Earlier this week, men’s shopping site Complex called Pinterest “bad for the Internet” and “the most regrettable social network yet.”

“Even by social nework standards, Pinterest represents an all-time low in terms of capacity to enable valuable human activities,” wrote Reggie Ugwu.

Regardless of your opinion of Ugwu’s statement, it shows that Pinterest has gotten too large and too influential to be ignored, even by its opponents. Its addictive platform has spurred exponential growth that just won’t quit—even as tech journalists insist they “don’t get it.”

Haters need to face the facts: Pinterest simply isn’t going away. All the old arguments are crumbling as users realize the network isn’t not just for women or any other group. It’s even getting some people hired.

Here are the three reasons that it’s time for stragglers to own up and embrace Pinterest at last:

It drives more traffic than Twitter.

Pop quiz: what’s one of the best ways to get eyeballs on your website? If you answered Twitter you would have been correct ... until this February. According to the latest numbers from third-party social measurement tool Shareaholic, Pinterest has taken the lead.

Though it’s still behind Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and StumbleUpon, Pinterest’s referral rate grew 20 percent within a month. Meanwhile, most of these other sites remained static or, in the case of Facebook, declined by several points.

Pinterest is playing in the big leagues now, and if it continues to grow at this rate while others stay the same, it’s only a matter of time before it overtakes other referral methods.

 

It’s worth an enormous amount of money.

According to the latest numbers from PrivCo, Pinterest was valued to be worth $500 million.

During Pinterest’s Oct. 2011 funding round, the site was valuated at $200 million. PrivCo’s inflated number takes account of Pinterest’s hockey-stick growth in the following months.

Pinterest is still experimenting with revenue strategies and certainly doesn’t bring in this much cash at the moment. However, a number like this might set the minimum for potential buyers. No telling what the max price would be; Business Insider suggests Google ought to buy the site for $2 billion.

It’s spawned a legion of copycats.

You know you’ve come across a good idea when everyone else starts doing the same thing.

It started with “Pinterest for men” sites like Gentlemint and Manteresting. Now, there’s a Pinterest for everything.

Like to travel? Try Wanderfly. Like luxury shopping? There’s Fancy for that. What about Facebook and Instagram? Easy, go to Friendsheet and Pingram. Heck, there’s even a Pinterest for dating—TheComplete.Me.

It’s too early to tell if any of these copycats will take off like Pinterest did. But their very presence says something powerful: Pinterest is onto something worth duplicating. Even if these replicas disappear after the hype, the idea that inspired them will stick around. 

Photo via Pinterest