The Rise of the SuperBlog

The fashion community has been talking about the launch of NOWMANIFEST — an aggregate site combining the posts, comments,  & tweets of Rumi Neely/Fashiontoast, BryanBoy, Industrie Magazine and Elin Kling/Style By Kling.  Super bloggers in their own right, you can now find all of each one's content on one site.  NOWMANIFEST's mission states:

Gathering the world’s most renowned bloggers in fashion under the NOWMANIFEST name, we aim to inspire and guide readers around the world. Our bloggers are handpicked due to their strong sense of trends and great impact on their readers. NOWMANIFEST addresses the modern consumer with an eye for fashion and style, and the ones seeking to be fashion-forward.

Throughout history, fashion is known to reflect trends in modern society. NOWMANIFEST should therefor[e] not only enlighten readers alike all over the world, but also act as a diving-board into the aspiring world of fashion today.

It all happens right here, right NOW.

This merger is an interesting one , both as a strategic business move for those bloggers, as well as for what it means for the fashion community. There's no doubt in my mind that to some degree, many fashion bloggers look up to Rumi Neely or Bryan Boy (along with people like Gala Darling, Susie Bubble, Jane Aldridge, etc.) as an example of what can be accomplished and how limitless opportunities can be.

 

Increased Traffic, Audience, & Engagement

By aggregating content, ebloggers can say, “if you like my content, you will like this other blogger's content.”  On NOWMANIFEST, each page has banner ads suggesting you visit another blogger's “site” (not the original site but, rather, a blog.nowmanifest.com version of the site).  If you like Bryan Boy's tweets, you may come upon a tweet by Elin– and be persuaded to follow her as well.  Aggregating their content works similarly to the time honored tradition of guest posting.  It's a great means of introducing similarly-minded bloggers to your audience, with the same end goals–increasing traffic, audience, and engagement.

 

While aggregate sites are nothing new in the blogging world, they are relatively new within the fashion niche.  Recently, Google began to penalize sites that were “content farms,” meaning sites that duplicated content (such as websites that scrap content from other sites, in order to increase their own page ranking) would start losing page rank.

 

Can aggregating content work against bloggers who utilize this strategy to reach their goals? Will the new algorithms work against their goals, even if it's a consensual, niche-driven aggregated site?

 

Increased Potential For Revenue

Size matters in selling ads.  The more traffic you have, the more you can sell your ads for. Even large blogs, who may receive a million pageviews a month, still fall short in traffic to sell ads.  When you're competing with sites like Amazon for advertisers, 1 million pageviews suddenly isn't a lot.

 

Ad networks can do the work of sharing ads across multiple network. According to the NOWMANIFEST media kit, the site receives an estimated 20 million pageviews a month.  If bloggers can syndicate their content in to one place, they have higher traffic to leverage themselves for advertorials, banner ads, and more.   The combined traffic of the sites could eliminate the need for a middle man and increase revenue for them individually.

 

 

Advertising Brought to a New Level

The media group engaging NOWMANIFEST, Fashion Networks out of Scandanavia, shows an example of the integrated advertising the group can do on the site. In seeing the wallpaper advertisements, the first thing that comes to mind is “This is not your typical banner ad or affiliate ad.

 

A full on wallpaper ad on a site brings a new, heightened level of advertising to the fashion blog–one that competes with sites like IMDB (one of the few sites I've seen to integrate full-on wallpaper advertising, here to promote film releases).  No longer is it a gift “courtesy of” in a post, banners in a side bar, or a few paid for text links– the site itself has now become a full time advertisement for the luxury brand willing to pay the price.  For the traffic gained by aggregating these sites, it means 20 million sets of eyes who can't avoid that advertisement.

 

Do you think this “in your face” advertising may become more commonplace?  Will we soon see Modcloth, JC Penney, or Steve Madden ads dominating the background of our favorite blogs?  If you were approached by a company–whether your small favorite indie boutique or a large luxury company– and they asked to utilize your background space for an advertisement, how would you respond?


What a Fashion Blogger Can Learn (and Use) From This:

Based on this move from the super bloggers, what shifts could the fashion community begin to see?  Are more bloggers going to align their sites in a way to increase traffic and the potential for revenue?

