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Tumblr takes steps to monetize meteoric growth

Tumblr takes steps to monetize meteoric growth

Tumblr is planning to allow brands to promote themselves by buying a spot on its Radar feature, wrote GigaOm yesterday. The site’s founder David Karp, who is quoted in the article, explains that the change is “about making Tumblr much more accessible to brands.” The move should help Tumblr, which has been booming in recent months, profit from its ever-growing audience.  

GigaOm explains that Radar, part of the Tumblr dashboard that highlights editorially-curated posts, currently features around 15 posts a day, and receives about 120 million daily impressions. This is an audience that advertisers will be able to tap into directly into starting May 2.

The new feature, like promoted Tweets on Twitter, allows Tumblr to monetize an organic part of its site, rather than selling display advertising. This means that Tumblr will be able to make money, and brands will be able to integrate themselves into every-day users’ social experience. Karp, quoted by GigaOm, touts the power of the new ads, suggesting that Tumblr’s flexible format will allow brands to unleash their creativity, rather than constraining them to short phrases like Twitter.

But although the scheme has been announced, GigaOm notes that “it’s unclear how easily advertisers will be able to place their posts on Radar and how much they will need to spend.” The article’s author Ryan Kim also suggests that advertisers won’t be able to use the feature to promote any old “ho-hum” post.

Recently, Tumblr has been rolling out other schemes to monetize content, including charging users a dollar to allow them to highlight posts, as The Next Web explains. But the potential to make more money from Tumblr seems vast, because its audience has been growing so quickly. Mashable notes that, according to comScore, Tumblr received 21.8 million unique visitors last month in the US alone, up from 8.4 million in March 2011. The site also Tweeted casually last month “Forgot to make a big deal of this earlier, but Tumblr crossed the 20-billion-post mark Monday night”. Since then, it has reached over 21 billion total posts and over 52 million total blogs. So far today, according to Tumblr’s own stats, over 53.5 million posts have been made.

Individual Tumblrs also seem to be achieving more public awareness.  A an analysis of Technorati’s 100 most popular blogs, carried out last week by, notes that one Tumblr blog has finally made it onto the list. Other’s, like the now famous, FuckYeahRyanGosling, have turned into fully-fledged Internet memes. A recent post from the popular science and technology comic strip analysed Google data and suggested that “Tumblr” is about to overtake “blog” as a popular search term on Google. “I doubt TV anchors will start talking about ‘reactions in the Tumblverse,” writes the article’s author Randall Munroe, “But then again I still can’t believe that we got them to say ‘blogosphere’”.

Sources:, Mashable, GigaOm, Tumblr (1) (2),, The Next Web


Hannah Vinter


2012-04-19 14:41

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