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New York Fashion Week: Tumblr Selling Blogger Influence?

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As a blogger covering NYFW, and covering it independently in a neutral-like-Switzerland mode without pay, I was shocked to read Mashable's report about Tumblr shopping bloggers' content to brands during NYFW. According to Mashable, part of the proposal included a $10k cost for brands to do private events with the bloggers, not including the venue and other costs.  Ka-ching! I find this a little shocking.  With all the designer rock stars  front and center during NYFW, plus the buzz around events at Fashion's Night Out, why would a brand pay this amount of change to 16 bloggers who are on Tumblr?   No offense to my fellow bloggers, who I respect, but I don't think bloggers are the stars of NYFW.  We might contribute to the voice of NYFW and the social buzz, but I don't think we should be for hire.  Where's the street credibility in that? 

The whole Tumblr shopping for $$ trip for NYFW was exposed by Jessica Coghan, director of digital marketing at Starworks Group. She blogged her frustration with the sponsorship proposal Tumblr Fashion Director Rich Tong pitched to her, and the high prices.   "I will say this... someone is completely out of their goddamn mind," notes Jessica on her blog with a graphic that cheerfully says "Suck It."   I agree with her that social media is about engagement with  the people who actually read the blogs, tweet and use Facebook.   I don't think that you can sell social engagement to brands via party appearances, and not for these prices.  Social engagement has to be developed over time, and I think bloggers can run adverts and do sponsored posts leveraging their social platforms and engaging socially, but I hate to see bloggers using their "klout" to just make party appearances and then to write about them.  Just my opinion.  I like Tumblr as a platform, and have a blog there myself. I just don't like the Fashion Week proposal using the bloggers. Reading the article on Mashable gave me a bad flashback to Sarah, Duchess of York peddling influence to Prince Andrew, captured by the now defunct News of the World.

Here is a snapshot of the Tumblr proposal.  As Mashable reports,  you can see that "sponsorship of Tumbr's NYFW page and tumblr.com/tagged/fashion are priced at $150,000 and $350,000 for the week, respectively. Brands can also be guaranteed product placement in each of the blogs for an unlisted sum."

Now that this has been published, I wonder how many fashion brands want to be seen as placing advertorial, not editorial, with Tumblr bloggers? What do you think readers?  And I can't help but wonder, how much Tumblr was paying to their bloggers and how much they were keeping for themselves?