 

While we all might not be ready to jump off to network ourselves to others, and it may not be a sustainable move for these bloggers, there are things we can learn from this move:

  • Partnerships MATTER.  From guest posting, to re-tweeting each others posts, the relationships we build with other bloggers helps us along our own journeys.  Opportunities, ideas, and exploration come from genuine relationships and respect built between bloggers.
  • Always think about your next step. For those bloggers wanting to write professionally, you've got to think about where the next paycheck is coming from, what the next opportunity is, and who you'll build your next relationship with.
  • Don't be afraid to try something new–even if it's only new within a niche.  This is a slightly new form for fashion bloggers– many of us launch online magazines, start personal style consulting, or develop relationships with brands.  It's okay to try and pursue models that work outside the fashion niche– and modify them to work within the niche.
  • You don't need a media group to make change happen. When (and if!) you become a super blogger, it does become only natural for you to seek out help–whether outsourcing design or finding a manager.  That doesn't mean that you can't do things NOW.  You can create a tight network of bloggers to work with and see if you can't leverage your sites for advertising means.  You can outsource the stuff you don't know how to do or don't have time to do (there is always someone looking to learn and accept pay at almost any level!).

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40 Responses

  1. thefatandskinny

    This is a great post explaining this new business venture. I think things like this can be a blessing and a curse for these bloggers. Hopefully they will be able to make more money, since this IS their day job, and still maintain creative control.

    Reply
  2. Madeleine Gallay

    It’s a surprising alliance .. while the business world considers what bloggers really mean, which ones and how to interact.

    A set of what has become celebrity bloggers would appeal to subsets of advertisers.

    It’s a wide world of possibilities and good for them for exploring that.

    Curious how these several interact with designer and lux labels but truly, at this point and in my opinion, are not reflective of a sophisticated money audience.

    Reply
  3. Camille

    That is some pretty complicated networking. Is it somehow edited content? How different is it from the usual bloglovin which puts together your favorite bloggers?

    Reply
    • AsheMischief

      The only & main difference I can see between it & bloglovin’ would be how user controlled it is (or isn’t). With blog lovin’, you control whose content you read, who you find a formidable force in the industry. This site is telling you that these are the people changing the industry and only showcases those who it seems to find worthy of it…

      Reply
  4. Cate Young

    i think my perspective has a lot to do with the fact that i have no intention of ever monetizing my blog, but i hate this. of these bloggers, i only follow rumi, and i’d much rather just FOLLOW RUMI. all this in-your-face advertising is extremely off putting and i prefer the clean design of her blog rather than the flashing H&M bikinis. (they are nice bikini’s though…)

    Reply
  5. Eli

    I’m right there with Wendy, when reading this my thoughts were that this was becoming way too much like the magazine style of fashion that blogs are supposedly trying to get away from?!

    Reply
  6. Krista

    Great job diving below the surface on this new collaboration. I cannot get past the horrendous layout. I’m tired of the overexposure of same few bloggers. Interesting new model, we’ll see how it goes!

    Reply
  7. Poochie

    Ugh. I don’t like any of these bloggers any more. I stopped reading the few in that group I ever read at first. Yawn.

    Reply
  8. Bella Q

    branding branding branding. bigger isn’t always better, but it’s does seem like the next evolutionary step in the fashion blogger’s world is going big.

    GREAT post, Ashe, and lots of things for me to think about.

    Reply
  9. Cameron

    So this is the Huffington Post of fashion blogging, then. Hope it works out for ’em. Whatever happens with this will help us in the end, boom or bust.

    Reply
  10. ZahraLyla

    But won’t that decrease the bloggers’ site flow and hits? People won’t be going directly to their blog anymore so won’t that affect them?
    I’m confused!

    Reply
    • Sarah

      I think it means it will aggregate all the blog posts then link out to their blogs directly, although I may be wrong?

      Reply
    • AsheMischief

      It seems like it may depend on the site… some like Bryan Boy’s lead back directly to the site if you click on it, whereas with Elin’s, it leads to StylebyKing.Nowmanifest.com– so I’m not sure if the structure will be permanent or not….

      Reply
  11. Ayanna Scott

    Great article! I don’t know how I feel about merging power bloggers. It can get a bit distracting, don’t you think?

    Ad far as the ad concepts the premium approach is the only way I have chosen to go. I’ve created a model that provides
    only premium ad space on my blog including skinning or wallpaper. While I’ve opted to not sale ads until my site is at the level when premium ad space is most desireable. Keeping my workflow streamlined is preferred. I’d rather not work for small returns, just a matter of choice.

