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Tumblr Fans Draw a Line in the Sand. Yahoo! This is War!



A funny thing happened on my way around Tumblr today. For the first time ever, I was able to reblog a post within seconds of deciding to do it. It was a moment of pure joy. It was as if I’d learned the secret language of the young, creatives who hang out on Tumblr. I was no longer an outsider.

Then I found this:

tumblr war

Hmm. . .so the reason I was able to find the reblog button was because it’s now backwards from the way it was before. I’m not sure what to make of that. I investigated further and was thoroughly amused by the long list of angry Tumblr posts many of which were too filthy to reproduce here.

The upside-down orientation arrived just before Tumblr’s advertising announcement post.

Since we launched our first sponsored post on Tumblr Radar one year ago, we’ve been proud to see our partners bring their most creative work to Tumblr. Their posts have already earned more than 10 million likes and reblogs.

Today, we’ll start to bring sponsored posts to your Dashboard on the web. Just like in our mobile apps, these posts will simply blend in with the posts from the blogs you follow.

Now back to your regularly scheduled Dashboard!

That’s all they had to say. Accompanying the post is an annoying, flickering, pixelated image of a Denny’s sign standing tall as the clouds roll by. I’d post the image here but honestly, it makes me nauseous. This is Tumblr’s idea of creative, content-based advertising. I guess, once again, I’m just not hip enough to get it.

Earlier this week, there were rumors of a mass exodus from Tumblr. Much of the uproar was due to a post by WordPress’ co-founder Matt Mullenweg who noted a “healthy” spike in the number of blog posts getting imported into WordPress.

(Imports have actually spiked on the rumors even though it’s Sunday: normally we import 400-600 posts an hour from Tumblr, last hour it was over 72,000.)

As TechCrunch points out, even if this was a reaction to the Yahoo! takeover, it doesn’t make a dent in the 50 billion posts currently on the site.

I’m sure some Tumblr folks packed up their blogs and headed for higher ground. Many of the fan sites were concerned about potential crackdowns over questionable content. Most simply don’t like seeing their work corporatized.

Is this the beginning of the end for Tumblr? Probably not. The diehard fans will stay to rabble rouse, the concerned few will move on and otherwise it will be business as usual. That is unless Yahoo! decides to do something really drastic like ban foul language on Tumblr.

One year from now will Tumblr be flourishing or a ghost town? Place your bets.