable products: fancy watches, cool speakers, athletic shoes that look like they were designed by car companies, and more. Maybe men are less likely to click through on pictures of nicely-decorated rooms or cute sweaters (although who doesn't like a good sweater?), but show us cars, meat, and game systems, and suddenly it could be making as much click-through money as Pinterest is. Tapiture might be keeping calm and Chiving on for quite some time.

One other site that is making waves in this market is JackThreads, a daily-deals site for clothing and accessories aimed at young urban men. JackThreads, owned by Thrillist Media Group, was the fastest-growing online retailer in 2011, and it bills itself as a sort of Groupon (GRPN) for clothes. Here's the clever bit, though: If a shopper "likes" a product on Facebook, that shopper is given a $10 credit on the site if that "like" leads to another shopper making a purchase.

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Even better for JackThreads is the fact that anyone who subscribes to the Thrillist online magazine is automatically given the chance to be a JackThreads member, which means that the site's user base is growing constantly even among people who don't originally plan to make a purchase. Users who aren't planning on buying clothes will eventually need to buy clothes, and when they do, the subscription is there in their inbox. It's devious. And brilliant.

Both Tapiture and JackThreads have the potential to link social media to male purchasing power. At the moment, Tapiture isn't quite focused enough yet on advertising and product features, and JackThreads hasn't quite made the social media push yet, but both have the traffic numbers and large user base they need to become the first sites to start squeezing money out of young men on the Internet. It's long overdue.

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