Taking a Tumble

The Fashion Industry Wants Tumblr to Get its Fucking Act Together

 The Fashion Industry Wants Tumblr to Get its Fucking Act Together

What me worry?

Tumblr is reportedly in the midst of raising its biggest round to date, bumping the company’s valuation to a whopping $800 million. But while Tumblr has great growth to go along with this funding, it still has almost no revenue, outside of the chump change it collects on paid themes and the partnerships it has with established industries.

One of Tumblr’s biggest success stories thus far has been its relationship with the fashion industry. Tumblr had its bloggers featured during fashion week. Big brand and startups have both invested heavily in the platform. For some startups, Tumblr is the audience network on which they built their business.

But patience is starting to wear thin, even among Tumblr’s fashionable fans. Many are tired of being asked to pay for sponsorships, especially when they would rather be investing in basic analytical tools which Tumblr seems unable or unwilling to deliver. 

UPDATE: Tumblr is Reportedly Looking to Hire a VP of Finance to Gets Its Business in Order

Last night Jessica Coghan, Director of Digital Media at the influential fashion PR house Starworks, which reps brands like Ann Taylor and Kate Spade, posted this from her Tumblr:

So, I am sure you have all heard that Tumblr is sending some bloggers to fashion week again this season. I have also had the pleasure of seeing their sponsorship proposal being shopped around to brands, which I am not supposed to be talking about. I will say this… someone is completely out of their goddamn mind.

Fashion brands have adopted this platform in a big way and do you want to know what fashion brands need from Tumblr? An analytics dashboard! We are on all here managing blogs with the help of Google Analytics, but there is nothing catering to the tumblr only based metrics- reblogs, likes, followers, etc. There is nothing out there to help brands quantify their presence here. What works? What doesn’t? And it’s not about visitors- it’s about engagement in the oh so tumblr way.

They could actually make money from this analytics platform- I would pay for it for my clients. I would absolutely get behind a cost like that on an evergreen basis, which has to make way more money than this flash in the pan fashion week nonsense.

This is not the first time Betabeat has heard about the problems fashion folks have with Tumblr’s dashboard. In fact on two or three separate occasions fashion-tech startups have reached out to us to pitch a similar complaint. But its worth noting that its not just the startups which are angry, but the big brands as well. As Julie Fredrickson, who does Digital and Social Media at Ann Taylor wrote on her Tumblr in response to Ms. Coghan’s post,

I am going to go on record saying that no one at Tumblr reached out to Ann Taylor with a proposal for Fashion Week and we are

1) the first fashion brand to be on Tumblr (even though we carefully avoid press since this piece as a company)

2) have invested MAJOR brand and development dollars into the platform (see ArtSheSaid, OnTumblr) going on for over a year now.

3) Actually have the wherewithall and knowledge to be a good sponsor of this as a company

Please someone who is a grown up at Tumblr listen to the brands that care about you. It isn’t just Users First, Brands Second. Hell at this point you are Users First, Brands never. Take a cue from Michael Lazerow’s comments on that post and realize that brands pay the bills when VCs stop.

Rich Tong-if you don’t actively pursue these options you are not doing your job. You know that Ann Taylor loves Tumblr, you know that we invest money, and yet you have ignored us. Unless I am mistaken your job is “Fashion Director” so act like it.

Sure, you could point out all these complaints about Tumblr were posted on Tumblr, which seems to have a lock on the personal blogs of fashion industry folks. But it certainly seems as though, if Tumblr isn’t careful, the blogging wunderkind may squander the goodwill and business opportunity the fashion industry presents.

Follow Ben Popper via RSS.

Comments

  1. langer says:

    lol but aren’t users are always saying tumblr is always “brands first, users never”?

    the internet!

    1. Anonymous says:

      brands as users first, users as losers second!

  2. I run a music blog on Tumblr and I’ve been saying this for a long time.  I’d LOVE to see an analytics dashboard, simply for the fun of knowing exactly how deep the engagement goes, but also for a business standpoint… this gap prevents me from knowing and selling my blog’s true reach.

    1. Jimmy Morris says:

      As we have discussed on several occasions. Ditto.

    2. How much would you pay per month for analytics? 

      1. I’d easily pay $5 to $10 a month – I bet brands would pay a lot more!

    3. Aaron says:

      (off topic) Mark – Your music blog kicks ass by the way. 

    4. jose jimenez says:

      I second Mark’s statement here.

  3. No ROI metrics, no business model.

    Back in the day you could sell billboard ads and just assume it was good exposure.

    But there’s no reason not to have metrics. Twitter is awesome with that. 

  4. Andrew Korf says:

    I love tumblr – but the user experience to this day is often baffling … and yes, basic personal real-time analytics – ummm…. yesterday. 

  5. anonmint says:

    The thing is that if Tumblr would wipe out all the useless GIF and f*ckyeah___ pages, it would be a decent site. I have Tumblr blocked off in Avast Additional Protection because it’s such a waste of bandwidth and I’m getting sick of people linking to it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I took a closer look and definitely see why the industry needs to get a better understanding of what users are seeing in their Tumblr Dashboards: http://cbus.se/r3I80r (it’s a long post)