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Invite-only rule scrapped as Pinterest opens doors to all

Pinterest, the popular virtual bulletin board site, has done away with its invitation-only rule and finally opened its doors to everyone.

"Today we're thrilled to announce open registration!" the company announced on its blog this week. "For those of you who haven't joined Pinterest yet, this means you can sign up without waiting for an invite: all you have to do is go to to get started."

Pinterest lets you "pin" or save images you find online that you want to remember or share with others. As you save images, you add them to "boards" in different categories that you create. Other Pinterest users can see what you pin, and you can follow other people to see what they find intriguing, useful, or funny.

New users can sign up using their Facebook or Twitter login. Or, if you prefer, you can use your email to create an account. From there, you can explore and begin pinning everything from decorating and craft ideas to fitness inspiration, recipes, wedding photos, and more.

Until now the site was invitation-only, meaning users were only able to sign up if they were invited by an existing member, or if they requested and received an invitation from Pinterest.

"We're really excited to have the capacity to offer Pinterest to more people and if you're a Pinner with friends who've been waiting on the sidelines, we hope you'll let them know," the blog post said.

Palo Alto, California-based Pinterest in May raised $100 million (£64 million) in a funding round lead by the Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. The funding round valued Pinterest at $1.5 billion (£960 million).

The site, which launched in beta in March 2010, had more than 20 million users as of April, according to data from comScore. Traffic to Pinterest surged earlier this year, particularly in the US where it became the third most-popular social network behind Facebook and Twitter, according to Experian.

But its popularity hasn't come without a few problems. Pinterest in February provided the option for website owners to opt out of having their content directly "pinned" on the service in order to avoid copyright disputes. The site has also been plagued with weight loss and free gift card scams.