Can “bros” drive commerce? Traditional wisdom says no, but brothers and Resignation Media co-founders Leo and John Resig aren’t buying that. The pair launched content and commerce brand The Chive four years ago under Resignation and have had tremendous success hawking ironic t-shirts, hats, and novelty items to guys through affiliated site, the Chivery. Now they’re doubling down with the launch of a “Pinterest for dudes” project called Tapiture.
The site has quietly been live for about six weeks now with little outside promotion other than driving traffic from the Chive. Last week it hit 1.5 million monthly unique visitors – an impressive milestone for any Web property.
Many in the Valley, who feel they’ve seen this movie before, would advise the Resigs that the “X for Y” model is a proven failure and that the only thing guys want to shop for online are pictures of boobs. The brothers are having none of it, citing recent comScore ecommerce statistics to back up their hypothesis.
The latest figures indicate that for the first time in history, there are more males shopping online than women and they are outspending the fairer sex by 20-30 percent per online transaction. Narrow this down to what comScore classifies as affluent men, and reports say that 98 percent shop online once per year, and 67 percent do so multiple times per month. Further, in the first half of 2012, sales of men’s apparel grew 8.26 percent, the largest increase seen in the category in decades.
It’s apparent then that men spend money online. What remains is to determine what they want and how to keep them coming back. On Tapiture, that will largely come down to audience curation, with select promoted products interspersed by the company.
On the surface, Tapiture appears to be a complete Pinterest-clone – not that its founders are apologizing. The site offers a scrolling tile mosaic layout, with images that are
pinned tapped by users. Viewers can re-tap, comment, and click through to the original source. There’s even an installable browser button to enable tapping of pictures across the Web. Sound familiar enough?
All images are tagged and categorized, occasionally by the zealous community member, but most often by an outsourced community management team that the company employs to tag and moderate images around the clock.
For all their excitement over Tapiture – which is a lot – the Resig brothers don’t have time to manage it themselves, on top of the rapidly growing Chive properties. With this in mind, the pair announced today the addition of new CEO John Ellis, who was most recently COO of the publicly-traded performance marketing network Webxu. Previously he held senior executive positions at NextMedium, ValueClick, Yahoo, EarthLink, and Kinko’s over the last two decades.
When Leo first mentioned the new hire, he said only half jokingly, “We’re bringing in a greybeard.”
In spite of its dude-focused irreverence, Tapiture will need Ellis’ seniority and industry experience, if it is to succeed in its plan of bringing aboard premium brands and ecommerce partners. At any time, the Tapiture home page will feature 50 popular items curated from user taps. Of these, up to ten will be clearly marked commerce opportunities interspersed by the company. See a cool watch or pair of jeans? Want to buy it? If it has a price tag on it, you’ll be able to directly within the site.
The remaining 40 or so odd items will be user images, but to avoid the over-emphasis of any one category – such as half-naked girls – the company will maintain rough proportions across a variety of subjects. There will be girls, of course, but there will also be cars, luxury destinations, apparel, and the like. Users can always search by keyword across the site or browse the image collections of individual users.
The Resigs have bootstrapped the Chive since its inception four years ago and are now significantly profitable. The pair have put up all the money used to date in building Tapiture, but are in conversations now around an angel round that looks likely to close shortly.
The idea of a commerce-enabled photo-pinning site is obviously anything but revolutionary. Tapiture isn’t even the only “Pinterest for Guys” site out there. Others include Dudepins, Manteresting, and Gentlemint, but all are having a hard time reaching critical mass.
What Tapiture has is the ability to drive a proven, highly engaged, ecommerce friendly target audience from its sister sites. As a result, in just four weeks with no outside promotion, Tapiture has amassed more visitors than all of the above competitors combined, in the estimation of its founders. Its 1.5 million unique visitors over the last month, led to 26 million page views and an impressive average visit duration of nearly seven minutes.
Tapiture is a site created by ecommerce veterans that are acutely plugged in to what the young male audience wants. Unlike many other ecommerce destinations, including the Chivery, Tapiture is designed specifically to appeal to the socially connected, affluent post-graduate male. Whether “Pinterest for dudes” is a viable model hasn’t been proven yet, but this might be the perfect storm that proves the theory.