Yesterday, Frank posted the news that Yahoo bought Tumblr. The big takeaway was this quote from Yahoo’s announcement:
We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.
Yahoo (which used to be hip. . . but this is what happens with age) attempted to replicate the kind of wry humor you find on Tumblr with an animated gif that changes from “Keep Calm and Carry On” to the words Yahoo!, Tumblr, then the final graphic you see here on the right.
Wait. Am I reading that correctly – Yahoo + Tumblr = Now Panic and Freak Out?
Let me check on that. . . ‘
Yep, it’s signed Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Maybe tomorrow she’ll come back and say the account was hacked and she didn’t post that message.
So here we are a day later and it’s all about the ads. Come on, you didn’t think Yahoo was going to take over Tumblr and not use it as an ad platform?
As popular as the site is, it’s been hemorrhaging cash for awhile and sources now say that it was months away from closing the doors if this buy hadn’t happened. Karp told Bloomberg that even so, he wasn’t shopping for a buyer. The Yahoo deal was simply providence. In that case, this buy-out is good news for all the Tumblr fans who might have had to find a new social network had things gone a different route.
Which brings us back to the ads that Karp has publicly spit on in the past. The last time Tumblr talked advertising, it was all about content marketing and visual design. None of this Old Navy ads in the sidebar biz. They were going to keep it native and creative.
Good luck with that.
Now there’s talk of building an ad exchange network for Tumblr using cookies to deliver relevant ads. In order to preserve the artsy nature of the site, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer says their considering asking bloggers for their permission before running ads on their posts. If they agree to split the revenue the way YouTube does, they might have a shot at it. But Tumblr’s audience is known for its anti-establishment stance so it’s hard to imagine that the big players will agree to random advertising.
Of course, Yahoo could always play the mommy card – do what I say or find somewhere else to play.
It’s hard to say how far the users can be pushed before they pack up their toys and leave. Tumblr is unique. It has elements of LiveJournal, Pinterest, DeviantArt and Facebook all rolled into one. There might be a similar start-up elsewhere on the web but I haven’t seen it.
If you’re an enterprising, young developer, now would be a good time to start creating another social network because with Yahoo behind it, Tumblr could be MySpace very soon.