Will Yahoo ruin Tumblr?
Marissa Mayer's team has already promised not to 'screw up' the wildly popular blogging site. Getting ads integrated will be that vow's first test.
As TechCrunch noted, some Tumblr users have launched a petition that it hopes will attract 5 million backers to stop the acquisition, though odds of derailing it are remote. One user with the handle of "thesexygiraffes" is quoted as saying the acquisition "is actually stressing me out."
This view isn't unique. As Kara Swisher noted on AllThingsD, imports from Tumblr to WordPress on Sunday hit 72,000 in one hour, up from a typical 400 to 600.
Though Internet users grumble about changes large and small, the fears about Tumblr are justified. After all, CEO Marissa Mayer has indicated that Yahoo hopes to monetize the site by running ads, which Tumblr doesn't do currently -- a selling point for many users. But Yahoo's plan is hardly shocking, considering that Tumblr reportedly isn't profitable.
Moreover, Yahoo has a lousy track record in integrating acquisitions. The company bought photo-sharing site Flickr in 2005, only to allow it to wither and see its market position get usurped by Instagram. Yahoo also had high hopes for Geocities when it acquired that business for $3.6 billion in 1999. Geocities is now defunct in the U.S.
Investors, though, are betting Yahoo has learned from its blunders. Shares of the company were trading up Monday. Yahoo is keeping Tumblr's existing management team in place, including 26-year-old co-founder David Karp, who stressed to users that they have no reason to be worried.
"We’re not turning purple," he wrote on the Tumblr staff blog. "Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn't changing. Our roadmap isn't changing."
How Yahoo addresses the concerns of Tumblr's rabid users, which give the site 300 million monthly unique visitors, will take a while to become apparent, but that's clearly the key to how successful this venture ultimately turns out.
Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
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