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Yahoo! Acquires Tumblr

Written By: Raluca Druta
Published On: May 21 2013

yahoo-tumblr-logo.jpegInternet company Yahoo! has entered into an agreement to acquire the Tumblr social blogging service. According to the official press release:
Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business. David Karp will remain CEO. The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators. 

Or, in other words, Tumblr can go on being Tumblr, if it's not distracted by Yahoo! adds.

Yahoo! appears to be interested in expanding into social and, in so doing, growing its traffic. Tumblr has not only the technology but also the numbers:

  • the platform supports engagement by allowing its users to follow each other's content and create communities of interest

  • the Tumblr mobile app is used by more than half of its users

  • Tumblr has more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day

  • Tumblr sees 900 posts per second and 24 billion minutes spent on site each month


On the other hand, Tumblr will be incorporating the Yahoo! search capabilities to better expose its content and connect its community of users.

But, most importantly, the two companies are after advertising dollars, which surged a wave of discontent on the part of Tumblr users. One user tweets: "Yahoos best form of action at this point in time is to not do anything, or else thy will have a [...] riot on their hands."

Another user shows concerns for security brought upon the future integration between the two platforms: "Great! Now my Tumblr can easily get hacked thanks to Yahoo making their purchase." And others saluted the news with sarcasm: "$1.1bn for Tumblr? Wow, kids toys are expensive these days."

History tells us that once acquired, a product is never the same. Could it be that both products will improve in attaining what they were after? While Yahoo! was not a player in the social market, Tumblr was missing the ability to be highly profitable. How will the user experience be shaped in the midst of the integration and transition towards an ad-supported platform? I look forward to seeing how Yahoo! will ensure that it does not alienate Tumblr users while trying to capitalize on its investment.
 
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