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What Is Yahoo Going to Do With Polyvore?

The tech giant acquired the Mountain View-based community shopping site Polyvore on Friday.
Polyvore CEO Jess Lee. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Polyvore CEO Jess Lee. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

After eight years in business, the Mountain View-based startup Polyvore has a new home: Yahoo, which announced that it had acquired the shopping site late Friday.

For those who didn't jump on the site when it launched in 2007, Polyvore allows its users to make collages filled with products, text and photography like those you might find in the pages of traditional fashion magazines — giving them an easy way to play editor with a community with which to share their creations. If one is particularly good, it might get featured on Polyvore's homepage.

When it was founded, Polyvore was something of a democratizing force in an otherwise exclusive industry, and a potentially lucrative one at that. Today, the mood boards users put together are fully shoppable, and searching for a particular sort of product on Polyvore's site surfaces dozens of options from various e-commerce sites, ready for purchase. (Polyvore doesn't host the checkout process, but rather links out to each retailer.)

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But after gaining buzz early on, the startup's hype petered out; according to TechCrunch, the company may only have cost Yahoo in the range of $20 to $60 million, fitting the narrative of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's propensity for acquiring floundering companies. (Mayer, it should be noted, hired Polyvore CEO Jess Lee at Google, where Lee worked after college.)

A set on Polyvore. Photo: Polyvore

A set on Polyvore. Photo: Polyvore

So where does Polyvore, which had raised a little over $22 million from investors before the acquisition, fit into Yahoo's grand strategy? Polyvore will continue to operate as an independent site, but will also collaborate on native shopping advertisements and with the tech giant's online publications — most obviously Yahoo Style, which launched last September with former Elle Creative Director Joe Zee at the helm. Exactly how that will play out remains to be seen.