What is Tumblr

By | June 7, 2020

1- What is “Tumblr”?

Tumblr followers should roll their eyes when reading this first question. But you have to start at the beginning: “Tumblr” is a microblogging platform and a social network that allows internet users to create a blog with very simple use in just a few clicks.

“Tumblr” is therefore both the name of the company and the name of a type of blog whose URL ends in “.tumblr.com”. According to Tumblr, 109 million blogs are currently registered, and 51 billion posts have been posted since the platform was created in 2007.


2- What is special about Tumblr?

Tumblr has simplicity as its keyword: a button corresponds to a functionality (text/quote/photo/video, etc.). But it is above all the principle of “downtown” that has made the platform famous. Long before Twitter and its “retweet”, Tumblr set up a data-sharing system, dubbed the “Caucasus”, which aims to promote user content.

Another specificity of Tumblr: the Gif. While it had fallen into oblivion and old-fashionedness, GIF experienced a second youth thanks to the microblogging platform widely used by Internet users to share animated images.


3- What subjects are covered on Tumblr?

Like any social network labeled “hipster”, Tumblr cultivates its “arty” side. No sooner have we registered than the platform offers us to choose centers of interest.

Among those offered are photography, writers, culture, art, music, comics. But Tumblr also constitutes an erotic-pornographic breeding ground, as we mentioned here. According to a study by SimilarGroup, a web audience measurement company, 22,775 blogs out of the 200,000 most popular, or 11.4%, contain pornographic content.

Faced with the prudish Facebook who censors the smallest bit of breast, Tumblr is a liberated or even libertine social network. In its conditions of use, Tumblr only asks its users not to post porn videos and to indicate by the mention “NSFW” (“Not Safe For Work”) any ole-ole content.


4- Who are the users of Tumblr?

Unsurprisingly: young people, aged between 18 and 24, mostly women, according to data published by Quantcast , a web audience measurement company. Yahoo! would have largely bought Tumblr to rejuvenate its image and give it a little boost.


5- Who is hiding behind Tumblr?

A team of 175 people led by David Karp, a 26-year-old geek with a panoply of English rock guitarists (locks, hoodies, and plaid shirts).

Karp is nevertheless American, grew up on the Upper East Side, in New York, where he attended the High School of Science.

At 15, supported by his mother, the boy leaves school. A year earlier, he landed his first internship at Frederator Studios, a company that produces cartoons online and on TV, and whose owner, Fred Seibert, is a friend of the family.

Then comes an experience at Urban Baby, a forum dedicated to maternity, bought by CNET. At 19, after spending a year in Japan and while he is the head of Davisville, a company that creates websites that he created with a friend, Karp created Tumblr. In 2012, he explained tiredly:

“Tumblr started out as something I wanted to use myself. (…) I am not a writer. I don’t like writing like John Gruber or Jason Calacanis [bloggers, editor’s note] But I have things to share. ”

Tumblr quickly attracts investors, who are scrambling for its capital (Sequoia Capital, Union Square, Spark, Richard Branson …).

But Karp takes the big head, which he recognizes in an interview with Wired in which he justifies his behavior by advancing: ” I do not see why the actors could be the center of attention and not those who build these projects madly successful (…) “.

Karp now lives in a huge loft in Brooklyn with his friend.


6- A buyout at what price?

Yahoo! spent $ 1.1 billion to buy Tumblr or about 860 million euros. For comparison, Facebook spent a billion dollars to buy Instagram last year.


7- How did we hear the news?
In addition to a traditional press release, the CEO of Yahoo !, Marissa Mayer, revealed the news on her Tumblr (as it is surprising), even opting for a colorful Gif, just to blend in with the decor. The icing on the cake: Gif de Mayer is based on the famous British army poster “Keep Calm and Carry On”, hijacked for several years on the Internet.


8- What are Tumblr’s revenues?

According to Les Echos, Tumblr planned, before the takeover by Yahoo !, to reach 100 million dollars in revenue in 2013. If the company is known for its hostility towards advertising, it set up in 2012 a promotional blog posts system.

The user is now invited, as on Facebook, to pay a dollar if he wishes to give more visibility to specific content.


9- How did Tumblr users react to the buyout announcement?

Wrong. Users are, on the whole, afraid of seeing their darling platform become a major advertising medium, lose all of its erotic-porn content, and, at the same time, mainstream 200%. A Tumblr titled “Meltdowns about Yahoo Buying Tumblr” has fun compiling reactions to the buyout announcement.

The sentence inserted in the “about” part sets the tone: “oh my god this shit is so embarrassing” (“oh my god this shit is so embarrassing”).



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