    It will be interesting to see what this site can do, my guess is now they can pool their resources and go after the big dollars…..not a bad idea (especially since I share the sentiment 😉

    Reply
  12. Danielle

    I feel that for personal bloggers like Rumi and Bryanboy, entering an aggregation scheme like this one is a risk. I hope that the agreement they signed is favourable, and that they’re being handsomely compensated, because this appears to be an unbalanced agreement. Nowmanifest needs these bloggers far more than the bloggers need it. It doesn’t surprise me that these two in particular have agreed to this, because so many of the top tier bloggers mentioned in this post seem much more business-minded and farsighted.

    Whenever I see these types of aggregation agreements, all I can think about is the limitations. To give up total autonomy affects the ability to be creative and to make independent business decisions. For magazines and newsy bloggers it’s different, but for strong *personal* voices/visions like Rumi and Bryanboy, I feel very strongly that their independence is part of their strength. Combined together, something intangible, yet significant is lost.

    This venture feels like an uneasy compromise to me, and I would be surprised if it lasts.

    Reply
    • AsheMischief

      You bring up some GREAT points about the risks of the site– it’s hard to tell, after a month, what will happen with the site. Your point about their personal voices & visions, along with their independence being their strengths is a very valid point– I do hope they’re compensated well too, and ultimately just maintain copyright control over their content!

      Reply
  13. kavery

    Seems like this was bound to happen – harnessing the power of big bloggers into one super blog. Great post.

    Reply
  14. Casee Marie

    I’ve only heard the basics about this venture and didn’t quite get it so you really broadened my understanding; wonderful post! As far as wallpaper adverts, I have seen that before and it never appealed to me (I mean, how could it?). One of the first blogs I ever read I eventually had to stop following because her advertisements got so out of control that the site would freeze up my browser every time it tried to load her latest post. I’ll admit I lost a bit of respect for the blogger that was willing to sacrifice her readers’ viewing comfort for monetary gain. Not that I cringe at every sponsor post, but there’s a big difference. If I have to search for your original content in a pile of H&M ads it’s a turn-off.

    Anyway, that’s getting off the beaten path of this topic so I’ll stop now. Thanks again for this post!

    Reply
  15. Dayner

    I don’t think I’m interested in reading “super blogs”. Like another commenter said, it seems like a magazine and is so big it’s totally lost that personal element – which for me, is one of the things I love about blogging!

    Reply
  16. vee

    I don’t get the difference between going to their individual site and going to now manifest. i mean, i visit fashion toast and never see now manifest anywhere.are they not fully merged?

    Reply
  17. Swan

    If it’s making those blogger’s more money, that’s a nice thing. And it’s not hidden, so that’s a nice thing too.

    Reply
  18. kristy

    great article!!!

    so… i went to nowmanifest but was seriously turned off. first of all, i can’t even find the style by kling blog that isn’t connected to nowmanifest. i don’t like the new layout… it feels “incorporated” and makes the blog lose its specialness. thankfully, fashiontoast.com still exists. when i read fashiontoast i want it to be there… not on the nowmanifest version which basically ruins it.

    i probably have a very different end goal than these bloggers or nowmanifest which explains my perspective on this… but harvesting more clicks to compete against sites like amazon in order to sell advertising just doesn’t really seem like the way to go for a fashion blog. for me, fashion blogs are special due to the limited advertising they feature. it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    Reply
  19. Heather Fonseca

    This is where I am, and what I try to do:
    Partnerships MATTER. From guest posting, to re-tweeting each others posts, the relationships we build with other bloggers helps us along our own journeys. Opportunities, ideas, and exploration come from genuine relationships and respect built between bloggers.

    I really doubt I’ll ever read the mega-mega-blogs. They just don’t really interest me. It is interesting seeing what some mega bloggers are doing to increase the money they make – so good for them!

    Reply
  20. Kate

    Like most digital platforms larger companies move in and dominate the ad space which sucks for businesses that are smaller like Nasty Gal because when a Blogger sees say JC Penny wanting to advertise honestly it does depend on the individual blogger whether to do it or not, but when they offer you 20,000 for a full page blow out for one week it’s hard to resist and a lot of blogs are now working under digital management groups for ad revenue because they can up the price…maybe not a lot of IFB blogs, but a lot of YouTuber blogs you’ll see this and as fashion blogs get more popular you may see this as well. As for aggregating sites Google hates them because Blackhatters figured out how to gain traffic from them which isn’t cool so Google usually will unrank pages that our high in that content good aggreagating sites will put up security precautions to stop it, but look at Twitter it’s still a hot spot for spam and that’s why links on there get ranked pretty low unless the page has a large follower base in which case google seems to take into special consideration that that Twitter is relevant hence why so many blackhatters try to do the follow back method, but it rarely works people aren’t dumb enough to follow back these days. Online content is king and the more relevant the more Google <3's you.

