Apprehension sprung as Yahoo! announced it will be purchasing Tumblr for $1.1 billion on May 20, according to nytimes.com. Yahoo!’s fading popularity and past failures in acquiring smaller companies put the fate of Tumblr in jeopardy. Yahoo! has the potential to threaten Tumblr’s casual, minimalistic approach to blogging by monetizing the site, alienating the users and setting it down a path far different from the intended one.
In the past, Yahoo! has spent large amounts of money for up-and-coming companies, such as Flickr and GeoCities, but has been unsuccessful in capitalizing on the opportunities, according to nytimes.com. What is to say that Tumblr will not suffer the same fate? With Yahoo!’s less than impressive track record, Tumblr users are not too eager to put the fate of the site in Yahoo!’s hands. WordPress, a rival blogging site, imported 72,000 blog posts within an hour after the Yahoo!-Tumblr announcement was made, showing that people are already leaving Tumblr, according to forbes.com.
Tumblr solely consists of content contributed by its 300 million users. However, Tumblr only had $13 million in revenue last year. According to forbes.com, Yahoo! is expected to increase the amount of ads on the website in order to increase revenue. This monetization has the potential to limit the space the user can design and eliminate the users’ feelings of control over the site.
The varying demographics between Yahoo! and Tumblr also pose a threat to Tumblr’s unity and popularity. Yahoo! typically has been known to appeal to a wide range of age groups, due to its email accounts and news availability, while Tumblr has the support of the often sought after 18 to 24 year olds. The differing demographics have the potential to cause a clash of goals and plans for the future of the social media site.
Yahoo! has the potential to uproot Tumblr’s foundation as a user-directed blogging site. As a result, Yahoo! has to be extremely careful of which direction it decides to take Tumblr. In order to maintain Tumblr’s current popularity as well as boost Yahoo!’s, the company must make sure that it does not undermine Tumblr’s intended purpose. Otherwise, the result could be catastrophic for both sites.