The Tumblr community is unique unto its own, with distinct communities ranging from casual users, political and social activists, die-hard fandom blogs, and collegiate hipsters, as well as hybrids of all of the above. (And, of course, a lot of porn enthusiasts, too.) Though Tumblr is a fluid social media site, prone to quick changes and experiments with user capabilities, many users still like to kick up a fit when changes come a knocking; one of the most recent examples of such an uproar occurred when Tumblr was bought by Yahoo! for $1.1 billion dollars.
With the news of the Yahoo! buyout came an onslaught of user-generated demands, petitions, and images against the action, such as those found below.
Once the buyout went through, anyway, a large section of tumblr began to panic at the thought of their rights to life, liberty, and free, easy access to porn being taken away. And, now, Tumblr users are being bombarded by yet another change; the dreaded, the terrible, the unspeakable horror that is (pause for dramatic effect)… advertisements.
David Karp, CEO of Tumblr, originally told the LA Times that he had no interest in integrating advertisements into the website, saying that the very idea “turned [his] stomach.” Karp was also specific in his refusal to put advertisements on user’s “dashboards,” the personalized Tumblr blog feeds unique to each user. (One guess as to how the new advertisements are being integrated.)
Since the Yahoo! buyout and increased influence of Marissa Mayer, Karp has started to change his tune when it comes to advertising. With new tools at Tumblr’s disposal, such as Marketr, the Tumblr A-List, and Tumblr Brands, Karp is able to keep a personal touch in the advertising sphere while simultaneously reaping that sweet, sweet money crop for both Yahoo! and his investors.
Tumblr’s rather untouched terrain is both promising and daunting for potential companies looking to buy ad space, and so far, those that have taken the plunge have done so rather gracefully. Some companies have integrated into Tumblr so stealthily that they don’t seem like advertisements at all; high-fashion and luxury brands such as Gucci and Lexus blog pictures that aren’t blatantly related to their products, resulting in what Sam Biddle at Valleywag so accurately refers to as ” the same sort of vicarious viewing that fuels Pinterest” and “artistic Oooh, I like that! shareability.” After all, having people ogle at your goods is better than no advertisements at all.
Denny’s was also successful in learning the Tumblr game; their approach included embracing the wacky unpredictability that so suits many corners of the Tumblrverse, and the results were fantastic. Their hand in creating a meme was the point of lift-off, and they’ve become an endeared member of the community ever since. Interaction and activity associated with the blog is generally positive and is not seen as intrusive into the Tumblr experience.
Only time will tell just how effective these advertisements will prove to be. If the current situation is any indicator, however, the future is looking bright for everyone involved; Tumblr and its affiliates will make bank, companies will have a new, creative platform to market their goods, and users won’t feel bombarded by an onslaught of rampant consumerism. Seems like a win for all if there ever was one.