The Tumblr homepage when a user is not signed in, as of May 2013. A different background image is displayed each time the page is loaded.
|Headquarters||New York City, United States|
|Industry||Microblogging, social networking service|
|Employees||281 (as of September 2014)|
|Alexa rank||35 (April 2014[update])|
Tumblr (stylized in its logo as tumblr.) is a microblogging platform and social networking website founded by David Karp and owned by Yahoo! Inc. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users' blogs, as well as make their blogs private. Much of the website's features are accessed from the "dashboard" interface, where the option to post content and posts of followed blogs appear.
Development of Tumblr began in 2006 during a two-week gap between contracts at David Karp's software consulting company, Davidville (housed at Karp's former internship with producer/incubator Fred Seibert's Frederator Studios which was located a block from Tumblr's current headquarters). Karp had been interested in tumblelogs (short-form blogs) for some time and was waiting for one of the established blogging platforms to introduce their own tumblelogging platform. As no one had done so after a year of waiting, Karp and developer Marco Arment began working on their own tumblelogging platform. Tumblr was launched in February 2007 and within two weeks, the service had gained 75,000 users. Arment left the company in September 2010 to focus on Instapaper.
In early June 2012, Tumblr featured its first major brand advertising campaign in conjunction with Adidas. Adidas launched an official soccer Tumblr blog and bought placements on the user dashboard. This launch was only two months after Tumblr announced it would be moving towards paid advertising on its site.
On May 20, 2013, it was announced that Yahoo! and Tumblr had reached an agreement for Yahoo! to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. Many of Tumblr's users were unhappy with the news, causing some to start a petition, achieving nearly 170,000 signatures. David Karp will remain CEO and the deal was finalized on June 20, 2013.
- Dashboard – The dashboard is the primary tool for the typical Tumblr user. It is a live feed of recent posts from blogs that they follow. Through the dashboard, users are able to comment, reblog, and like posts from other blogs that appear on their dashboard. The dashboard allows the user to upload text posts, images, video, quotes, or links to their blog with a click of a button displayed at the top of the dashboard. Users are also able to connect their blogs to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, so whenever they make a post, it will also be sent as a tweet and a status update.
- Queue – Users are able to set up a schedule to delay posts that they make. They can spread their posts over several hours or even days.
- Tags – For each post a user creates, they are able to help their audience find posts about certain topics by adding tags. If someone were to upload a picture to their blog and wanted their viewers to find pictures, they would add the tag #picture, and their viewers could use that word to search up posts with the tag #picture.
- HTML editing – Tumblr allows users to edit their blog's theme HTML coding to control the appearance of their blog. Users are also able to use a custom domain name for their blog.
With Tumblr's 2009 acquisition of Tumblerette, an Apple App Store application created by Jeff Rock and Garrett Ross, the service launched its official iPhone app. The site became available to BlackBerry smartphones on April 17, 2010 via a Mobelux application in BlackBerry World. In June 2012, Tumblr released a new version of its iOS app, Tumblr 3.0 allowing support for Spotify, hi-res images and offline access. An app for Android is also available. A Windows Phone app was released on April 23, 2013. An app for Google Glass was released on May 16, 2013.
In May 2012, Tumblr launched Storyboard, a blog managed by an in-house editorial team which features stories and videos about noteworthy blogs and users on Tumblr. In April 2013, Storyboard was shut down.
- As of September 1, 2014, Tumblr hosts over 201.3 million blogs and more than 90.2 billion posts in total.
- In April 2013 the website received more than 13 billion global page views.
- As of September 1, 2014, over 85 million posts were created on the site each day.
The service is most popular with the teen and college-aged user segments with half of Tumblr's visitor base being under the age of 25.
