21/03/2012 11:59 GMT | Updated 21/03/2012 12:11 GMT

Pinspire: Pinterest's Copycat Rival

Does the stream of cake and gorgeous homes (above) look familiar? Is there something in that long red branding strip, or the repin button that you've seen before?

You're not looking at Pinterest - everyone's new favourite social medium. This is Pinspire, the copycat site that mimics the online phenomenon that has us all wasting hours re-pinning shots of our favourite homes, food, pets and fashion.

It's no accident, the Pinspire CEO Karl Jo Seilern-Aspang has a history of copying US sites and then selling them off to the originators. He launched Plinga, which was sold to Zynga and MyCityDeal which was sold to Groupon.

In an interview with Gizmodo, Seilern-Aspang backed away from the idea that he is a copycat, saying: "Of course it's no secret that we were inspired by Pinterest, we saw the hugh potential of Pinterest but we also recognised that they don't offer local content, in local languages and we still see potential to improve the user experience."

He went on to say: "Our design is very similar, but we offer a different value proposition to users...A lot of users find value in the fact that they can interact in their own language, and with content that is local and may be more relevant (ex. weddings in Germany/Spain/Brazil are different than weddings in the US). We believe this enriches a user's experience."

Pinspire also appears to be actively poaching Pinterest users. A comment on Pinterest noticed by the tech blog Tech4mommies, reads: "This looks great! I am going to repost this on Pinspire if this is ok with you!".

They noted that the majority of pins on Pinspire seemed to originate on Pinterest, writing "I don't see a reason to follow another site just to pin the same things."

Google ads is also displaying Pinspire advertisements when the term "Pinterest" is searched. The ad below was spotted on Mashable above a Pinterest article.

Facebook has also jumped on the Pinterest wagon. Friendsheet is an app that uses the photos from your Facebook news feed and lays them out Pinterest-style. Mark Zuckerberg gave it the Facebook thumbs up, "liking" it on his own page in January.

So why all the copycats of Pinterest? Precisely because Pinterest is explosively popular. According the Experian, the iamge sharing site grew from 50,000 users in March 2011 to 11 million in December 2011.

You may be surprised to hear not all Pinners are women pasting shots of hair and cakes. In the UK, the majority of Pinterest users are male, while in the US they're female.