On Wednesday, Tumblr announced in an apparent about-face that it would be allowing paid advertisement on the popular blogging platform. David Kamp, Tumblr CEO and founder, made the announcement at Ad Age’s Digital Conference today in New York.
As recently as April 12, Kamp toldAd Age that advertising was “a complete last resort.” In 2010, the CEO famously said, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times,that the company was “pretty opposed to advertising. It really turns our stomachs.”
Yesterday, however, 25-year-old CEO added that putting ads on Tumblr Radar would get an advertiser 120 million impressions per day and will be available as of May 2.
I can’t say I’m surprised or overly disappointed by the announcement - for a free service it is more of an inevitability.
I’ve noticed a few posts recently in Tumblr Radar that, if not paid, felt as if they weren’t quite arising from sheer popularity- there were some related to the Hunger Games film, and another for the new John Cusack Edgar Allan Poe movie. Perhaps these weren’t actually paid for, but were testing the waters.
The fact that I wasn’t sure if they were paid or not seems to show that the Radar slot feels ripe for advertiisng. It’s small, but well-seen (I’m sure plenty of people check their dashboard multiple times a day, if not hour) but it’s also not too large or garish. If the paid ads aren’t too jarring or obtrusive, I can see it working fairly well for everyone.
I also suspect that any Radar items have to be on Tumblr itself, so that you can like or reblog them. That’s also smart for getting brands on the site, much as I prefer my social networks filled with people, not businesses. (I’ve been musing a post about why I like Flickr for this reason: there are unusually popular accounts around, but if they’re not photographers, they tend to either be states or government departments, like the various NASA institutions, the President, or Downing Street.)