As investors and observers debate the merits of Yahoo's $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr, tens of thousands of Tumblr users have already cast a vote of no confidence in the deal by migrating to WordPress, according to WordPress CEO Matt Mullenweg.
Evidently Yahoo's pledge not to "screw up" Tumblr wasn't sufficiently soothing for users of the popular blogging site. Imports from Tumblr to WordPress spiked as soon as rumors of the acquisition started to circulate, according to Mullwenweg. "Normally we import 400-600 posts an hour from Tumblr, last hour it was over 72,000," he wrote in a blog post Sunday.
Fortunately for Yahoo, that represents a small percentage of Tumblr's 117 million unique users, as estimated by comScore.
Yahoo likely expected a mass migration in the wake of the announcement. Tumblr is one of the cool kids on the Internet, while Yahoo has a reputation of being an out-of-touch, mainstream fuddy-duddy. That's one of the key reasons Yahoo is making the acquisition: to change its image and win over the 20-somethings -- and to reap the chunk of ad revenue that comes with the influx of new Yahoo users.
Whether Yahoo will succeed in retaining the bulk of Tumblr users remains to be seen, of course, and that success will likely hinge on whether the company can fulfill the pledge outlined in its press release about the acquisition. "Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up. Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business," the release read.
At the same time, Yahoo will have to devise a way to elegantly integrate Tumblr with its ad network. Investors will be scrutinizing this deal to ensure that Yahoo's $1.1 billion gamble doesn't have a tragic GeoCities-esque outcome. Yahoo bought GeoCities in 1999 for $3.57 billion, only to close it in 2009.
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