Tag Archives: Tumblr

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg Details Tumblr’s Future

This week, WordPress.com owner Matt Mullenweg confirmed his company would be shifting the majority of Tumblr’s workforce to other areas at the parent company Automattic in light of the social blogging site’s continued financial woes, TechCrunch reported.

After acknowledging and explaining the meaning behind a leaked internal memo detailing staff changes, Mullenweg then went on to field a number of questions about Tumblr’s future as an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on his own Tumblr blog. Here, the exec responded to questions about Tumblr’s plans for existing products like, Tumblr Live, its monetization efforts, policies and its planned integration with the decentralized social networking protocol ActivityPub, which Mullenweg had earlier said was in the works.

What are Tumblr’s monetization plans?

Tumblr today offers a subscription which is currently the best way to support the site, Mullenweg said. Users can choose from either the Tumblr Support badge for $29.99/year or $2.99/month or subscribe to a similarly-priced ad-free offering. Subscribing on the web instead of in-app allows Tumblr to keep more of its revenue as it doesn’t have to pay app store commissions.

However, TechCrunch reported, out of Tumblr’s 11.5 million active users, only 27,000 are subscribers (0.2%). If 10-20% subscribed, Tumblr would be in good shape, Mullenweg noted. Then, “we could run the site forever,” he shared.

What’s more, he said the Tumblr Supporter badge hasn’t been very successful on its own, with only 2,300 total subscribers to that product.

ArsTechnica reported that Tumblr will lose a majority of its product-minded staff by the end of this year, according to the CEO of the company that owns it. But, despite a recently leaked memo quoting Tennyson’s “better to have loved and lost” line, the CEO believes they are “setting up Tumblr for success in this next chapter.”

The memo states that a majority of the 139 employees on product and marketing at Tumblr (in a team apparently named “Bumblr”) will “switch to other divisions.” Those working in “Happiness” (Automattic’s customer support and service division) and “T&S” (trust and safety) would remain.

“We are at the point where after 600+ person-years of effort put into Tumblr since the acquisition in 2019, we have not gotten the expected results from our effort, which was to have revenue and usage above its previous peaks,” the posted memo reads. After quotes and anecdotes about love, loss, and mountain climbing, and learning on the journey, the memo notes that nobody will be let go and that team members can make a ranked list of their top three preferred assignments elsewhere inside Automattic.

PCMag reported that Tumblr is in trouble. Recent efforts to turn things around at the blogging site have fallen flat, which will result in a 2024 re-org.

“What’s super clear is our previous approach wasn’t working,” Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Tumblr owner Automattic, said in a recent post. “It didn’t turn around the business to make enough money to support the investment of infrastructure and staff needed to run Tumblr, and a lot of users were unhappy with some of the changes we tried.”

In my opinion, there would be a lot of people who currently use Tumblr that would be sad if the site disappears due to lack of revenue. Tumblr has changed hands over the years, and it would be a shame if the site just poofs out of existence.

Tumblr Wants To Fix Its Core Experience To Appeal To New Users

Tumblr posted on its Staff website about “Tumblr’s Core Product Safety.”

“Here at Tumblr, we’ve been working hard on reorganizing how we work in a bid to gain more users. A larger user base means a more sustainable company, and means we get to stick around and do this thing with you all a bit longer. What follows the strategy we’re using to accomplish the goal of user growth. The @labs group has published a bit already, but this is bigger. We’re publishing it publicly for the first time, in an effort to work more transparently with all of you in the Tumblr community. This strategy provides guidance amid limited resources, allowing our teams to focus on specific key areas to ensure Tumblr’s growth.”

The Diagnosis

In order for Tumblr to grow, we need to fix the core experience that makes Tumblr a useful place for users. The underlying problem is that Tumblr is not easy to use. Historically, we have expected users to curate their feeds and lean into curating their experience. But this expectation introduces friction to the user experience and only serves a small portion of our audience…

…To guarantee Tumblr’s continued success, we’ve got to prioritize fostering that seamless connection between people and content. This involves attracting and retaining new users and creators, nurturing their growth, and encouraging frequent engagement with the platform.

