Yahoo Buys Tumblr, a Blogging Site For Younger Generations
Yahoo is buying growth with its $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr, a popular blogging site for younger generations. But what exactly does that mean for advertisers?
NPR’s business correspondent Kirk Siegler reports. Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to post photos, videos and text posts to their blogs.
Tumblr is a blogging site
Tumblr was founded in New York in 2007 by David Karp as a place for people to post whatever they want. The site says it has 380 million blogs that contain “stories, photos, GIFs, TV shows, links, dumb jokes, smart jokes, Spotify tracks, mp3s, videos, fashion, art, deep stuff.”
When Yahoo bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013, it promised to leave the blogging platform alone. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer even posted on Tumblr to reassure users that the company would not be changing anything about their content or experience.
However, some users were still worried that Yahoo would ruin the site by overloading it with ads. They also fear that Yahoo would change the way Tumblr blogs are displayed, for example, by introducing ads within posts. This would be annoying and could interrupt reblogging, which is one of the main features of the site. For these reasons, many users moved their blogs to WordPress, which is not owned by Yahoo.
Tumblr is a social networking site
Tumblr allows users to post photos, quotes, links, music and videos to a blog called a tumblelog. They can also follow other blogs and reblog posts that interest them. Users can also search for content by tags or keywords and find information on trending topics.
Tumblelogs can be private or public. Bloggers can create an ‘Ask’ page where other users or people who don’t have a Tumblr account can submit questions that will be answered anonymously by the blogger. This feature is a great way to get feedback from your audience, but it can be dangerous for children because it encourages them to say inappropriate things or ask inappropriate questions.
Tumblr’s user base is largely young, and the company hopes that it will help Yahoo attract younger users. However, Tumblr’s ad sales are relatively low, and it is unclear whether the site can add ads without overwhelming its users. In addition, Tumblr’s culture of open-ended creative expression may clash with Yahoo’s corporate environment.
Tumblr is a photo sharing site
Six years after its founding, Tumblr has grown to fifty billion posts across a hundred and eight million tumblelogs, attracting a young audience that is highly active online. Its popularity has led to Tumblr becoming a petri dish of Internet quirkiness, cultivating subcultures like bronies (fans of the cartoon My Little Pony) and otherkin (people who identify as non-human).
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer says she will allow Tumblr to remain independent, though she plans to boost advertising in users’ dashboards. She says the acquisition will give her company a “captivating hook” for drawing more traffic and advertisers to the web, particularly on mobile devices.
It is Yahoo’s biggest acquisition since its purchase of the online search engine Overture a decade ago. But critics say the company has struggled to keep up with technology trends and user habits, especially among younger generations. The rich price paid for Tumblr is raising eyebrows in New York’s tech community.
Tumblr is a video sharing site
Tumblr is the Velvet Underground of social networks, a site that seems to be everywhere but whose users don’t have much in common with each other. Founded in 2007 by a then-21-year-old dropout, Tumblr is a mix of blogging platform, social network and image board that lets people post anything from the mundane to the sublime.
Its 108 million blogs and 50 billion posts have made it a fashionable online hangout. Users can customize their dashboards to follow posts in a stream, or find content from a wide variety of sources using search.
But the company has struggled to monetize the service. It slashed sales staff and suffered a $230 million goodwill impairment charge in 2015. In 2019, Tumblr was sold to software developer Automattic for $3 million, which is less than its initial VC funding valuation. The deal marks the latest attempt by faded Internet pioneer Yahoo to keep pace with sweeping trends in user behavior.