If there’s one thing that’s been driving me slightly up the wall this past week, it’s been hearing about the horrors of Yahoo buying Tumblr.
It’s not that I don’t see why people are freaking out: David Karp has been very reluctant to sell Tumblr in the past, and it’s not like Yahoo has the best track record with previous acquisitions. The fact that internet trolls are making fake tweets just to scare the more gullible Tumblr users also doesn’t help.
Which is why I’m here to say don’t panic. At least, not yet. The fact of the matter is, it’s far too early to see what major changes Yahoo may make, and the ones that they are making don’t seem too terrible.
1. Karp is Still Our King
I find Tumblr users are really invested in David Karp as a person... more so than the founder of any other blogging or social media site, anyways. When the deal was announced, everyone was either freaking out about Karp being replaced, or branding him as a traitor in as many ways as possible. My personal favourite is the one that makes Karp into the Little Mermaid:
As hilarious as I find the above image, the fact is that Karp will stay CEO of Tumblr for at least the next four years, and Tumblr is going to be treated as a separate entity from Yahoo. This means same staff, same office, and (according to Karp, anyways) same overall goals as before. In her announcement, Marissa Meyer said that she promised “not to screw it up,” and keeping the same team on board is definitely a step in the right direction.
2. “Let Tumblr be Tumblr”
One of the best things about Tumblr is that you can pretty much post whatever you want, and Meyer intends to keep it that way. That means that everything from fandom blogs to NSFW blogs are still perfectly safe under Yahoo’s leadership. Using “personalization technology,” Yahoo will actually help match users with not only the advertisements, but also the content they are most interested in seeing. This means that, much like Twitter, you won’t be exposed to anything you aren’t intentionally seeking out yourself. So fake tweets like this one?
Yeah, you should ignore them.
3. It All Ads Up
Tumblr isn’t exactly known for being heavy on the ads. There’s really only one (easily ignored) area on the dashboard for “sponsored posts,” and they refuse to put ads on people’s individual blogs. That being said, Yahoo will increase the ad presence, though Yahoo Meyer has described this increase as “light.”
I’m not entirely convinced this wouldn’t have happened anyways: for a website that gets over 18 billion pageviews per month, Tumblr made less than 13 million in ad revenue last year. They’d also started working more sponsored posts onto their app, much like Twitter has promoted tweets. Sooner or later, ads were going to pop up on Tumblr; it was really just a matter of time.
4. Can we reply to posts yet?
Tumblr users tend to complain about the same few things: replying to posts without additional add-ons like Missing E is a hassle, you can’t reblog asks, and saying that Tumblr’s video player is poor is a huge understatement. Karp has said that with Yahoo behind them, they can finally work on improving the things users have had issues with, and with greater speed, while Meyer has said that “Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster."
Considering how well-received their last update was with many users (hint: it wasn’t), this is hopefully a sign of improvements to come, and not more pointless “ignore” buttons or changes to the tag system.
5.That youthful glow: Yahoo! has bought the attention of millions of teenagers
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t really paid any attention to Yahoo since I was in middle school. After all, why would I? Google has pretty much taken over, and it’s not like Yahoo has put much effort into keeping up with a younger crowd... until now, anyways.
Obviously, Yahoo wouldn’t set out to help improve Tumblr if they weren’t getting something back in return. Meyer has said that Tumblr will help grow Yahoo’s audience by 50%, and increase monthly visitors. As I’ve mentioned previously, most of Tumblr’s audience is young, usually teens to early twenties, and you can tell that Yahoo is trying very hard to appeal to this age group. After all, not only are they part of a key advertising demographic, but the average Tumblr user accesses the site in ways that the average Yahoo user probably doesn’t. For instance, more than half of Tumblr’s mobile users use the app 7 times per day (really? Just 7? You people lack commitment!). That’s a lot of new advertising opportunities that they didn’t have before, and Yahoo is working very hard to appeal to their new audience. They even announced their acquisition via GIF:
If that’s not trying hard to make friends with Tumblr users, I don’t know what is.
So stop posting your rants and reblogging rumours, fellow Tumblr-users! At least for now, I think our beloved blogging platform is safe. What do you think, readers? Will Yahoo mean only good things for Tumblr, or is it all downhill from here?