As of today, LOOKBOOK.nu is now an open community. An invite code is no longer necessary to register for a membership account on LOOKBOOK.nu.
This is an important change for us, and we know that this may catch many of you by surprise. Opening the site wasn't an easy decision to make, but after much consideration and discussion with members and moderators, we believe that an open LB is in the best interest of our community and everyone in it.
We would like to take a moment to address some of the concerns we've encountered while talking with our members, and also explain our reasons for transitioning to an open site for all.
"I liked this community because it was exclusive!"
If you have this feeling--we understand. When we launched, the invite-only system ensured that (most) people who joined understood our rules and purpose. However, as we've observed the site's growth over the past 2 years, we've found that as our community grew more popular, our invite-only system started to lose meaning as more and more new members gave away invites to anyone who asked, rather than being selective.
Meanwhile, many interesting and talented people who wanted to become members simply couldn't, so naturally their only way in was to apply. But the list was getting so long that it started taking forever and a day just for deserving people to get invited.
"Won't quality go down if anyone can join and post looks?"
We completely share this concern, and we're constantly doing everything we can to make sure that the quality of looks shown on the site is always high. LB will never be overtaken by low quality rules for two reasons:
1. Our Karma Filter ensures that looks from proven and more experienced members are protected from being too quickly buried by looks from unproven members who tend to break the rules and/or post lower quality photos. Only members who are active in the community, follow all the rules, and post inspiring looks with quality photos will gain reputation and become more visible. Those who break the rules will have their reputations lowered (and thus their visibility lowered as well).
2. Our community is filled with awesome volunteers who regularly flag looks that do not follow the rules. We also have moderators who are monitoring the gallery throughout the day. Your help goes a long way in making sure that our quality stays high.
So why are we opening the site up? Here are some of the reasons:
Fashion for everyone
Opening the site is consistent with our firm belief that everyone, fashion industry or not, deserves the opportunity to inspire and be inspired by others.
More exposure for talented members
LOOKBOOK.nu is home to the most diverse set of talented young people in the world. Letting more people to join the site means our members will be able to amass ever larger "fan" audiences and benefit from more traffic to their blogs. Our community has long been a launch pad for some of the hottest fashion bloggers, we want to continue to help give up-and-coming talent more exposure.
Before, we had 2 types of users: regular members who had been invited to join, and non-members who logged in with Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr. This was unnecessarily complicated--the former could post looks, while the latter could only hype and comment. We found that many of the non-members were actually just as active and dedicated to the community, but had no way to follow ("fan") the people they liked or create profiles to keep track of their hypes. Allowing anyone to create a profile and follow who they like simplifies the nature of our site, and we are about keeping things simple.
We know that the idea of invite-only membership may be missed by many of you. But we believe that despite opening up, LOOKBOOK.nu will continue to be the most vibrant street style community as well as the world's greatest collection of DIY fashion photography.
As always, your feedback is welcome. While we might not have time to respond to every email, we do reach each and every message and take your concerns to heart. Thank you for reading all that!