My friend Liisa runs a popular fashion blog Hel-Looks.com, that features personal styles from the streets of Helsinki. I love the site, it's fun and inspirational, and more than once I remember hoping that there was a link or email address that help track a particular shop or designer. But would I like to see hot fashion deals popping up on each item when I view the image? Believe it or not, my anwser is 'no thanks'. I'd rather see something fun. Something social and special.
Adding commercial links to images is a hot topic, and the first category we think about is fashion. Still, it has proved hard for many to get fashion bloggers to a) use readily tagged images or b) populate images with commercial links by hand. The reason is that fashion bloggers understand something that others don't.
First, fashion blogging is a a form of creative, social everyday art. It is about participating in a visual discussion, and as an artist, you don't do things that are not cool. You don't do fake, fast, or cheap. This is why fashion bloggers do not use readily tagged images -- unless they are really cool.
Second, an image is not a neutral platform. In fashion, especially, an image represents the context for the content, the fundamental element of the browsing experience. Links can enhance the experience of the visual, but it is not the existence of the link that makes people click. It is the context. This is why random images with autopopulated random links feel spammy and cheap.
Fashion blogging relies on handpicked curation and self expression. If the content is creative and honest, transparent commercial linking feels like a service.