    Reply
  21. GawgusThings

    One of my daily reads recently joined a site similar to this and I have to say, I don’t like it. The ads get mixed up with the content and I find it a lot more difficult to read. I love reading people’s blogs because they reflect individuals – I feel they’re almost selling themselves out when they join something like this (although I have to say I still do read the blog!). Blogging invevitably has to evolve though and perhaps this is the next step..

    Reply
  22. Pearl Westwood

    Fantastic post Ashe, I hadn’t heard about this merge before. I have to say I can’t see the point in it from the side of the blog reader, but then I find I really don’t read overly commercialised blogs anyway. I think it is great that people can turn blogging into their full time job, I would love to be able to do that. I doubt very much the ‘superbloggers’ will loose out, as one follower leaves more will come. But for me theres ‘magazine blogs’ really don’t appeal, I find them too busy, give me simple any day.

    Reply
  23. Thomas

    Placing their content on one site only solidifies, for me, what’s ceased to be interesting about fashion blogs. Oh, you have Prada platforms? And took a picture of yourself wearing them? Well here are 122 people telling you they love your platforms!

    I’m not saying this won’t increase traffic, generate revenue, manifest some sort of destiny, et al. And god knows I don’t want to sound like The Sartorialist. But I fail to see how this is any more compelling than, say, Kate Moss wearing Prada. Or just flipping through the pages of a random look book. The entire site is built on the fact that the writers, and I use that term loosely, are young and apparently have access to an unlimited supply of fashion. What will possibly be compelling about any of them in 10 years? If everyone who writes a personal fashion blog just wants to become a brand, will they be anything more than a quaint anachronism moving forward?

    “Hey, remember those things on the internet where people used to partner with designers and then pretend they were normal people wearing clothes taking photographs of themselves?”

    In my mind the most damning thing fashion can be is boring. This site is like staring at a pretty wall.

    Reply
  24. Danielle

    Superblog v. Groupthink

    I was very interested to hear about this “superblog”. Apart from anyone’s personal opinion for or against it, it is nonetheless, something. Something a little bit different, apart, separate.

    My sense from being involved in this fashion blogging, as new and small as I am, is that it can fall prey to the same thing that every other niche in the world can fall prey to–namely groupthink.

    These bloggers may be creating alliances with established corporate structures, but in doing so they are apparently shaking the foundations of the fashion blogging world a little bit.

    I get a little queasy with all the protocol that I have noticed is routine amongst the blogging community.

    Anything that heralds newness, creates buzz represents an emerging model that is possibly a template from which to innovate.

    I, for one, have little gears that are turning trying to forecast where this might lead, how it may morph, and what I can utilize and innovate from the superblog.

    Reply
  25. Laura

    I have to agree with a lot of what has been said here. I find many of these blogs more like magazines and I can’t relate to them as much as some of blogs.
    I prefer a simple layout and no this busy themes. I don’t make any money on my blog, because I didn’t really start it to make money. But I’ll never say never.

    Reply
  26. Vanessa

    another great article. such interesting food for thought. i don´t necessarily think that the background ads are impactful. much like banner ads, i often ignore them when they are on websites. but very interesting to see bloggers align to forge new sponsor relationships.

    Reply
  27. thestrawberryfields

    I love fashiontoast and bryanboy and it wasnt until Bryan put a header on his blog advertising “style by kling” that i checked her out.I always like to check out new blogs and see different styles from different countries.
    But her blog is exactly the same as Bryans,i dont want to see that…i want to see someone who has set out on their own and stamps their own personality over their blog.Even if it is sleek and simple like Rumis.Maybe Kling did have her own layout etc before this merge but as soon as i went on it it put me off straight away…oops deja vu…havent i seen this somewhere before………

    Reply
  28. Ciara

    I haven’t visited fashiontoast in months, so clearly I’m far behind. However, this is absolutely absurd. Without a doubt, I don’t like the feel of what NowManifest is doing, it’s just overwhelming. A part of using your opinion, voice, point of view is your separateness. Creating this super blog of people I never cared to read, frankly I find BryanBoy a bit annoying at times, in my face almost ruins the blogger you loved in the first place. Two thumbs down.

    Reply