Is Polyvore Still Relevant for Business-Savvy Bloggers?

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 monetize – is 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.

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Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB) is a community of fashion bloggers who share their experiences and resources to build a better blog.

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27 Responses

  1. Linda

    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.

    • andee

      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. ;(

  2. Susann Akers

    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

  3. Marta

    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.


  4. Asia

    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.

    • June

      So true! I don´t understand why Rewards Style or Fashion Traffic don´t have a collage making app on their websites!!

  5. Rachel

    Such a helpful post. I admit I have been somewhat lost in the collage world with what to use.

  6. Ericka

    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)?

  7. Liya

    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


  8. Yasmeen (Castle Fashion)

    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.

  9. Judy

    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!

  10. Kat Skull

    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.

  11. Etesh Mangray

    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

  12. Sandra

    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.

  13. Sam

    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

      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.

  14. Charlotte

    Have you tried out Lyst – its similar to Storemate, but bigger and better….


  15. 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!

  16. Brandy @ MommySplurge

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

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

  17. Stephanie

    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.

  18. Sylvia

    I love Polivore, I love make sets izan obssecion for me to create a set and them people like it and comment. Also is a tool for my blog so I can create designs to ilustrare the post.
    But I wonder if we can monetize the creation that I made and wonderful sets or have some sponsorship for my group contests.

    Polivore is a dream that I had and know is a big company! Thank you to the creator.

  19. Rose

    Be careful using Polyvore. They don’t have the right to use all the images on their platform. I found this out the hard way, when I had to deal with a few crazy bloggers accusing me of stealing someone images, WHICH I WOULD NEVER DO! After further investigation I found out that there are a few copyright issue’s with their images, you need to read the fine print. While, I’m great at giving most the benefit of a doubt, others don’t. I’d hate for someone to experience what I did from some evil haters.

  20. Madison


    I’m new to blogging and am having a hard time getting polyvore to show up without getting the image cutoff on the mobile version of my blog. Am
    I doing something wrong? I have a large instagram following and know that most of my viewers are looking at the mobile version. Any help is appreciated!

  21. Sarah E

    Thanks for this post! I love the look of collages, but didn’t realize that there were no commissions involved with Polyvore- good to know!