Apple Reportedly Seeking to Buy Social Shopping Site “The Fancy”

Apple is reportedly in talks to acquire The Fancy, a social e-commerce site in the style of Pinterest, according to information obtained Saturday by Business Insider. With the acquisition, Apple allegedly hopes to grab a slice of the growing e-commerce market, expanding the choices for the company’s 400 million iTunes customers from digital media to general online shopping.

The Fancy, initially launched as an invitation-only photo sharing community in late 2010, opened to the public in January 2011. Like its rival Pinterest, the site allows users to create an account and then share product images with others. Unlike Pinterest (for now), The Fancy is geared more towards online transactions, allowing users to directly purchase items posted by other users, with the site taking a 10 percent cut.

The Fancy CEO Joe EinhornThe Fancy CEO Joe Einhorn (via AllThingsD)

“We’re really focused on the commerce angle, and I think different sites may be focused on self-expression,” The Fancy CEO Joe Einhorn told TechCrunch in February. “We’ve constrained our growth to be laser-focused on commerce, and that’s working for us in terms of the quality that’s on the site.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met last month with Mr. Einhorn at the Sun Valley Retreat, an annual meeting of industry moguls in Sun Valley, Idaho. A few days after the meeting, Mr. Cook opened his own The Fancy account, which has since been set to a private status.

While The Fancy has a significantly smaller user base than primary rival Pinterest, the site’s already-established revenue model may make it a more attractive choice for Apple, should the Cupertino company choose to enter the general e-commerce market.