Monday, July 23, 2012

StyleSeek & Blogger's Rights

I moved to Dublin this weekend, and so I’ve only just reestablished my Internet capabilities. Today I was planning a post on StyleSeek, but in the interim weekend where I was cut off from humanity America, I missed this.
Without delving into a huge diatribe, I’ll try to break down the issue in a quick minute. StyleSeek is run in part by Ryan Plett, the photoblogger behind [you have broken the internet]. It’s an enjoyable site where Ryan (the #menswear world is all on a first name basis), posts fashiony, photography-y pictures that serve as his (or our?) inspiration. I say “enjoyable” because there’s usually a healthy dose of side-boob. Just kidding, it’s actually a pretty cool site worth checking out (not kidding about the side-boob though, wink wink, nudge nudge). 
Anyways, StyleSeek runs off a similar format, except the ideal market is customers, not casual blog readers. It starts with a short quiz to determine your style identity, then leads to pictures, AND blog posts, reposted from across the web. The idea being, you see something you like and you have immediate access to buy whatever that is. You can also add these pictures to your “Style DNA,” so what pops up is always evolving to your personal style. 

When StyleSeek launched, it had been using an improper (no, naive) method of blog sharing. They started out posting full articles from other peoples’ blogs, without the authors knowledge or consent, assuming a link to the blog would suffice in the eyes of the blog’s author (and IP law). The issue has since been fixed, so I’m not going to kick StyleSeek while they’re down. For more on the issue itself, check out Jesse’s article over at Put This On. I truly enjoy Put This On, and although I don’t know Jesse Thorn personally, I’ve come to respect his menswear advice. I empathize with him and agree with him based on his situation. Besides all the issues Jesse raises, you can’t expect a full, reblogged post to drive users to another’s site. Without an impetus to actually visit the blog in question, chances are most readers will read the article in full and continue browsing StyleSeek without giving the original blog a second thought. 

I started blogging because my career path in law wasn't turning out like I thought it would. I don't make any money off of it, and while I continue to do it because I'm passionate about it, I do hope that someday it will lead to SOMETHING career-wise. I'm too new to the game for StyleSeek's practices to directly affect Midwest-Dressed, but I'd be pissed if someone was making a dollar profit off my work without at least throwing some visitors my way.
But I digress. Like I said I don’t want to kick them while they’re down, especially since the issue has (hopefully) been resolved. As it turns out, and in my experience, StyleSeek has been pretty legit. It offers pieces focused on your personal style (while also allowing you to find where/how to buy them), but adds enough new stuff to keep constantly evolving your “Style DNA.” I question how long StyleSeek can keep the idea going, because it’s incredibly difficult to cater to the constantly changing styles of every single individual user, but I hope they can. I like being able to spot something I love, and immediately have access to purchasing it. It’s nice for compulsive people, or anyone looking to add new flavor to their personal style. I've already found this sweet backpack, since I was in the market for a new one anyways.

Thanks for reading, and more good stuff coming,



  1. Hi Nick:
    Thank you for the well thought out article. I'm the first to admit that we dropped the ball in our initial content approach at StyleSeek.

    However, I wanted to quickly mention that many bloggers on the site were contacted ahead of time, and gave consent to our approach. This doesn't excuse our actions, but I can assure you that our intent was genuine, despite the massive oversight.

    Based on the feedback from the community, we quickly adjusted our content to better promote bloggers and their work. Also, all content that was not expressly authorized was removed within 24 hours. We greatly respect this community, and we're looking forward to working with content creators to help grow the menswear industry to its full potential.

    -Tyler Spalding

  2. Tyler,

    That is a good point. And from what I understand, this was more of an oversight than a long-standing practice of profiteering off others' work. Since it has been resolved, I'm more interested in continuing to use StyleSeek as it was originally designed. Like I said, I've found it to be a really helpful, if not addicting, tool.


    Nick Longsfeld