Pinterest cofounders create secret new profiles

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To better understand how new users feel, Pinterest cofounders Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp deleted their old profiles and started fresh. 

Have Pinterest cofounders Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp abandoned their fledgling startup just as it reached overwhelming success?

That’s how it might look to many of their followers. An attempt to look at either Silbermann’s or Sharp’s Pinterest profile leads to a 404 error.

However, a little detective work determined that Sharp and Silbermann haven’t abandoned ship; they’ve just moved. The Daily Dot tried inputting Silbermann’s Twitter handle, @8en, in order to find his new account. From there, we checked his follower list to find Sharp’s new profile, too. (The third Pinterest cofounder, Paul Sciarra, has his original account intact.)

Why set up new accounts? We haven’t heard an official response from Pinterest, but Silbermann’s new bio hints that it’s a way to understand the network’s growing base of new users:

“Starting a fresh new account to remember how new Pinterest user’s [sic] feel!” he wrote.

When members of PinChat, a Facebook group dedicated to Pinterest discussion, discovered the switch, some wondered if existing Pinterest users would be confused.

“Probably good to explain on the old account though #don’tforgetexistingusers ;-),” wrote Joseph Ruiz, a managing partner at Strategic Networking Solutions.

Another member, Aïda Boucheron, hypothesized that Silbermann was trying not to be discovered by old users in order to understand an ordinary user’s Pinterest experience.

“I wonder whether announcing the new account on the old will defeat the purpose of his experiment,” she wrote. “He’ll just get a million followers again – which the average new Pinterest user does not.”

So far, Silbermann has 11 boards and eight new pins, while Sharp has two pins to a collaborative board he shares with Silbermann. Despite these literal low profiles, it’s doubtful either will stay on the downlow for long: they’re both creeping up on 100 followers, far more than most three-day-old Pinterest users usually attract.

While it’s great that the cofounders are going to such extremes to identify with their user base, we think they’re going to need to try a lot harder to escape their admirers.

Photo via Pinterest

Lauren Rae Orsini

Lauren Rae Orsini

Lauren Rae Orsini is a web culture reporter who specializes in anime and the business of fandom. Her work has been published by Forbes and Business Insider.