The Washington Post

Tyra Banks Launches Fashion Website with Demand Media

Model-turned-media mogul Tyra Banks and Demand Media launched Tuesday, a personalized fashion, beauty, and makeover website aimed at her diverse fan base of style-conscious women. Banks maintains the site is "dedicated to personalizing fashion and beauty for women of every age, race and size.”

But the website’s launch risks being overshadowed by its partnership with Demand Media, the online media group that owns "content farms" like—sites that rank high in search engine results by producing large amounts of useless content.

Tyra Banks visits the New York Stock Exchange on March 15, 2011 (Slaven Vlasic/GETTY IMAGES)

But the website's loose privacy settings aren’t so safe, allowing Demand Media to share users’ personal information with its corporate affiliates and websites.

Demand and derive personal information from users’ Facebook accounts. To login to the site, users must grant Demand Media access to their Facebook pages. Users can offer additional information for a more “personalized experience.”

In an interview with Arts Post, Banks said her site gives women personalized style attention; “A woman can come to typeF, sign in, give us her body specifications, hair color, hair texture, skin color, the shape of eyes… We greet her by name, so it’s a warm relationship. We give her content based on the things she has said are her areas of concern.”

However, Demand Media’s partners and future websites can use that same information.

Banks did not comment on her site’s loose privacy settings or content sharing with Demand’s affiliate sites.

“I think you should speak with Demand about that. I will actually ask them about that,” she told Arts Post.

Banks did comment on her partnership with Demand Media:

“I don’t necessarily see it as controversial. The one thing that’s great about Demand is that they are employing a lot of people and giving them an opportunity to express themselves…They’ve explained it to me and they’ve walked me through it, and I feel that there not forcing anyone to do anything.”

Demand Media’s partnership with Banks is a welcomed makeover for the company.

Recently, Google launched an algorithm to prohibit content farms like Demand Media’s from ranking high in their search results.

Katherine Boyle reports on arts, museums and culture for the Style section.


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