Is Polyvore Still Relevant for Business-Savvy Bloggers?
By: Taylor Davies

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Remember when you first started your blog? You asked around about what sites and networks you should join, who to follow on Twitter, what platform is best…

When I first began blogging in 2009, one tool that was noted as essential to fashion bloggers was Polyvore. The social commerce platform allows users to create collages or “sets” featuring items from virtually every e-commerce site you can think of, as well as editorial images, design flourishes and text. It’s easy to use, and easy to export your creation to your blog using HTML embed code. Personally I’ve used it many times on my blog, and aside from some wonky editing functions (the sets shrink if you publish and then try to edit it after), I’ve been happy with the aesthetic results.

Betabeat reported in August that Polyvore recently topped 17 million uniques per month. They also opened an office in New York’s Soho neighborhood (right near us) this summer, in hopes to better connect with the fashion side of their business (the tech team is still based in Silicon Valley). It’s evident that Polyvore wants to work more closely with fashion media and bloggers; they had a partnership with T Magazine back in March, and held Blogger awards in 2011 that nominated bloggers who appeared often in Polyvore sets. They also have a blogger network, for which the potential benefits are largely related to traffic and general exposure.

Polyvore definitely has a lot going for it. Recently though, I’ve found myself wondering if there isn’t a tool out there that benefits me (or my blog) more. Sales made through Polyvore don’t return financial dividends to the user, which to be fair, is not their intent as a tool. “At heart, Polyvore is a fashion community focused on creating beautiful images, so we are focusing building our tool that we know helps bloggers make beautiful collages and connect with a huge fashion-forward community,” says Eugenia Chein, Polyvore’s Blogger Marketing Manager.

If you’re using Polyvore for the fun, the visuals and for the convenience, that’s great – and same goes for spreading your influence to different communities on the web. But if you’re a blogger trying your best to monetizeis Polyvore your best option for creating collaged visuals?

So, now you’re all looking at me going – alright then, present the alternative!

The best straight-up monetized collaging tool I have found is through ShopStyle’s ShopSense (owned by Sugar, Inc.) – which uses affiliate links so you can earn money from click-throughs and purchases by your readers. ShopSense has a “Layout Widget” (among a few other visual widget options) that allows you to create a shopable collage. Truthfully, the visuals with this one aren’t quite as dynamic or customizable Polyvore’s.

If you’re creating collages yourself, your freedom is virtually unlimited. Many bloggers I know use Photoshop or even Powerpoint to make theirs by hand, then list out affiliate links of their choosing to lead readers to shopable sites. (I think Grace of Stripes & Sequins does this really well.) Using a freehand program also gives you much more control over the specs of your visuals, and allows you to mix and match links from different networks. (This isn’t to say you can’t incorporate the same tactic below a Polyvore set, which you definitely can.)

Collaged visuals have a lot of money-making potential for bloggers, but of course, that’s not all that blogging is about. You should create layouts and images that you like, and that your readers like. A site you love and are proud of is more important that squeezing every last drop of possible monetization from it.

We want to know: Do you use Polyvore on your blog, or do you prefer other collage tools or platforms? Is monetizing your collage posts important to you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  1. Avatar of
    Marta says:

    I love collages, but I prefer making them on my own. I gain more control on the layout. I’m kinda a control freak when it comes to my pictures/collages or any other content I share with my readers. I want to present the best visuals possible. So Polyvore isn’t an option for me.

    :)

    http://everydayvoguemk.blogspot.com

  2. Linda says:

    I would not use a tool that keeps all of the commissions for themselves. Polyvore is definitely not good for the serious blogger.

    I love ShopStyle but their layout editor is not very good. Often times I will make a layout in Photoshop and then insert a basic ShopStyle widget beneath it.

    • christine says:

      Hi Linda and Susann,
      I just wanted to say thank you for the feedback on Shopstyle! We’re always working on trying to make things better too — Susann — we do have an affiliate program, and you can check it out here: https://shopsense.shopstyle.com/page/ShopSenseHome
      It’s called Shopsense, and I’d be happy to guide you through the process (I’m currently the head of the Shopsense program, and would love to tell you more. You can reach me at cng@sugarinc.com.

      That being said, I’m a huge fan of Polyvore myself — and I think that many new bloggers, both old and new have really embraced the program and have really given everyone the ability to really create great looks, curate, and learn from what they’ve created what works best for them. Additionally, they’ve also been super transparent about the data they learn from their community, and their intelligence report has been fantastic for anyone who wants to learn more about what people love and trends — something that has proven valuable to both bloggers and retailers alike.

      • andee says:

        I used to use Shopsense ALL the time but they recently made some changes to it and I have not been making as much money with them. Unfortunately after being a long time user I have had to switch to another affiliate network. ;(

  3. Avatar of Susann Akers
    Susann Akers says:

    I love Polyvore -I feature my own products within the sets. I find it easy to use and I am always pleased with the results.