Our Guiding Principles

  • To enhance Tumblr’s usability, we must address these core guiding principles.
  • Expand the ways new users can discover and sign up for Tumblr.
  • Provide high-quality content with every app launch.
  • Facilitate easier user participation in conversations.
  • Retain and grow our creator base.
  • Create patterns that encourage users to keep returning to Tumblr
  • Improve the platform’s performance, stability and quality.

The Verge reported the changes suggest Tumblr is interested in positioning itself as a stronger competitor to mainstream social network, particularly for creators who want to share material on the platform. The goals include helping creators attract more engagement and making sure people see engaging posts every time they open Tumblr.

According to The Verge, the most obvious change for existing users may be a series of planned updates to the reply and reblog system. “The current way that conversations work on Tumblr across replies and reblog is confusing for new users,” the staff blog says.

Tumblr plans to let users reply to a particular addition to a reblogged post (very loosely equivalent to a quote-tweet) instead of grouping all replies under the original. It also wants to “explore the feasibility of removing duplicate reblog within a user’s Following feed,” in case you don’t want to watch popular posts ping-pong around in your social circle.

Engadget reported that Tumblr could be the latest platform to borrow from TikTok’s playbook. The companies planning a major revamp of its platform that will bring algorithmic recommendations to users’ feeds, according to a memo published on the Tumblr Staff blog.

According to Engadget, the Automattic-owned platform says its working to “improve our algorithmic ranking capabilities across all feeds” and “make it easier for users to understand where the vibrant communities on Tumblr are.”

In my opinion, Tumblr could use a revamp. “Being a 15-year-old brand is tough because the brand carries the baggage of a person’s preconceived impressions of Tumblr,” Tumblr itself stated. Now is a good time for this 15-year-old website to grow and try new things.

Tumblr Post+ Subscription is in Beta Mode

Tumblr is now one of the social media companies that wants to let creators make money from their content. It announced Post+, which is a subscription service that is currently in beta.

Tumblr’s Post+ is our new tool that allows creators to make some of their posts exclusive to paid supporters and allows people to support their favorite creators. It’s an optional way to support and encourage your favorite creators in Tumblr, and it’s all done in the existing post form with the existing tools you all know and love.

Here’s what is known about Tumblr’s Post+ (so far):

Tumblr users who have Post+ can pick and choose which posts they want public and which posts they want only their supporters to see.

Creators who use Post+ have the ability to choose from a select set of predefined subscription pricing structures for their supporters. TechCrunch reported that the subscriber-only content starts at $3.99 per month, with additional tiers at $5.99 and $9.99.

You must be a Tumblr user in order to become a paying Post+ supporter.

If you subscribe to a creator’s Post+, your blog name and any information you share publicly on your blog will be available to the owner of the blog you are subscribing to. No personal information is shared.

Subscribers will be notified when the Post+ creator(s) they subscribe to shares something new.

You can cancel your Post+ subscription if you choose to. But, you have to cancel it at least 24 hours before the end of your current subscription period in order to avoid being charged for the next subscription period. You cannot get a refund.

According to Tumblr, +Posts can be reblogged! This is encouraged. Each reblogged +Post has a teaser section at the top of the post that is publicly viewable. Any content added to the reblog is also visible publicly.

TechCrunch reported that Post+ “lets creators choose which content they want to put behind a paywall, whether that’s original artwork, personal blog posts or Destiel fanfic”. But, that information doesn’t appear on Tumblr’s Post+ information. My hope is that Tumblr is not suggesting that people attempt to monetize content owned by big companies.

You cannot block a blog after they have become a paying supporter of your Post+ without help from Tumblr Support.

Tumblr was sold to Automattic (who owns WordPress.com) in 2019.

Verizon Announced Sale of Tumblr to Automattic

Verizon Media and Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Automattic plans to acquire Tumblr.

The press release says that the terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, Axios reported that “a source familiar with the deal” put the price-tag “well below” $20 million, while another source put it below $10 million. Axios reported that Yahoo had paid $1.1 billion for Tumblr. Axios also reported that Automattic Inc. will buy the network and take on its 200 employees.

Tumblr is a media network powered by a massive community of independent creators and home to 475 million blogs.

