This morning Google announced the launch of Boutiques.com, "a fashion website that lets buyers take an eHarmony-like compatibility test to figure out what types of fashion they like and then shop for shows, clothes, and accessories to their heart’s delight" [source].
Since I am secretly a tech news nerd and not-so-secretly married to a computer whiz, I zipped on over and made my own profile:
While there, I noticed that "inspiration photos" were pulled from various websites including Weardrobe and Couturious and I took a little quiz that was quite similar to one I took on Covet a while back. This made total sense to me since I knew that Weardrobe, Couturious, and Covet were all acquired by Like.com last spring. Like.com was bought by 'net giant Google in August. To review:
Weardrobe.com was bought by Like.com along with Covet.com and Couturious.com. Like.com was bought by Google who mixed them all into a big pot and birthed Boutiques.com and now Google owns it all.
This morning, a few folks wondered how Boutiques.com could use their style photos without their permission. This is a misnomer, because technically they did get permission a long, long time ago when we signed up to be a part of Weardrobe. Per Weardrobe's terms of service:
You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Service. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Service, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
Essentially this means this (as quoted verbatim from Hubs):
we (including any of our subsidiaries or owners) can do whatever we want with the content you upload, including making money with it, and you are not entitled to any remuneration (payment) or credit.
Some folks are mad that their photos are on the site, whereas others are bewildered as to why their photos are on there but are credited incorrectly. Because of the volume of Weardrobe photos, the incorrect credits are most likely due to a mistake in the code. Hubs points out that there is no way that someone went through every photo on Weardrobe and typed in credits. Most likely a computer code was written and it has some hiccups. These can be corrected easily via email.
Being a part of all these online style galleries is tricky. On one hand, I've made some wonderful friends through these sites and (let's be honest here) it helped me gain a little traffic and recognition when Adored Austin was first getting started. But on the other hand, it's a little disconcerting knowing that via each site's terms of services (which you have to agree to to sign up, whether or not you read them) I lose a little more control over my own images. It's a trade-off that one should seriously consider every time she signs up for a website (be it sites like Weardrobe and Chictopia or even just Facebook and Twitpic).
When it comes to shopping, we're very good at asking ourselves "Worth it or not?" but we really should start doing the same when joining online communities.