It’s clear that Tumblr needs a commercial model. Rather than imposing a potentially damaging Yahoo overlay, could the New owners please seek input from Tumblr members? A hybrid model perhaps with subscriptions, adverts and even some investment by brands?
My apologies - i’ve just fixed the Disqus link
I posted this on my blog on 15 July 2012; at the time there was no feedback but I was still new on Tumblr with only a few followers.
Now that the Yahoo acquisition is in the headlines, it makes sense for Tumblr, its new owners and its members to think about how to take the platform beyond the VC stage.
Tumblr / Yahoo - why not ask your members for feedback and suggestions?
Tumbleweed originally published 15 July 2012
If you haven’t already seen this, Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp is featured in this New York Times article published this past Friday and again on Saturday in the International Herald Tribune.
The sponsorship point for brands is intriguing. I would have been skeptical about the commercial potential of this point when I first joined Tumblr but that was with a ‘Facebook-type’ assumption about Tumblr content - the idea in my head at the time that there isn’t much or it’s driven by games and comments on likes.
I’ve discovered that Tumblr is much richer in content than Facebook and that it works as a forum to connect like-minded bloggers. I’m both a film and digital photographer and my Tumbleweed blog is almost wholly my own content. I’ve added to my follows over time and now my dashboard produces a rich stream of photos and commentary in a similar sort of genre.
So to the point of the Tumblr commercial model. David Karp is saying that he doesn’t want to use targeted adverts in the way Facebook or Google + are going. The idea quoted in the article is that for-profit companies are using Tumblr as a kind of lab for brand ideas.
The point David is making is that the brands could work with Tumblr ‘creator’ subscribers as a platform for new ideas. David is quoted as talking about three types of Tumblr subscribers: (i) ‘Creators’ - though small in number are producing the bulk of original content in Tumblr, (ii) ‘Curators’ - people who harvest the best work in Tumblr and reblog for larger audiences, and (iii) ‘Consumers’ - the largest group within Tumblr.
This resonates with me and I can see, for instance, American Apparel with their Viva Radio theme which helps drive design decisions on their clothing lines. Since the brands benefit from the collective input of Tumblr bloggers, that should drive a commercial sponsorship discussion.
Ultimately Tumblr might look to a hybrid revenue model with a mix of sponsorship revenue and advertising. I could foresee ‘conventional’ Google content type ads directed at Tumblr ‘consumers’ and ‘curators’ and brand sponsorship against the value being created by Tumblr ‘creators’. Let’s start a discussion (well, it’s probably already going somewhere else) that could give valuable input to Tumblr HQ.