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Social Commerce Site Polyvore Shuts Down without Warning

Ssense closes Polyvore

Ssense closes PolyvoreSocial commerce site Polyvore shut down last week, and users are upset at how the new owner is handling the closure, their content, and their data.

Former Yahoo engineers launched the site in 2007, and CEO Jess Lee helped it become a popular destination for those interested in fashion. In 2015 when Polyvore sold its site to Yahoo, it boasted that it helped drive sales to retailers and marketplaces including Etsy, eBay, and Amazon.

After Yahoo was sold to Verizon last year, Verizon’s Oath division sold Polyvore to a company called Ssense, which abruptly closed Polyvore and its apps on Thursday (April 5).

Polyvore users lit up social media sites with complaints about the closure using the hashtag #bringpolyvoreback and have created a petition requesting the return of the site. This tweet from a user with the handle @LessAllice is a typical reaction to news of the closure:

“okay, well @polyvore today I’ve lost thousands of followers & tons of creations and some good people I’ve known for about 8 years on this platform. I mean 8 years. Thousands of followers. Disgusted, shocked and upset. #bringpolyvoreback”

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An EcommerceBytes reader explained, “It wasn’t just a place to make fashion sets. Many creatives used it for their businesses, created income flows, promoted their work, etc. Yesterday, I learned that the company uploaded Polyvore sets to their Tumblr account.”

On Reddit, user “ej_nova” explained the impact on sellers and why they felt Ssense was appropriating their content with no attribution:

“If you had your own products in their database and you’re a small business owner/ individual, you might be upset to find that all the set images that were shared on social media featuring your products that you added to polyvore link to the ssense homepage with no reference to you or the original site they were listed on.

“I don’t even know what anyone can do about it. I doubt it was illegal. When you submitted things to polyvore you agreed to them being used in derivative works, but that was only agreeable because the images would link to the original work. Now every polyvore image with a link anywhere on social media is acting as another ad for ssence.

“I’ve found Polyvore sets that I made using only my products, logo and other art assets – ads basically – that people shared on Pinterest that now simply point to the ssense front page. Actual ads for my work redirect to a different site that doesn’t carry any of it.

“I’m livid, but I have no idea what to do, if anything can be done.”

We reached out to Polyvore parent Ssense for comment and have not heard back by time of publication. Here’s the blog post it published announcing the closure of Polyvore:

Polyvore began 11 years ago with the mission of democratizing style and providing our community with a new way to discover and shop for things you love in fashion, beauty and home. Today we’re sharing with our global Polyfam the latest step on our journey: SSENSE, a pioneering international fashion platform known for its exclusive original content and curated selection of fashion and luxury brands, has acquired Polyvore. SSENSE will welcome our Polyvore community into their platform starting today. While this is bittersweet news, we’re excited for our community’s future within SSENSE!

We believe that SSENSE is the right community for the Polyvore members, and we’re inspired by their commitment to offering a directional mix of the most coveted labels in the world.

Starting April 5, 2018, the Polyvore website will discontinue operations and the Polyvore apps will no longer be supported. All of your content will be available so you can download your brilliant, inspired creations—to do so, please go to account-update.polyvore.com by May 10, 2018 and follow the instructions to request a download of your content. You will have until May 15, 2018 to retrieve that download of your content.

Unless you choose to opt out, we will share your username, email address and other Polyvore data with SSENSE so that they can contact you with information about SSENSE. If you would prefer that we do not share your Polyvore data with SSENSE, you can opt out of this sharing by May 15, 2018 by visiting account-update.polyvore.com. You can also create an account at SSENSE.com to start creating a wishlist and subscribe to their newsletters right away.

Most importantly, we want to thank you, our committed global community of members- people who we’ve had relationships with over so many years- watching your tastes evolve, sharing your sets, and building your communities alongside you. We’ve always had a wall of “love letters” in our office from our users around the world, and that personal connection with each of you has inspired us every step of the way.

Thank you for being such a passionate part of our community, sharing your creativity, and expressing your style. As our parting gift to you, we’ve created a final Thank You set to celebrate all that you’ve given to us over the years.
Love,
The Polyvore Team

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.