“Tumblr is one of the Web’s most iconic brands,” said Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg. “It is an essential venue to share new ideas, cultures, and experiences, helping millions create and build communities around their shared interests. We are excited to add it to our lineup, which already includes WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Jetpack, Simplenote, Longreads, and more.”

I deleted my Tumblr account shortly after Verizon took over. My husband and I used to post photos of our cockatiels on a second Tumblr account, which we never got around to deleting. Personally, I feel that Automattic is going to do good things with Tumblr, and I definitely trust the company a whole lot more than I trust Verizon.

Will this change bring people back to Tumblr? It is too soon to know that for certain. Axios pointed out that The Wall Street Journal reported that Automattic’s CEO Matt Mullenweg intends to maintain the “porn ban” that Verizon implemented. The ban is one of the reasons why many people left Tumblr.

Tumblr has Vanished from the App Store

Tumblr is having an issue with its iOS app. Tumblr confirmed this in a post on its Help Center in which is stated: “We’re working to resolve an issue with the iOS app and hope to be fully functional again soon. We really appreciate your patience as we figure this out, and we’ll update this article when we have news to share.”

Piunikaweb reported that some users said Tumblr search isn’t working (meaning that users were unable to turn off Safe Mode). It also reported that the Tumblr app was not available for download from the App Store, and that some users said that explicit content had been censored.

The Verge also reported that Tumblr’s iOS app is missing from Apple’s App store.

It is unclear exactly why the app is no longer on Apple’s App Store, and this is causing some to engage in speculation. Some think that the app’s removal has something to do with Tumblr’s NSFW content.

This situation is yet another example of why people shouldn’t put all of their original content into a third-party blogging and/or social media website. There is no guarantee that that Tumblr will be around forever. If it goes away, users will lose all the content they put into their Tumblr blogs. Those that put their original content on a WordPress blog, and link it to Tumblr, will still control their own content.

It appears that the desktop version of Tumblr is still there, and this could be an option for some Tumblr users who can no longer access Tumblr through the iOS app. Another potential workaround was posted on Twitter by @diegoveronicat. The tweet includes step-by-step instructions about how to get the Tumblr app back on your phone.

Tumblr Releases Cabana

Tumblr announced the release of a brand new app. It’s called Cabana. Right now, the app is for iOS, only. (Tumblr says the Android version should be out in a few weeks).

Cabana allows people to video chat with up to five friends and watch stuff together. In other words, it allows you and five of your friends to watch the same video at the same time – and talk about it. It is a video based chat, not a text based chat.

TechCrunch reported that Cabana is not designed to interoperate with Tumblr’s product, and it doesn’t take advantage of existing relationships between Tumblr users. It seems to me that this means that you won’t have to worry about Cabana suddenly trying to connect you to strangers.

Any friend in the “room” can select a YouTube video for the group to watch together. Tumblr says that you must be at least 17 years old to download Cabana. It requires iOS 9.0 or later. In a post on Tumblr about Cabana, there is the implication that Tumblr has some ideas about “where to go with it”, and that maybe they will add more features later.

NASA is on Tumblr

NASA logo on TumblrNASA has been branching out on social media. It has two verified Twitter accounts. One is @NASA and the other is for the International Space Station @Space_Station. You can also find Twitter accounts for several astronauts. NASA has recently created some Tumblr blogs.

The main NASA Tumblr blog is called NASA. It says “Explore the universe and discover our home planet with the official NASA Tumblr.” At the time I am writing this, the NASA Tumblr blog has a video about the first veggies grown, harvested, and eaten in space at the top of its blog.

There is also a Curiosity Rover Tumblr. The description says “Roving Mars for science. Blogging it for you. Official NASA mission Tumblr”. It has images taken by the Mars Rover (including a selfie). This Tumblr blog also has information about Mars and a link to the recent Curiosity Rover Reddit AMA.

NASA has a third Tumblr blog called Astronaut Peggy Whitson. It has photos and information about the NASA Village. The description says “It takes a NASA Village … to train an astronaut.” This Tumblr blog will follow Peggy Whitson as she trains for a six-month mission on the International Space Station.