Should Tumblr Monetize Or Address Outages?


Tumblr monetized

Tumblr has nowhere to go but up, what with more than 100 million profiles, over 150 million unique visitors a month, and last year’s ousting of the word “blog” (in favor of “Tumblr”) in Google searches. Despite these milestones, the social network still hasn’t really explained how they plan on making money, and have quite a few technical problems they’re still trying to fix.

So how will Tumblr tackle these humps and become the social media juggernaut it seems destined to become?

Tumblr’s founder and CEO David Karp didn’t lay out any concrete plans during his presentation at South by Southwest, but praised Tumblr’s users for growing the service. Tumblr has managed to snatch young users away from Facebook, and is inching close to breaking Quantcast’s top 20 Web properties.

So we in the social media game are dying to know. When the hell are they going to capitalize on this?

Tumblr’s VP of product, Derek Gottfrid, spoke to the Social Times about Tumblr’s plans to monetize. So far, they’ve been experimenting with promoted content mobile ads. ST pointed out the number of outages that have plagued the service, suggesting that a more reliable platform has to come first. Gottfrid seemed to downplay Tumblr’s technical issues.

“We’ve had a few hiccups lately, but overall we’re pretty happy with where were at,” he said.

But according to Pingdom, Tumblr averaged 3.8 hours of downtime a month in 2011, and 15.6 in 2012 (though individual tests averaged 2.4).

Gottfrid responded that Tumblr has gone out of its way to keep individual blogs from experiencing significant downtime.

“This is really people’s blog presence. We’re putting a lot of effort to make sure that part stays up,” he said.

Other social networks experience traffic dilemmas as they grow, and Tumblr is no different. But the site is unique in terms of what causes the issue. It’s not capacity, rather:

“It’s more about an ability to manage complexity — the number of machines, the network configuration, the amount of data we’re moving around,” Gottfrid said. “In the abstract it’s pretty simple, but in the detailed level, it’s nontrivial.”

As Tumblr continues to grow, things will get more complex for the site team, but Gottfrid reassures that they’re prepared for it.

Insofar as monetizing is concerned, Tumblr is currently conducting studies to measure the benefits of brands promoting their content on the site. They’re hoping it’ll lure more advertisers, but they might be reluctant given the technical issues.

What do you think? Do you have a Tumblr?


Dusten Carlson
Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.

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