April 5, 2018 marks a dark day for the Polyvore community: a fashion platform SSENSE acquired the social-commerce website Polyvore and Polyvore was shut down immediately. Users received no prior notice or warning, so when opening the Polyvore.com website, they hit a wall as their browser redirected them to ssense.com instead.
Ssense promised users to download their created content by visiting website account-update.polyvore.com, but this option will be opened only for another 30 days, until May 10, 2018.
By visiting the aforementioned website and logging in, you will be directed to the site’s data tool which enables to download your sets:
When clicking on the button “Request download”, all you’ll see is a notification saying your request has been received. All you can then do is wait and hope you’ll get your work back.
However, a number of people have already said the download links don’t work or don’t actually consist of all the work people had saved in their Polyvore accounts.
Not only are Polyvore fans furious for having years of their work disappeared overnight, as Polyvore was a community-based site, people are upset as they now have no means of contacting their Polyvore friends. Since SSENSE didn’t give users any warning, no one had a chance to take their connections outside the platform and so people stumbled upon an extremely unpleasant surprise when trying to enter Polyvore.com website.
Up until now, I only thought companies this awful existed in comic books and James Bond movies. It’s so upsetting to learn I was wrong.
What irritates people the most, is the fact that SSENSE and Polyvore have really nothing in common except both being related to fashion. While Polyvore was a place of inspiration, SSENSE is essentially an online store that sells high-end designer products which are completely out of budget for many consumers. Among SSENSE’s range, you can find 85€ Balenciaga black socks or designer boots costing over $1000. Those are the products someone might find when trying to visit Polyvore.com but ending up on SSENSE’s website instead.
As one Trustpilot commenter wrote: ” “SSENSE” is an immaturely and sloppily handled business, and is an example of corporate greed and consumerism at it’s worst. Up until now, I only thought companies this awful existed in comic books and James Bond movies. It’s so upsetting to learn I was wrong.”
This sudden deal has left fans baffled, but it hides some other concerns as well. By giving no warning, SSENSE took over users’ intellectual property and has potentially caused lost business for many users who used Polyvore to create sets for business-related reasons.
Beyond losing years of work or connections with Polyvore community, users worry about their data now being shared with SSENSE. As you can see from the screenshot above, you can choose to opt out from your Polyvore data being shared with SSENSE but clearly, not all users will find the place to do it. As another Trustpilot commenter said: “I’m worried about the data they do have on me and how they handle it since it appears they are just a data monger.”
According to a press release published on CNBC, SSENSE has an average of 53 million monthly page views. As for Polyvore’s user numbers, the fashion community had around 20 million active users in 2016. All of these users now have to either opt out from their data being shared or they will most likely start receiving SSENSE-related information in their inboxes.
Besides the acquisition causing outrage among fans and clearly also leading to massive media coverage, SSENSE can now enjoy other perks Polyvore had to offer. Because Polyvore’s domain now directs to ssense.com, all the referring domains related to Polyvore are now essentially linking to Ssense.
According to the data in a marketing analytics tool Ahrefs, the domain ssense.com experienced a sudden spike in their referring domains: as of April 10, their domain had more than 20 000 domains pointing to their site, while on April 5, it was a little over 10 000 domains.
Though this doesn’t seem to be a significant aspect, it means the domain ssense.com is now remarkably stronger which can mean ssense.com will now appear higher in search engine ranking results. And of course, ranking high in search results means more business for SSENSE.
To compare ssense.com domain’s growth with a normal domain, here’s Ahrefs data about Loft.com:
Polyvore users have already created a petition at Change.org, in the hopes of getting Polyvore back. The petition “Bring Back Polyvore” has already received over 12 000 signatures. As many are hoping, it might not be too late to save Polyvore and show SSENSE how their behavior really didn’t make any sense.