In Spite of User Growth, No One Bought Tumblr’s 6-Figure Fashion Week Packages

Tumblr celebrated their billionth post yesterday, the same day a report from Nielsen’s says that US internet users spend more time on the blog network than Twitter, and the company is said to be valued somewhere around $800 million. In spite of those remarkable statistics, it looks like Tumblr still has some work to do when it comes to solving their fashion brand problem.

Tumblr's New York Fashion Week page is brought to you with no sponsored interruptions

The problem? Tumblr attracts plenty of likes, reblogs and attention around fashion content, but for fashion brand marketers and managers, there aren’t any tools to measure those thing. Add to that, Tumblr Fashion Director Rich Tong‘s client side manner has left a lot to be desired for some brands. BetaBeat first picked up on negative reactions to a  proposal circulating before Fashion Week that sought sponsorships when basic analytic and measurement tools are non-existent.

Tumblr’s response to Jeremy Cutler, who developed a popular suite of browser based add-ons for Tumblr called Missing E, has been a lawsuit threatening to sue if the developer doesn’t pull his browser extension. {BetaBeat} In other words, Tumblr will get around to responding to user feature requests on its own time, and for those handling social media for fashion brands Tumblr time isn’t fast enough.

As you might imagine, when a sponsorship deck with pricing starting at $100,000 hit the desks of some of the same brands already frustrated with demonstrating the value of Tumblr, the response wasn’t exactly favorable. {Mashable}

Raman Kia, who handles the accounts of brands like Net-a-Porter and Lacoste as Head of Digital Marketing for Starworks, took to his blog to explain:

“We invited Tumblr to a meeting with one of our clients. I am not in a position to reveal any names but I can assure you that this brand is one of the largest online retailers of luxury fashion globally… So, it came as a surprise to my client that the person representing Tumblr at this meeting had no idea who my client was. Let me just put this in perspective: This is one of the biggest retailer of luxury fashion in the world (did I already say that?) – and probably one of the most reputable and prestigious. It’s like saying I am the Director of Automotive but I’ve never heard of BMW or Mercedes!

In the second instance, for another highly known fashion retailer, after an event was negotiated and agreed upon with Tumblr and our brand had put time and resources into planning the event, Tumblr simply pulled out and gave the event to another brand that they preferred to work with. What made this worst was the manner in which we the agency and the client were treated. It was more like a politicians [sic] denying a sex scandal in the face of clear evidence. In this case, even when presented with proof of the agreement we were told that the proof was not proof.” {the Social Warrior}

Daniel Saynt, the blog founder turned marketing director of Rebecca Minkoff, had a more favorable opinion of Tong.

“I remember reaching out to Rich once I found out he had joined the Tumblr Team,” he says. “I remembered his work with and was interested in finding out how Tumblr was going to engage with fashion. He reached out to me right away and hosted me at the Tumblr offices to discuss projects with Rebecca Minkoff. He was helpful and attentive, he answered back emails and we were able to host 20 Tumblr bloggers at the Rebecca Minkoff Fall 2012 fashion show.”

Saynt says that he gets “that people are angry about not feeling included in Tumblr’s larger plans, but exclusivity is intrinsic to the fabric of this industry. To hear brands, the same types of brands that were slow to embrace bloggers in the beginning, complain about not being able to ‘get into’ the inner circle of Tumblr seems ironic.”

Nevertheless Tumblr’s New York Fashion Week page and Fashion tag page, which were available for sponsorship at $150,000 and $350,000 respectively, are notably sponsor free.


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