Last month there was a bit of controversy in the fashion blogging community. Kim Kardashian had began promoting an app which bloggers thought was going to cut into their affiliate link sales. Messing with people’s earning potential, especially bloggers who make astronomical sums from doing things that the rest of us do on a daily basis (getting dressed), is never a good move, and when people have a platform to make their voices heard, their criticisms will be noted.
The app in question, called ScreenShop, allows users to screenshot any image they see online, even Instagram posts, and receive customized recommendations for similar products or links to the same products that were featured in the image that they can immediately shop. It will stop the mass of comments on people’s posts asking where items are from (that are often ignored to generate further engagement) and make it so much easier to recreate your favorite celebrities/bloggers looks.
Fashion bloggers have taken particular offence to this app, and Kim Kardashian herself, saying that the app is just a way for Kim Kardashian to monetize someone else’s content. Bloggers make insane amount of money from affiliate links, and being able to provide their followers with links to products that prove advantageous to the content creator allows them to make money to continue doing what they do. The most common route taken by bloggers to monetize their Instagram (besides doing paid collaborations with a brand) is to use the LikeToKnowIt app.
LikeToKnowIt is part of Reward Style, one of the original affiliate link programs that allowed bloggers to start linking the products that they wore to stores that they could be purchased from whilst getting a cut of the sale price. Often bloggers only make money if people actually buy what they link, but some programs go one step further and allow bloggers to make money for clicks alone. Since RewardStyle started back in 2011, the platform has generated over $1 billion in sales. LikeToKnowIt is a further development of the Reward Style program. The app, used by bloggers and shoppers, means that when users like a photo from a content creator they will receive an email providing information on where to buy all of the products seen in the photograph. App users can choose the frequency of the notifications, with the majority opting to receive the product information as soon as they like the photo. Some influencers can make up to $20,000 per month from the app. That’s a lot of money given that they monetize various other platforms (blogs, YouTube channels) and still participate in paid promotions and endorsements with brands. It seems that the money train for bloggers is never going to stop.
For this reason, Kim Kardashian’s app is being perceived as a strong threat. Bloggers are worried that somebody else may be getting a cut of their profits. Their complaints can’t help but sound ridiculous to an audience who doesn’t live the lavish lifestyles that they see on bloggers’ social media though. It is a little bit difficult to sympathize with the influencers, but I can understand why they are upset.
It’s not all bad news for the bloggers though. The ScreenShop app doesn’t have the best reviews. Apparently the matches that it comes up with aren’t fully accurate or sometimes even in the same vein as the product shown on the influencer’s post. The examples shown by Kim Kardashian on her promotions of the app were obviously pre-tested to ensure that they demonstrated the app in the most positive light. The quick, seamless integration of the app and social media channels isn’t quite as it seems initially too. I haven’t personally tested it out yet so I can’t give a definitive review, but from what I’ve seen online it doesn’t look like the bloggers will be as threatened as they initially thought.
The whole hoopla around the monetization of content got me thinking about blogging in general. Nowadays bloggers, in the original sense of the word, don’t exist. Their blogs have been put on the backburner, with their Instagram feeds serving the main purpose. They’re now pseudo-celebrities. There are some influencers who developed a following just from their Instagram photos, not even a blog or a Youtube channel. Because of the perceived easiness, so many kids want to be influencers when they grow up. That is their dream job. That’s kind of scary. But, is it all bad? After all, a blogger is an entrepreneur. They create their own schedules, they often start businesses, and they often make six figures a year at a very young age. Not so bad, huh?