PopSugar is in seriously hot water. According to an email that affiliate marketing giant rewardStyle/LIKEtoKNOW.it sent to its large pool of influencers on Tuesday, website PopSugar recently took “millions of pieces of original content from LIKEtoKNOW.it influencers" and did so "without rewardStyle/LIKEtoKNOW.it’s knowledge or consent.”
The email, which is signed by rewardStyle founder Amber Venz Box, further states, “Yesterday evening, it came to our attention that Popsugar.com had not only repurposed influencer content without their consent, but further removed all rewardStyle commissionable links and exchanged them for ShopStyle affiliate links across thousands of falsified vanity profile pages on Popsugar.com.”
As set forth in Venz Box's email and confirmed to TFL by several influencers who use rewardStyle/LIKEtoKNOW.it, San Francisco-based PopSugar – which maintains its own affiliate shopping platform called ShopStyle – created shoppable pages on its website using the imagery of hundreds of bloggers that are part of LIKEtoKNOW.it’s invitation-only platform. In addition to swiping thousands of influencers’ Instagram imagery, as well as their Instagram profile photos and bio line information, PopSugar switched the products’ affiliate links from ones that go through rewardStyle/LIKEtoKNOW.it to ShopStyle links in order to monetize the content for its own benefit.
PopSugar has since removed all of the allegedly problematic content from its site but has not yet addressed what could very likely give rise to copyright and trademark allegations from the individual influencers whose imagery was taken, as well as potential right of publicity violations for using the influencers’ names and likenesses to monetize the garments and accessories for its own benefit.
Reps for rewardStyle/LIKEtoKNOW.it were not immediately available for comment, but Venz Box states in her email that rewardStyle/LIKEtoKNOW.it's attorneys are "reviewing the matter and we will circulate updated communications once we're able."
UPDATED: Brian Sugar, the founder of PopSugar, posted the following statement to his Twitter account on Tuesday evening: