What does Yahoo!'s acquisition of Tumblr mean for users?

by Aline Mayard, May 21, 2013

Yesterday, Yahoo! Inc. announced their $1.1 billion acquisition of microblogging platform Tumblr. Although the six-year-old company generates very little revenue, it benefits from a fast-growing community of more than 300 million monthly unique visitors, among which are some very devoted bloggers who had some hearfelt reactions to the news:

During a conference call, Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo!, highlighted the “uncanny complementary nature” of the two services; Yahoo! is strong in sports, finance and news, while Tumblr is strong in fashion, art, architecture, food, travel and more. While Yahoo! is popular among older internet users, Tumblr is more popular amoung young adults.

Mayer rightly assumes that she won’t be able to get Tumblr’s young users to be engaged on Yahoo!, especially with Yahoo!'s reputation as an "uncool" platform. But she does think that Yahoo!'s current users will be more engaged if Tumblr’s content is to be added to Yahoo!’s current newfeed. She’s also betting that new users will start using Yahoo! to discover some more edgy content; claiming a potential for 50% growth in Yahoo!'s audience. 

She's also hoping Yahoo will benefit from Tumblr’s mobile presence. With 50% of their Tumbloggers using their mobile app, the microblogging platform has a leg up on Yahoo! and could potentially bring new insights to the Internet giant, who recently also acquired article summary app Summly.

We asked the Wamda audience on Facebook what they think of the deal. Badr M, from Cairo, shared his thoughts:

“Let Tumblr be Tumblr”

A lot of Tumblr users have spoken out about how their fear that Yahoo! will ruin the platform. Dina Batshon, a Wamda reader from Jordan, said on Facebook: 

To maintain Tumblr's user engagement, Mayer says, “Tumblr will continue to operate as a separate product and business.” The entire team will stay in their NYC headquarters, and founder David Karp will stay on as CEO, reporting directly to Mayer.           

The branding will also remain untouched; Mayer compared the acquisition to the Ebay/Paypal and YouTube/Google deals where the acquired firms have remained independent. The most recent example of Facebook buying out Instagram should also offer some hope to users; commntators made it clear just how much they feared Facebook will ruin Instagram, but so far nothing seems to have changed for the worse.

Tumblr powered by Yahoo! 

There are a couple of ways that Tumblr could gain from the acquisition. First, blogs could benefit from better discover. thanks to Yahoo!’s personalization technology and search infrastructure.

Second, Tumbloggers will now also be able to monetize, by adding ads on the dashboard, and on the blogs themselves. In both cases, Mayer has made a point to say that ads will be personalized and will only display if users choose them.

What do you think about the acquisition? Will Yahoo! ownership improve Tumblr, or will it ruin the cool factor?

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Aline is French Editor at Wamda. After having worked as the Online Marketing and Community Manager at French startup Buzzcar, she moved to the Middle East. She writes about traveling and culture in the Middle East on her blogyallabye.euYou can follow her on Twitter  @aline_myd and @yallah_bye, connect with her on LinkedIn, or reach her at aline[at]wamda[dot]com.

 
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