I just want Tumblr to know that I have never, not once, wanted to reblog a text post as a link.
Post(s) tagged with "Tumblr"
With all of the Yahoo-Tumblr reporting still going on right now it surprises me how many writers still mistake Tumblr for a “blogging platform.”
Anyone who has spent significant time on Tumblr knows that this whole “blog” thing is a front.
70% of a given blog’s post traffic actually happens in the Dashboard. For some blogs, that percentage is even higher.
This makes things like ranking a Tumblr blog’s popularity through site traffic fairly dubious.
It also means that the value of Tumblr isn’t just in the original posts but the amplification of ideas through reblogs and the like.
This becomes apparent when you dive into Union Metrics for Tumblr and break down any given post’s reblog tree:
There’s probably an iceberg.gif of some sort that would work really well here.
(btw, the numbers in that image are from an “official” blog that I run, not my personal blog.)
Pictured below the surface: all of the reblogs.
Most users would be pissed off if Tumblr put ads a/ on their blogs (extremely pissed off), or b/ in their dashboard stream of Tumblr posts from followed blogs (really pissed off). We consider that our territory, because it is by us, for us.
On the other hand, the Tumblr tags area has a definitely different feel to it, and therefore I think people would be more accepting of Tumblr going more mercantile there. First of all, if I am looking at the stream of all posts tagged ‘Yahoo’ or ‘Tech’ I expect to see posts from strangers, people that I am not following. Therefore, the tag stream does not feel like a personal space, one defined by me. Following a tag is not like following a person, it’s like visiting a museum.
Second of all, a handful of the most followed tags are curated by Tumblr. In these cases, Tumblr has expended time and energy to contact and work with leading Tumblrs knowledgeable about ‘Architecture’ or ‘Movies’ or ‘Food’, and then handing over curatorial tools to that group to pull in the most interesting and insightful posts relative to the tag.
Placing even a fairly sizable chunk of those tag pages to ad space — especially if the editors were somehow involved in deciding that the ads were relevant to the topic — wouldn’t run against the grain, I think. Moreover, the ads themselves could be made to feel like Tumblr posts, too, like Tumblr Radar — selected posts of general interest — currently does.
Perhaps it’s so obvious that it can go unsaid, but clearly some camera company would be willing to pay a substantial sum of money to have tens of thousands of people daily see its offerings when they visit the Tumblr ‘Photography’ tag page. Likewise for the pages associated with ‘Cars’, ‘Weddings’, ‘Wine’, ‘Tattoos’, and ‘Russian Brides’. Ok, forget the ‘Russian Brides’, but the rest stays.
So the answer for Yahoo is tag stream advertising.
The best angle might be for companies to use the space as a mini curation. For example, IBM might rent the space on ‘Social Business’, and curate great content on that topic from around the world. This would actually be providing a great service, since Tumblr doesn’t have curation on that topic yet. It might actually help pull the community into Tumblr, just for the sake of accessing that content.
At any rate, given the near infinity of topics that are of interest to groups of people, and the ready-made, bottom-up nature of tags, Yahoo could be selling Tumblr participation in this way on tens of thousands of tag pages, and Tumblrs would feel like they are better off, not dissed.
On a completely unrelated topic, Tumblr Pro could have legs, too. For example, I would be willing to pay $5/month, let’s say, to be able to pull any RSS feed into my Tumblr stream, so that posts from friends’ non-Tumblr blogs would just show up. Or the Bits Blog from the NY Times, or dozens of others. Tumblr could make money collecting fees for the Financial Times, or other paywalled destinations. There are obviously other premier services that people would be willing to pay for, over and above this pull-to-read service.
Paul Higgins wonders if we should oppose the Tumblr acquisition by Yahoo:
Paul Higgins, The Community, Tumblr and Yahoo - Do we Protest?
There are a couple of services that are really important to my life and my business. One of them is Tumblr and the other is Evernote. In promoting Evernote for example I often tell people that if Microsoft buys it I will retire. That is because it has become so important to my work flow and because of my view that large corporations hardly ever get these sort of services right.
Tumblr is equally important to me in a different way and I am part of the community and honoured to be one of the Tech editors, and have almost 200,000 followers.
There are rumours going around that Yahoo is in negotiations to buy Tumblr which worries me a hell of a lot. Let me be clear that I have no problems with the founders and investors making money off the contributions of the community but I worry what would happen to Tumblr in the hands of a large entity.
In a world where business models like these require both the founders and investors to contribute and create but the community to contribute and create as well, valuations and business strategies have a different flavour. No community and there is no business valuation. If you have similar concerns then please reblog or like this post. I intend such support to be a signal to both Tumblr and Yahoo (if the rumours are true) that the community is concerned and should be involved in the decision making process. Maybe that is thinking with delusions of grandeur or maybe it isn’t - over to you the community to decide.
I like Paul, and I can understand his concerns, but I don’t think we should protest this acquisition, but instead welcome it.
Tumblr is confronted with the growing attention of its most direct competitors — Facebook and Twitter — both of which have large and well-established management teams. Also, it’s not so obvious competitors — Google and Microsoft — are waiting in the wings to buy or copy Tumblr. In a way reminiscent of Zuckerberg, David Karp is a young man under intense pressure to grow the company that he started in high school into a company that will pay back today’s investors 10X or more on an $800M valuation. Oh, and keep a growing, fickle, and international community of users coming back for more. His genius has certainly been focused toward building the Tumblr architecture and staying close to his vision. But he doesn’t necessarily have the skill set, the team, or the inclination to do all the things needed for the next 10X growth. He may turn out to be Steve Jobs, but that remains to be seen.
My worry is that he could wind up bringing in someone promising as COO, to help push forward, Karp may wind up being Mitch Kapor at Lotus, who hired Jim Manzi, and wound up losing the battle for the office suite to a late-to-the-game Microsoft. Or creating something like the Sculley mess at Apple.
Despite my concerns about Marissa Mayer’s ‘no remote work’ edict — which can be read most generously as an effort to reanimate a dispirited organizational culture, and less generously as an effort to indoctrinate the Yahoos with a top-down, Googlish entrepreneurial fervor — she has been making good acquisitions in the past months, and I believe that she has the chops to help Tumblr crack the code of advertising.
Mayer’s tenure at Google would translate into the skills needed to support Tumblr in growth on the operational side — keeping the service up and humming — and working to make revenue flow. Also, by selling at the price that Yahoo is willing to pay, today, to suit Yahoo’s needs, Karp, his investors, and his team will be able to decrease or obviate the possibility of bad technical or strategic decisions later, forced by the need to grow revenue or execute a dubious liquidity path. That turn of events is the one I worry about most, not becoming another Flickr in Yahoo’s bullpen.
So, for whatever negligible influence I might have on events, I cast my hypomythical ballot in favor of this deal, because chance are it could turn out great, and a purchase by Microsoft, or the possibility of a Lotus turn of events two years from now, for example, worries me much more.
I am finding that Disqus style comments are increasingly out of step on Tumblr. The overwhelming majority of interaction here is native Tumblr reposting, likes, and replies.
If you are a Tumblr non-user, I suggest you get an account and try it. Here’s a post where I describe how rich the ‘inside view’ is at Tumblr.
If you’d like to chat with me about something posted here you can try @stoweboyd on Twitter, click on the ‘contact me’ or ‘ask me anything’ in the right hand margin.
Web anthropologist, futurist, author. My focus is the future, and the tectonic forces pushing business, media, and society into an unclear and accelerating future. more.
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GigaOM Research analyst and curator.
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