Tumblr is noted by technology journalists as having a sizable amount of pornographic content, though the exact amount is known only to the company. The New York Times notes "pornography represents a fraction of content on the site, but not a trivial amount for a site with 100 million blogs." Karp revealed in June 2012 that between 2 and 4 percent of Tumblr's traffic is porn-related. Tumblr's Community Guidelines permits adult-oriented content but requires that blogs that contain occasional or substantial adult content to be flagged as such. Sexually explicit videos are not allowed to be uploaded to the website, but videos hosted elsewhere may be embedded. Some porn bloggers earn money by referring traffic to adult businesses through referrals and widgets.
As of July 20, 2013, policy updates enacted by Tumblr mean that pages classified as "NSFW" will not feature in tag pages for users who are not logged in or who have the "Safe Mode" activated. For users who are logged in to Tumblr, but do not have "Safe Mode" turned on, NSFW blogs should show up on search and tag pages; NSFW pages are indexed by search engines. In a public statement, the company conveyed the following:
Tumblr's longstanding policy regarding NSFW content has not changed and emphasizes the importance of free expression. As addressed in these policies, we are constantly taking measures to ensure our users can avoid this content unless they'd like to see it. Anyone can opt-in by disabling Safe Mode in their Dashboard Settings.
Self-harm and suicide
The suicide of a British teenager, Tallulah Wilson, raised the issue of suicide and self-harm promotion on Tumblr as Wilson was reported to have maintained a self-harm blog on the site. A user on the site is reported to have sent Wilson an image of a noose accompanied by the message: "here is your new necklace, try it on." In response to the Wilson case, Maria Miller, the UK's minister for culture, media and sport, said that social media sites like Tumblr need to remove "toxic" self-harm content.
Tumblr's headquarters is at 35 East 21st Street in the Flatiron District in New York City's Silicon Alley. The company also maintains a support office in Richmond, Virginia. As of August 2014, Tumblr has 278 employees. The company's logo is set in Bookman Old Style with some modifications.
To date, Tumblr has received about $125 million of funding from investors. The company has raised funding from Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, Martín Varsavsky, John Borthwick (Betaworks), Krum Capital, Fred Seibert, and Sequoia Capital (among other investors).
In its first round of funding in October 2007, Tumblr raised $750,000 from Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. In December 2008, the company raised $4.5 million in Series B funding and a further $5 million in April 2010. In December 2010, Tumblr raised $30 million in Series D funding. The company had a $800 million valuation in August 2011. In September 2011, the company raised $85 million in a round of funding led by Greylock Partners and Insight Venture Partners.
In an interview with Nicole Lapin of Bloomberg West on September 7, 2012, David Karp said the site was monetized by advertising. Their first advertising launch started in May 2012 after 16 experimental campaigns. Tumblr made $13 million in revenue in 2012 and hopes to make $100 million in 2013. Tumblr reportedly spent $25 million to fund operations in 2012.
In 2013, Tumblr began allowing companies to pay to promote their own posts to a larger audience. Tumblr Head of Sales, Lee Brown, has quoted the average ad purchase on Tumblr to be nearly six figures. Tumblr also generates revenue by selling themes to users to change the appearance of their blog.
Tumblr has received criticism for copyright violations by participating bloggers; however, Tumblr does accept Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notices. Tumblr's visual appeal has made it ideal for photoblogs that often include copyrighted works from others that are re-published without payment. Tumblr users can post unoriginal content by "Reblogging", a feature on Tumblr that allows users to re-post content taken from another blog onto their own blog.
Tumblr has been forced to manage spam and security problems. For example, a chain letter scam in May 2011 affected 130,000 users.
On December 3, 2012, Tumblr was attacked by a cross-site scripting worm deployed by the Internet troll group Gay Nigger Association of America. The message encouraged users to harm themselves and criticized blogging in general.
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- Celebrities who use Tumblr include Lady Gaga, Zooey Deschanel and John Mayer.
- In 2011, the We are the 99% Tumblr went viral and became the unifying slogan for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
- On October 21, 2011, Tumblr became the first blogging platform to host President Obama's blog.
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