    I have never come across ShopStyle and I have often wondered why Polyvore dont offer an affiliate programme so that Bloggers can make some cash from the companies they are giving free advertising space to.

    I use Google adsense to monetise my blog and I blog to drive some traffic to my website. I will go and check out ShopStyle

  4. Anneke says:

    I still use polyvore.

  5. Avatar of Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Such a helpful post. I admit I have been somewhat lost in the collage world with what to use.
    http://www.glitzyblues.com

  6. Zoi says:

    I love polyvore and i use it very often on my blog posts!
    Check my blog!

  7. Asia says:

    I use Polyvore to make collages but I always end up having to link up to my RewardStyle account to monetize the sets. I would love to see RewardStyle come up with a collage feature because I really love what they are doing over there with some of their new features.

  8. Ericka says:

    I’m new to blogging and I’m trying to start monetizing on my site. I tried to sign up under reward style and I was denied; what does my blog have to look like or what do I have to do for my blog to qualify (i guess that’s the right word to use)?

  9. Liya says:

    honestly, i haven’t ventured out to any kind of collage sites except POLYVORE, even though i am well equipped in editing and putting it together using photoshop or photoscape. I use polyvores for my Trend Watch post, just way too simple for me and easy to make it visually appealing. Plus, i can pin it and tweet it. x

    thenuliya.blogspot.sg

  10. If I’m out and about I’ll use Polyvore for fun but if I have access to my desktop I’ll probably work on Photoshop or Corel for collages. Obviously, you have more customization options with software like that.

  11. Judy says:

    To be honest, I did not know about the other site mentioned. But I definitely will check it out and “play with it” to see how it could work for me.
    I do use lyst.com, which provides some cash back, but my cut is limited and issued quarterly. I am waiting for the first check…
    Thanks for the info and I’ll report back after I experiment!
    Judy

  12. Kat Skull says:

    I use Polyvore but include reward style links below the image. I’ve tried using the Shopstyle editor and it was really bad. Polyvore is super easy.

  13. Hello – I am really glad you have written about this topic. We are building a tool just for this purpose and would like to enlist some help to make this product great. is there a way to reach out via IFB for this? Thanks

  14. Sandra says:

    I’ve been using Polyvore since 2011 mainly for creating art. I’m more an artist than a fashionista. :) Poly has pros and cons but for me it’s a flexible way to create collages quickly and get those hundreds of ideas out of my head and where I can see them! I agree with Marta, though….the limitations of Polyvore are frustrating if you want crisp images. Lately I’ve been re-creating my “Poly sketches” in Photoshop so I can add the shadows, FX, filters, etc. I am also trying to track the sources to make sure I use copyright and public domain pics because I hope to sell some of these collages as prints in my Etsy shop. I will continue to use Poly for the ease of use, the social factor (love receiving feedback) and the ability to store thousands of images from around the Web.

  15. Sam says:

    Have you wondered how polyvore make money? If you like me i can tell the difference between an affiliate link from another link. I have noticed that some of the items they have do redirect to Shareasale, cj ect. Is there a way that they actually make money from ShopSense as well? Just a thought.

    • Melissa says:

      Yes, I could be wrong but from what I have read Shopsense is making money by not giving you the full commissions. I also heard that the links redirect from their page benefiting their SEO and not yours.

  16. Riley Jade says:

    You may want to check-out Storemate.com and chicisimo as good alternatives.
    If you want ‘something different and chci’ try out storemate.com
    The best part about storemate is, It’s the perfect combination of polyvore and lookbook, I get to upload my photo as centerfold of collection like in lookbook and add a collection of products to it like in polyvore. It publishes a neat magazine-like collection for you, which with a single click you can post on your fb-timeline or pint rest and ask for votes !!!!
    http://www.storemate.com/live/514b5d8f00b5410653afafaa/view
    The best part is you get to make collections with friends and family in real-time ….. that’s the fun part I have not seen on any other site.
    Right now I am totally hooked onto it …..
    I have been Storemate’s “Featured Designer” for 3 weeks, straight! ( My proud moment!) :D

  17. Avatar of Stephanie Dawn Sjoberg

    Wow. I recently made yet another Polyvore collage…and I LOVE doing it. I try to use an item I recently purchased and then style it. HOWEVER, I came across this article because it seemed odd to me that we are creating these selling tools and there is no monetization involved for the creator. Therefore, I recently decided to create my own.
    Thanks so much for the info on ShopStyle’s Shop Sense!

  18. wait, doesn’t everyone just use polyvore & take a screen shot?

    http://mommysplurge.com/holiday-gift-guide-beauty-guru/ (my silly jokey gift guide)

  19. Stephanie says:

    I don’t use polyvore basically because I’m jealous of them. I had a similar idea about a decade ago but my partner and I never went forward.

    Basically Polyvore is making millions of dollars generated by their users content and they just sit back and watch the money truck roll in.

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