In November Pinterest announced that it didn’t want companies incorporating its name or even the word “pin” into their identities. Around that time Sharad Verma, CEO of Pinterest marketing firm Pinfluencer, began thinking about renaming his San Mateo, Calif.-based startup. Now, Pinfluencer is officially rebranding as Piqora, though Verma said the name change had more to do with a desire to differentiate than with Pinterest's guidelines.
“We didn’t want to be clumped with a lot of companies with the word ‘pin’ in their names,” said Verma. That list has already dwindled, though. One competitor, Pinerly, preempted Pinterest in rebranding as Reachli late last year, and another, Curalate, never included “pin” in its name. Beyond competitive separation, Verma also wanted to keep his company from being pegged as Klout for Pinterest.
“Piqora is a modern image curator that curates visuals and products on the Web,” he said, adding that “piq” suggests a focus on images, or pictures, while the letters “iq” denote the company’s emphasis on analytics and intelligence. It would stand to reason that the name change opens up Piqora to expand beyond Pinterest, and while Verma said the company is still focused on Pinterest, it's looking at other social networks like Facebook, adding the ability to index images from the social giant.
That brings us to Piqora’s first product under the new company name. Earlier this year, Piqora added image-recognition technology that could match a image pinned on Pinterest with the same image on a brand’s site. At the time, Verma said the technology could lead to a Pinterest-sourced merchandising product, which the company is now launching as Gallery.
Gallery essential mashes up a Pinterest product pinboard and a retailer’s product page into a landing page that features a brand’s products that are popular on Pinterest and Facebook, complete with item names and prices and a link to dedicated product pages on the retailer’s site. Advertisers can embed a Gallery on their own site or append it as a tab on their Facebook page, as Cost Plus World Market has done. The two other launch advertisers are Overstock and Buckle.
But Verma’s ambition is for Gallery to be more than a social-inspired product showcase. Beyond that, it could position Piqora to become an online retailer’s merchandising engine. “The goal is [for Gallery] to be on the homepage of every large retailer and publisher,” he said.
Not only would Pinterest and Facebook become the predominant merchandising signal, but Piqora could use Facebook Connect to surface products particular to an individual user as opposed to more broadly what Facebook or Pinterest users as a whole like. Pinterest would need to roll out a social sign-on tool similar to Facebook Connect to let its users' profile information factor into how they’re marketed to on an e-commerce site, but Facebook Connect could provide a temporary workaround provided users had publicly shared their pins and pinboards to Facebook. Verma said the level of personalization is “something possible in the near future ... [but] not available today.”