"We're pretty opposed to advertising," David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, said three years ago. "It really turns our stomachs." So today he's turning over the six-year-old blogging startup to a company that can stomach it.
Yahoo, which currently generates 76% of its revenue from advertising, made clear that it intends to make money from its $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr in the best way it knows how, with plenty of ads. Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo who personally negotiated the deal, described two types of advertising that will make its way to the site.
The first type is the least interesting: display ads on Tumblr blogs that opt to put them there. Yahoo would split the revenue with the blogger in a way similar to Yahoo Bing Network Contextual Ads and Google AdSense. Karp has made clear what he thinks of that: "We could very easily throw Google AdSense on and be profitable tomorrow, " he said last year. "That's so far down the list, I mean, we're selling our desks to avoid that. It's a complete last resort."
Yahoo's acquisition of Tumblr for $1.1 billion, announced today, will bring together Yahoo's financial resources and backend technology with the reach of one of the Web's fastest growing and hippest blogging platforms.
But with a concrete monetization strategy for Tumblr still in the works—and a need to not alienate Tumblr' youthful, ad-adverse audience—digital marketers will likely have a wait ahead of them before they see more advertising opportunities on the platform.
"As with any platform so loved by its user base, Yahoo and Tumblr must tread cautiously," says Ming Linsley, senior director, social media at media agency MEC.
Yahoo on Thursday said it is incorporating Twitter into its Yahoo home page "news stream." The move might please a fraction of Yahoo's current users, but likely would do little to remedy Yahoo's woes.
Yahoo already has incorporated Facebook FB -0.38% into the revamped Yahoo home page news stream, which CEO Marissa Mayer launched a few months ago. With that move, news articles and other content displayed on Yahoo's site are personalized for individual visitors based on what their Facebook friends recommend or post on Facebook.com. Mayer told Digits at the launch that it would be natural for her to look at doing the same with Twitter.
Yahoo has developed other integration efforts with Twitter over the past three years. For example, Yahoo visitors can see Twitter content on Yahoo sites, as well as quickly share Yahoo content with their Twitter contacts, in an attempt to create a virtuous circle.
Today I received notice that I was accepted into the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Perhaps I was accepted because today is my birthday, but it immediately made me reflect on my relationship with LinkedIn, how LinkedIn has changed my life and the lessons learned from those experiences.
In 2003 I was an MBA graduate looking for a job at a startup and was introduced to Reid Hoffman through a mutual friend. Although LinkedIn wasn't hiring people with my background (no startup or technology experience) I did have the opportunity to meet Reid, learn about the business and as a result became fascinated with the social media space. That chance meeting ended up being fundamental to my eventually finding a business development job at a competitor of LinkedIn called Spoke.
Lesson: Career success takes a network and you never know what meetings or weak ties will lead you to the outcome you want.
The rise of corporate-owned social media raises many flags about our online security and the future of the digital commons. The solution, says theorist Michael Albert, is a different kind of network altogether.
In many ways, social media seem almost designed for activism. Efficient, user-friendly, and above all, inexpensive, sites like Facebook and Twitter are invaluable communication tools for any activist. Planning a rally outside a college president's office? Create a Facebook group. Find a nifty guide to protesters' rights online? Share it on Twitter. Worried about police brutality at an illegal march? Live-stream from your phone so more people can see what you see.
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