Has Yahoo’s Tumblr Acquisition Damaged The Brand?

In Customer Engagement, Featured on App, Loyalty & CRM, Marketing and Sales, Social media by Vaughn Highfield

Has Yahoo’s Tumblr Acquisition Damaged The Brand? (credit: Flickr)

Yesterday it was announced that aging search engine giant Yahoo had bought the hipster-happy blogging service Tumblr for a cool $1.1 billion in a bid to snap up the younger demographic and push their advertising in new, bold ways.

Was this the right move for Yahoo? Undeniably.

Was this the right move for Tumblr? Initial impressions suggest not.

The social media uproar around Yahoo's purchase was undeniably strong. A GIF of the famous scene from The Little Mermaid where Ariel signs her life away to Ursula – except replaced with Tumblr CEO David Karp and Yahoo respectively – has been doing the rounds on the blogging network rather furiously.

Twitter went hectic with users sharing their opinions, most of them wondering how Yahoo plans to tackle the thorny issue of the numerous porn blogs that clock up Tumblr's 101 million active blogs.

Many Tumblrites felt betrayed and abused by David Karp's decision too, potentially leading them to abandon the service.

WordPress CEO Matt Mullenweg claims that on Sunday night their service saw an unusually high number of imported posts from Tumblr – presumably presupposing Yahoo’s acquisition.

Mullenweg states on his blog that in one hour on Sunday WordPress recieved 72,000 imports – a huge peak compared to the usual 400 to 600 posts the service receives.

As you can imagine, Karp wanted to limit the damage to the blogging service by ensuring fans that the ethos behind Tumblr won't be changing just because it's under Yahoo.

Instead it'll be changing in ways that enhance the experience and really project the blogging service into the future.

“The conversation started on the ad side, but then the flip switched for Marissa and she said, ‘We are going to do something big here,'” Karp said to Mashable. “We wanted to empower advertisers to make great ads and it evolved. I didn’t say ‘no,’ but I had so much to think about.

“She walked me through her vision and I’ve always been open-minded about how we work — whether it’s being public, private or a subsidiary.

"She showed me a vision of Tumblr for the future, which is so precious to me, and I knew it could be big.”

The plans for adverts aren't going to be overly invasive though, with the implementation of "Native Advertising" to allow businesses to push adverts onto the service in what looks like a standard Tumblr post that users can interact with normally. Think of Facebook's ‘Suggested Posts' that crop up now and again in your news feed – especially on mobile.

Is this a step in the right direction?

Possibly. But it's hard to see many fans of Tumblr warming to it at first. Truth be told, many people jumped to social media and internet channels to get away from the pervasive nature of advertising. For those this is just another reason to move away from a service they previously loved.

Was it the wrong move for Tumblr?

Not at all. Now they have a way to monetise the system perfectly while also letting users carry on interacting with their community and sharing their findings as they like. They've also opened the door perfectly for new users and Yahoo have found a way to capture the youth aspect they want. It'll also be interesting to see if Yahoo integrate the new-look Flickr into Tumblr's portfolio.


Do you think the uproar around Tumblr's acquisition is just?

Do you think that Tumblr's brand image has been damaged in the wake of this news?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.


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