Credit: Reuters/Kimberly White
It's official: Yahoo is acquiring the Tumblr blogging platform for a scosh more than $1 billion. Tumblr, meet Stumblr.
Of course, Tumblr is more than just a blogging platform. It's a way of life for members of the Internet set who weren't yet born when Yahoo emerged from Jerry Yang and David Filo's list of bookmarks in 1994.
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And though Tumblr boasts more than 100 million users, Yahoo isn't buying it just to boost its visitor numbers; that would be like Russia annexing Mongolia for its snow. No, Yahoo is buying it for its cachet -- its coolness. Because Marissa has to do something to appeal to the SpongeBob generation and like with a lot of aging companies it's easier and cheaper to buy youthful exuberance than to re-create it.
Despite Marissa's promises to "not screw up" Tumblr the way Yahoo has screwed up virtually every other major Internet property it has acquired, this purchase does not sit at all well with the Tumblratti. I asked my resident Tumblr expert, a 14-year-old of my acquaintance. Can I ask you a question about Tumblr? I started. She was way ahead of me.
"You mean about being bought by Yahoo?" She made a I-just-threw-up-in-my-mouth-a-little face. "I think I will delete my account."
"Because it will go to #*-!" and used a word 14-year-olds were not allowed to utter in front of adults in my day. Then she paused briefly and reconsidered. "It might be a good thing. Tumbler is full of whiny teenage girls. They'll all leave."
I'm sad so now i'm going to watch supernatural and hope that yahoo buying tumblr was just a really bad dream.
I refuse to see this as the end of the world, although I'm certainly not a fan of Yahoo, which has so far been the Comic Sans of Internet companies.
A font takedown -- oh snap! She goes on, reasonably:
Tumblr folk are amazing at overreacting, I know, but before announcing this as the end of Tumblr and threatening to delete our blogs, let's see what will actually happen. Maybe better funding means our way of life is protected? Maybe David [Karp] won't let anyone destroy his baby? (Have some faith in the guy.) Maybe this really isn't the end of all things awesome? We'll see, but it would be a terrible business call from Yahoo to radically mess with Tumblr -- and remember, the same people that destroyed GeoCities and others aren't running things anymore.
I'm not saying this couldn't end in a disaster, I'm just sayin this isn't automatically a disaster.