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NEW YORK — James Nord, Rich Tong and Holly Stair knew that they wanted the name of their online directory of fashion bloggers to be based on the idea of a model’s comp card — something that contained all key stats in one place.
When the three were still coming up short for a title and URL, Fohr Card cofounder and chief executive officer Nord said he turned to a manhattan — the official brainstorming cocktail of the three. He did a little Internet research and found out that the manhattan had become the official drink of Föhr, a North Sea island of Germany, after a group of young men left the island following World War II, found work as fishermen in New York City and later returned.
This story first appeared in the January 16, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“When they came back to Föhr, they brought back the love of a manhattan cocktail with them — and it’s become the national drink of the island. So we thought it was appropriate to have something personal about us,” Nord told WWD Tuesday.
Fohr Card, which sees its official launch today, is a verified digital platform solely dedicated to providing statistics and detailed information and background on bloggers. With its directory of about 1,000 bloggers, the site aims to ease the collaboration process for brands, agencies, publications or any other outlet that wishes to partner with online talent. What I Wore, Airows, Tuula Vintage, Shine by Three, EvaChen212, WeTheUrban and Textbook are among the top-ranked bloggers featured on Fohrcard.com
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Each blogger profile page contains detailed information and statistics, including follower counts for Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, as well as Google Analytics, with unique visits, page views and unique page views. There’s also interaction data from the past 30 days with the amount of “likes,” re-tweets or @ replys listed, in addition to companies the blogger has worked with and recent press. In the near future, Nord said the site will incorporate Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube into the overall ranking (he clarifies that although these stats are readily available on each profile page, only Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram currently determine rank).
Nord, along with Stair and former Tumblr fashion director Tong — who head up community and product development, respectively — believe the site will help make the process of brands collaborating with bloggers more seamless.
“We were getting e-mails every day, some from brands looking to connect with the right kinds of bloggers and some from bloggers looking to connect with brands. Nobody could find each other, and we realized there was an opportunity to build a tool to organize and legitimize the market,” Nord said. As a freelance fashion photographer, he also maintains his own blog, Highlighted Life (Jamesnord.com), ranked at 27 with more than 31,000 page views a month.
Bloggers must apply and undergo a vetting process before being accepted to Fohr Card (about 1,000 of 2,000 submissions have been accepted so far). While free for talent, any company that subscribes to the service will pay a yearly fee per user to access the database. Companies can search bloggers by category, platform and location to find those best suited to their needs. For the moment, bloggers are predominantly from the fashion and beauty space, but Nord acknowledges the vast potential in other categories as well — like food, fitness or “mommy bloggers.”
With the brand-blogger partnership experience expected to gain even more momentum this year, bloggers continue to replace celebrities and models as brand ambassadors, stars of ad campaigns, and guest collaborators and designers. And while other B2B platforms exist — like the London-based Editd, which provides valuable data and analysis in real time, as well as The IdeaLists, a digital matchmaking service of sorts that pairs clients with creative — none have the laser focus on this growing sector of the digital realm. IdeaLists founder Adam Glickman confirmed to WWD that blogger partnerships are “not the bulk of our business.”
Fohr Card already has broad appeal industrywide — counting the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Fashion GPS, KCD, Oscar de la Renta, Puma, Kate Spade and Lucky Magazine as launch partners.
Lucky Magazine editor in chief Brandon Holley views Fohr Card as a tool to further enhance its Lucky Community experience, which launched in August of last year.
“We’re a fashion brand that deals with real women and fashion, so we have a lot of self-publishers and bloggers. We’re always trying to connect brands and bloggers. Our community is huge,” Holley said.
Holley hopes Fohr Card will help Lucky discover the next wave of successful bloggers. “It’s not The Glamourai, even though we love these people,” she said. “We can reach out to them and tap them for different reasons. It acts as a résumé for the blogger and a marketplace for the brand.”
Fashion GPS Radar, the Web and mobile platform for Fashion GPS’ clients and industry insiders, will add 200 of the top Fohr Card verified bloggers to its database. This crop of talent will be readily available to brands and p.r. agencies that use the Fashion GPS platform.