Tumblr's founder and CEO David Karp has lifted the lid on the Tumblr-Yahoo buyout deal, saying that the new owner has "lived up to everything they promised."
Yahoo purchased the blogging platform for $1.1 billion last year. In a blog post announcing the deal, Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer promised "not to screw it up," and that Tumblr's product roadmap and team would remain the same. Yahoo has made precious few changes to the system and has even shied away from placing the firm's logo on Tumblr's website; the one major change involving the removal of adult blogs from searches. However, after user backlash, this feature was quietly restored.
In an interview with the New York Times, Karp told the publication that while Yahoo has remained hands-off since the acquisition, the tech giant has also kept its promise to make Tumblr better — by boosting the blogging platform with additional resources, advice, and funds.
Since the buyout, Tumblr's staff levels have more than doubled to 220 employees, and according to comScore figures, the platform's audience has jumped by 22 percent year-on-year.
The most terrifying thing to me was that this would change the company in any way. But almost a year in, they have lived up to everything they promised.
The two companies, however, are still working out how to generate not only audience growth, but also how to boost revenue levels without drowning bloggers in advertising. Users are unlikely to respond well to banner advertising, and so one idea in the pipeline is to appeal directly to businesses and make them create branded blogs where they can interact directly with users — in the same manner as Facebook pages.
This in itself will not make Tumblr money, but the concept could become the gateway which encourages companies to pay for premium placement on Tumblr products. However, this may be a hard sell as Tumblr only requires an email address to sign up — which takes away valuable demographics, age, and gender data used in targeted products and advertizing.
This issue keeps "the stakes as high as they’ve ever been," according to the Tumblr CEO. However, looking forward, Tumblr is yet to fully embrace the potential of mobile technology, and new products in the pipeline may be able to snag new users as well as provide a channel for additional revenue growth.