As most of you know, my business partner Jesse and I launched a visual bookmarking website for guys, MANteresting, back in February. Aside from a few casual references sprinkled throughout some recent blog posts, I haven’t really talked much about it. Today I thought I’d give you a little insight in to how our first four months have gone, some of the struggles we’ve had, and where we are headed.
While I believed the idea of a Pinterest site – sans cupcakes, puppies, and weddings – would be successful, I don’t think Jesse or I quite realized just how quickly this thing could take off. When we first launched there was only one other site like ours. Now I know of at least five others. We are all jockeying for position to be the standout Pinterest site for guys. Fortunately we’ve managed to establish ourselves early and separate ourselves from the pack.
Our site has been viewed over two-million times, we’ve been averaging well over 200,000 visitors each month, our users have uploaded over 52,000 images, and as of Friday we can check off another major milestone: we were featured on the front page of CNN.com this last weekend (as of this writing we are still on the front page under the “tech section”).
After this latest mention, I can now say with relative confidence that we’ve been featured in EVERY major news media outlet out there. CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, MSN, CNET, CNN, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Huffington Post, Gawker, TechCrunch, and Washington Post. To be honest, it’s been surreal.
As awesome as things have been, there have been times where Jesse and I get sick of it. We were bogged down, worn down, and beat down. Our site was constantly crashing due to heavy traffic. We struggled to scale properly. We switched servers and hired on a handful of independent contractors to help us out. We grew tired of responding to interview requests, managing the social media, and interacting with users. After two months of no sleep, we needed a break. We were exhausted – both physically and mentally – so from late March to early June, we retreated and let things coast.
About a week we reconnected to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, but more importantly talk about where we want to go. Do we want to sell while we have a ton of great press? Do we take on partners to help mitigate our increasing costs and give us more free time? Do we suck it up and push on, maintaining sole ownership, in hopes of something greater down the road?
Right now, we are about $8,000 in to the site. We have another $4,000 left to spend to keep us at (or under) our $12,000 12-month spending cap. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard to commit so much money to something we haven’t even tried to monetize. It’s also near impossible for us to put an accurate value on our site. Our we worth $10,000? $100,000? Or $500,000? When we think about all of the things we’ve accomplished in the last 5 months, and all the things we want to accomplish in the next five, we are moving forward; hoping our $12,000 investment rewards us handsomely.
F.Y.I. When I registered MANteresting.com, Pinterest was valued at $40,000,000. When we launched, Pinterest was valued at $200 million. As of today, they’re valued at around 1.5 billion. While we don’t necessarily think this site will make us millions we, at the very least, recognized the potential from a very early stage.