Pinterest for Dudes

Eye-candy meets e-commerce at Tapiture, one of many sites focused on men.

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Over the past year a handful of sites have come up with a manly twist on Pinterest. Instead of ogling pretty table settings and wedding photos, visitors to such sites as Dudepins, Dartitup, Gentlemint and Manteresting see montages of gadgets, fast cars, and scantily-clad women. They don’t “pin” an image they like. They “nail” or “dart it.”

Meanwhile, online retailers have also started to pay attention to guys. Fab, TheFancy, and Gilt, to name a few, are winning over men with everything from quirky T-shirts and designer shoes to retro-inspired housewares.

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Tapiture, a relative newcomer to the space, is planning to do a little bit of both – give men an outlet in which to browse or “tap” their favorite images and entice them into buying stuff.

“You’re seeing a growing trend of men spending more time online, and you’re seeing that they like to shop,” says John Ellis, who was recently hired as CEO of the Venice Beach, Calif., company. Tapiture was initially built by Resignation Media as an internal tool for so users could tag, share, and save images. Resignation unveiled Tapiture in July 2012, and brought in Ellis to develop it as a standalone site.

It’s already attracting 1.5 million unique visitors a month and an average 26 million page views. Users typically hang around for seven minutes at a stretch, a long time in the virtual world.

Whereas Pinterest and its macho renditions rely on ad revenue and affiliate links to make money, Tapiture is building out a more explicit e-commerce model.

In addition to linking to other sites, the company is assembling a team of on-staff “taste makers” who will find and recommend products, ranging from apparel to adventure travel. Tapiture won’t hold inventory but it will process those orders, splitting the revenue with merchants. “Our taste makers will effectively be buyers,” says Ellis. “They’ll go out and source unique products.”

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Contrary to stereotypes about women and shopping, recent data suggests that men are actually spending more than women, especially now that they can shop from the comfort of their desks or via mobile devices. And during last year’s Black Friday, men spent twice as much online as women, the National Retail Federation found. Nearly 70% of affluent men make multiple online purchases every month, according to research commissioned by iProspect.

Yet, until recently most retailers haven’t gone out of their way to cater to men, says Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at research firm BIGinsight. “The economy and uncertainty all around has forced retailers to tap into this whole other market,” she says. “And with social media and constant connectivity it’s easier to do.”

Sites that find and recommend unique items are particularly valuable to the male shopper, she adds. “Women are planners who’ll make shopping an event,” she says. “Men just want to find what they’re looking for and be done.”

Men are also more inclined to impulse buy, says Ellis, adding that Tapiture will focus primarily on items around $50. So while users may initially visit the site for the eye candy, Tapiture hopes they’ll find something they like along the way.

It’s the virtual equivalent of going to the mall for the movies and leaving with a shirt.