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Fashion Industry Warns Tumblr To Get Their Shit Together

Rich Tong, with his Something About Mary hairdo, is in deep shit. Betabeat published a rather scathing article this morning about how Tumblr is up its relationships with fashion industry insiders and large corporate brands.

“Jessica Coghan, Director of Digital Media at the influential fashion PR house Starworks, which reps brands like Ann Taylor, Kate Spade and Tory Burch posted this:

So, I am sure you have all heard that Tumblr is sending some bloggers to fashion week again this season. I have also had the pleasure of seeing their sponsorship proposal being shopped around to brands, which I am not supposed to be talking about. I will say this… someone is completely out of their goddamn mind.

[...] Julie Fredrickson, who does Digital and Social Media at Ann Taylor wrote on her Tumblr in response to Ms. Coghan’s post:

I am going to go on record saying that no one at Tumblr reached out to Ann Taylor with a proposal for Fashion Week and we are

1) the first fashion brand to be on Tumblr (even though we carefully avoid press since this piece as a company)

2) have invested MAJOR brand and development dollars into the platform (see ArtSheSaid, OnTumblr) going on for over a year now.

3) Actually have the wherewithall and knowledge to be a good sponsor of this as a company

Please someone who is a grown up at Tumblr listen to the brands that care about you. It isn’t just Users First, Brands Second. Hell at this point you are Users First, Brands never. Take a cue from Michael Lazerow’s comments on that post and realize that brands pay the bills when VCs stop.

Rich Tong-if you don’t actively pursue these options you are not doing your job. You know that Ann Taylor loves Tumblr, you know that we invest money, and yet you have ignored us. Unless I am mistaken your job is “Fashion Director” so act like it.”

At this point, Tumblr’s fashion industry ass-kissing is embarrassing and Rich Tong’s presence at the blog platform inexcusable. How much money is he making to sit around and beg for fashion week invites all day without providing these brands any returns on their investment?

Wait, wait. Sorry, what’s that sound? I thought I just heard something. Oh, never mind. It’s Tumblr crashing and burning at NYFW. Again.



  1. avatar floppy

    Shame. They have none.

  2. avatar KAS

    Had time to interview 50+ fashion bloggers over Skype, didn’t have time to reach out to Ann Taylor with a proposal for NYFW? Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

    • avatar Lancelle from Paris

      Had time to interview flirt with 50+ fashion bloggers over Skype…

      Fixed that for ya!

    • avatar Albie Quirky (No Relation!)

      Would Ann Taylor agree to give THE REAL RICH TONG a REAL BLOW JOB?


    • avatar hoosierlawyerdaddy

      bingo. ann taylor’s target consumer age range is way out of tong’s target age range…

  3. avatar bf

    Ok I’ve read their exchange 3x, and me no understand. Are Coghan and Fredrickson agreeing with each other or arguing?

    and – why would they avoid press?

    help, as I is the dumb!!!

    • avatar Lancelle from Paris

      They’re agreeing that Tumblr is the dumbz.

      • avatar bf

        I’m kind of shocked and impressed at the same time (self dichotomous disagreement) that the PR flaks would be so publicly candid, namin’ names and all….

        Then again I hate Tumblr so def leaning towards impressed.

        • avatar KAS

          Julie Fredrickson reblogged the post by Jessica Coghan and made all the comments about Ann Taylor. Then, she links to the Beatbeat post with the title “It Is Probably Important To Remember People Read My Personal Tumblr”. Tags: I don’t speak for Ann Taylor, Views Expressed Are Not That Of My Employer. I guess even social media professionals sometimes forget how public the internet is!

          • avatar bf

            exactly – that’s kind of PR101 so I was surprised it was so personal and direct by people who would assumedly advise their clients NOT to do just that.

            but I still always enjoy reading a well deserved rant!

          • avatar cATEGORY 5 cUNT

            She may be right about Tumblr and Tong, but Julie Frederickson has past form of acting in poor judgement and being an asshole. Going into details would be too revealing, but she doesn’t always make the most sound choices.

            • avatar hoosierlawyerdaddy

              ya, if i were her i’d be dusting off my resume after that exchange…

    • avatar vapidcunts

      They’re def agreeing.

    • avatar two fendi purses and a silver lexus

      yeah it’s confusing. writing skills and the fashuns seem to be mutually exclusive.

  4. avatar vapidcunts

    What does Rich Tong do all day I wonder?

    I don’t rep fashion brands, but I do rep other brands that could be great on a platform like tumblr, but we would never pitch it because of shit like this. Hello, theme of the year is engagement! I’m writing a social media strategy presentation right now for our agency’s use of social media and we haven’t included tumblr because there’s no way to set measurable goals, other than number of likes/reblogs/followers which doesn’t tell you all that much.

    I use tumblr for personal purposes but using it for a business makes no sense to me in its current state.

    • avatar SomeoneWhoKnows

      Oh no it wasn’t. It was in response to someone at another agency with fashion clients. A variety of people are familiar with the situation because the email was wildly forwarded.

  5. avatar Super_Nintendo_Chalmers

    OUCH. Fredrickson’s post was scathing. I’d feel bad for the Real Rich Tong if he hasn’t shown that he sucks at managing business relationships. After all people, let’s not forget this little incident:

    Tong obviously misunderstands the power dynamics here. You didn’t do Ann Taylor Loft or any other brand a favor just by announcing on your blog that their Tumblr has gone live. THESE BRANDS ARE CLIENTS. It is his job to make sure their every need is met, even the needs they don’t know they have. What good is it to be a Fashion Director if no fashion brands want to work with you? Where’s the value added in that case? Tumblr is a free platform that these brands don’t have to use. If you want them to add to Tumblr’s “cool, hip, fresh, now” image, then when these people say “jump” you say “how high?”

