Thinking Out Loud: Tumblr – will it Tumbledown?
Since Tumblr announced that it was removing all adult content from the site, I have been a spectator. This announcement obviously hits consumers and producers of that material who use that platform, and there has been a more than a considerable negative reaction from content creators who have used the Tumblr platform as a medium to created demand via the teaser distribution of the content.
From the content creator’s point of view I can see the removal of the Tumblr platform and the removal of already posted content is not what you want to happen, it has been a great, convenient and free platform for driving consumers to sites where people can pay for content from that creator, an opportunity more than a few creators take advantage of.
The point where the content creators lose their legs to stand on is that Tumblr has been free, and being free, they are pretty much allowed to change a lot of things as the like, and making the site adult content free is one of them.
However, this is a move that completely confuses me, because in the safe for work arena, Tumblr, as a blogging platform really sucks, to be honest I find it terrible to use on a computer, and awful to read any of any length on a mobile, its is good for image searches and cool gif’s; although the proliferation of adult content means I tend to do any Tumblr searches in private with the sound off, however I had gotten used to the platform and follow a couple of rather curious eclectic blogs that will for the large part be unaffected completely by the ban – unless it is even more prudish than Instagram.
For blogging there are much better platforms, and for image microblogging Instagram, stories, snapchat and Twitter are far more embedded and friendly than Tumblr, without the adult angle it is hard to envision where Tumblr positions itself in the marketplace, and hard to see how going down the SFW route will lead to greater revenue generation from external sources when its audience is gone.
What I see is a huge opening for a NSFW friendly platform that perhaps uses a freemium model for content creators who can then target ads and content through options or direction that mops up all the people who desert Tumblr in their droves when they find a platform that is both receptive to their content production or consumption and which is mildly better in its execution.
Perhaps Tumblr is being killed off because of its name similarity to other sites it doesn’t want association with, who knows, in my view, the path the Tumblr leadership has taken is a rather strange one that looks rather like it is a kill or cure measure as part of a bigger macro-plan to relaunch the platform in a different guise or drive people to a new platform from the same producers as brought your Tumblr that is re-engineered and reimagined and not constrained by the existing limits of the Tumblr platform that currently exists.
Ultimately, any platform has to pay its bills and it is hard to see how the brave new Tumblr will do that, especially in the face of any challenge from a rival that offers a home to its disillusioned and homeless. What will the future bring for Tumblr, I would say a fall, perhaps a Tumble in its fortunes.