Boasting 217 million unique global visitors and 5.3 billion page views last month, Tumblr is a social media juggernaut. Redefining blogging with is accessibility, usability and fluidity, Tumblr provides every person with a perspective, a community to with which to share it. Recently, Tumblr has been acquired by Yahoo! to the tune of $1.1 billion, which raises major concerns for its millions of users.
As someone who has grown up with Yahoo!, and its various other acquisitions, I wouldn’t say Yahoo! has been overly successful with its additions. Broadcast.com, Geocities and Flickr (depending on who you ask) are just a few consumer disappointments. The struggle that Yahoo! seemingly faces with intermingling start-ups could have easily discouraged Yahoo!’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, from continuing the acquisition of Tumblr. The question is “was the acquisition a mistake?” In my opinion: no.
From acquisitions of smaller businesses to a major redesign of Flickr, Mayer has made bold moves since her leave at Google. While some of her decisions have been met with mixed reception, she is undeniably a key to Yahoo!’s financial upswing (stock prices have been on the rise since her arrival). So, what makes Mayer’s likelihood of success with Tumblr so much better than her predecessors’ with other acquisitions?
Unlike anyone before her, Mayer promises not to taint Tumblr, but to use it as a tool to further the Yahoo! experience. Fortunately for Tumblr’s users, Founder and CEO David Karp will retain major control of the company. According to Mayer, “It’s [Tumblr] not going to change. There are certainly going to be some things behind the scenes—maybe be it search or discovery or pulling some of Tumblr’s content into Yahoo!’s core properties—but in terms of the way that Tumblr works it’s still going to be aligned with David’s vision and road map.” (To watch the whole interview click here)
Tumblr’s uncompromising, uncluttered advertisements are the most beloved aspect for both the users and Karp. Many users fear Yahoo! will compromise this purity. Luckily, this will most likely never happen. Tumblr was never lucrative with advertisements because of Karp’s distain for them and Yahoo! doesn’t need Tumblr to be a major source of advertisement revenue. Yahoo! desperately needs the youthful and engaging aspect that Tumblr can provide the brand, and if it is smart, it won’t do anything to compromise it.
If played right, this has the potential to reinvigorate Yahoo! as a brand (Remember Google’s acquisition of YouTube?). Yahoo!, take some words of advice–don’t mess up!
Mathew Tye is an intern for Airfoil, a high-tech PR and marcomm firm with offices in Silicon Valley and Detroit.