2.14.2020 9:49 PM

Tech

Facebook's Pinterest ripoff Hobbi is on track to flop

Facebook's New Product Experimentation team quietly launched Hobbi on the App Store and people hate it.

Without any fanfare, Facebook's New Product Experimentation (NPE) team launched the Hobbi app on the App Store yesterday. It's probably a good thing they didn't advertize it, as despite the lack of hype, Hobbi has managed to attract the ire of reviewers, and at time of writing has a score of 1.7 from 43 reviews. Ouch. Hobbi is billed as a visual board for your interests, which sounds like exactly what Pinterest has been offering its millions of loyal users, scandal-free, for years.

If these early indications are anything to go on, Pinterest needn't worry too much about getting Sherlocked by Facebook, though the company's shares fell 4 percent after the news of Hobbi broke. But, as of August 2018, Pinterest had over 320 million users. That's a formidable headstart over Facebook's shameless replica.

The kind of love only Facebook can inspire.

Pinterest's ongoing appeal — When Pinterest launched in 2009, women made up the majority of users, but by 2018, 50 percent of new sign-ups came from men. According to its own research, Pinterest is particularly popular among higher income American households, and 90 percent of weekly users say they use the platform to make purchase decisions.

That said, it's not just market research that demonstrates Pinterest's superiority over Hobbi. Juxtaposed with Facebook, Pinterest enjoys the sort of squeeky-clean reputation Facebook can only dream of. Unlike Mark Zuckerberg, the makers of Pinterest have never been summoned to Capitol Hill to explain how they handle user data or political ads.

Pinterest has also never been the boiling hot center of an election controversy, nor has it seen an exodus of millions of deeply unhappy users, enraged at it mishandling their information.

As a product of Facebook, Hobbi deserves to crash and burn into obscurity. Early indications suggest it's going to.