    Given this post and Tumblr’s performance during NYFW in February, I’m dying to know what show(s) and parties Rich has been able to talk his way into this time around. I wouldn’t be surprised if the schedule is much sparser this time around, seeing as how people who worked with him last time are now going to avoid him like the plague.

    I would say that Tumblr should fire his ass if I didn’t know that he could probably walk right into another job at another NYC tech startup and behave exactly the same as he does now with the typical overpaid “cool tech startup” salary.

    /everything sucks.

    • avatar DonnieDriveBy

      I would like to think that someone who failed so epically and publicly would have a REALLY hard time finding a new job at a NYC tech startup.

    • avatar two fendi purses and a silver lexus

      if there was a like button, i’d hit it

  6. avatar JFA

    I’d be very shocked if this asshat still has a job in a year. I’ll also be very shocked if anyone gives two shits about tumblr in 3.

  7. avatar Colonel Mustard's Tiara

    Can I just say WOO FUCKING HOO!!!!!

    I might start shopping at Ann Taylor now.

    Part of my former job was to advise companies on their media strategies, and I would always spend at least half a day discussing why exactly Tumblr is a total waste of their time, despite the fact that they can have “followers.” Tumblr has only succeeded so far in spite of itself, because people rushed to glom onto it just out of sheer popularity (see also: Twitter), not because of its functionality. And I’d also like to state that it sounds like Rich Tong’s entire job is 10% of my former job, and I would usually do that 10% in under an hour each month.

    • avatar bf

      Twitter I get- like mini, short messages/ feeds. Not real conversation.

      But I’m getting annoyed with every company saying “visit our facebook page!” too. I hope that is not replaced by PLZ VIZIT R TUMBLRZ

      • avatar Colonel Mustard's Tiara

        Cannot WAIT for Tumblr and Facebook to fail spectacularly.

        • avatar KAS

          Nooooooooooo – Without Facebook, how will I stalk all my high school crushes????

          • avatar Colonel Mustard's Tiara

            Something better will come along — it always does. That’s why I can’t understand why or how these companies are “run” by drop-out social rejects with no business savvy. They do nothing to sustain their users and in fact they basically taunt them at every turn. Maybe they just weren’t on the internet when MySpace, LiveJournal, Geocities, and Friendster were popular.

          • avatar Albie Quirky (No Relation!)


            I used to look at photos of other people’s children on MySpace, and now I look at them on Facebook. Will probably move on to the Next Big Thing, whatever it is.

            • avatar here's the thing

              FB is good for business because its where users already are. They’re already there posting pics and playing Farmville and god knows what else. Twitter is actually pretty good, too and now with the new short links you can really see how much traffic twitter sends.

    • avatar floppy

      I do this now and get ooked out when Tumblr gets mentioned. Ugh no. Big no.

  8. avatar Colonel Mustard's Tiara

    I knew this guy and the company he works for were a total failure when I heard about his personal life (because of what HE put on the internet). When you are a representative of anything, everything you do — including your private life — is a reflection on you and the company. Unfair, but true. There is no way having a barely legal gf and posting naked photos of her online wouldn’t get anyone at a real company fired in a hot second. I know Tumblr is run by saucer-eyed monkeys, but any idiot can figure out that this is the definition of “professionalism.”

  9. avatar Cindy McCain's Medicine Cabinet

    ps – wash your hair. with shampoo.

    • avatar Albie Quirky (No Relation!)

      It would be funny to make a tumblr called “ATTENTION: THE REAL RICH TONG” and fill it with nothing but shampoo ads.

  10. avatar tvsociety

    ahahahahhaha most hilariously deserved blowback for incompetence ever! The schadenfreude is delightful.

  11. avatar cATEGORY 5 cUNT

    Raising my hand as yet another GOMI reader who has advised major brands not to touch Tumblr. I do find it funny that quite a few of us have a say in how significant online budgets are spent, and it does my heart good to think about how much business we’ve diverted away from Tumblr and toward other platforms.

    • avatar Albie Quirky (No Relation!)

      I am long out of the PR business, so I am just enjoying the lulz here. I have rarely seen such incompetence by the front-facing senior management of a media company.

      How did THE REAL RICH TONG get to be the fashion director at Tumblr, anyway? Does he have any kind of experience in fashion media or fashion marketing? His personal total lack of fashion and style aside (because we’ve all probably known garmentos who looked like Danny DeVito threw up on Richard Simmons) who the fuck thought it was a good idea to have him in this role, which he obviously sees as a pussy buffet?

      • avatar Quirk's Queefs

        He was something or other at Weardrobe, along with Messie Quirk. Is Weardrobe even a thing anymore? What did it even do?

        • avatar KAS

          I seem to recall that it was bought and swallowed up by some other site?

        • avatar Andi

          Yeah, he started it with this girl:

          Don’t ask how I know this. :-|

        • avatar Albie Quirky (No Relation!)

          All is made clear. His incredible experience in coding a crap precursor photoblogging site has made him a fashion maven.

          I hope he’s saving his monies because once he gets fired by Tumblr he’ll have a hard row to shore.

      • avatar the devil wears c/o kate spade

        He DISCOVERED Messi!

    • avatar Effing Ineffably Un-Effable

      Yeah, I’ve also pushed some entertainment clients away due to the uptime issues. They’ve got their boosters in the entertainment industry but their uptime is completely not OK for anyone who wants to, you know, RUN A BUSINESS.

    • avatar bf!

  12. avatar Emotional Hooker

    “It isn’t just Users First, Brands Second. Hell at this point you are Users First, Brands never.”

    More like Themselves First, Users Second, and Brands Never.

    • avatar DonnieDriveBy

      I I apologize for repeating this further down the chain but this is EXACTLY what I though when I read her comment.

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