Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Tumblr Invents Yet Another Business Model

For a dollar, Tumblr will let you "highlight" your own Tumblr posts, which then… puts a sticker on the post that lets people know it's extra-important. Among the more negative (and not profane) comments are "This is actually ridiculous. Why would I even do that??" and "Well done staff, this is stupid and unnecessary." They will probably make a ton of one-dollars at this actually!

12 Comments / Post A Comment

They do a wonderful job highlighting the fact that you follow the wrong people.

hman (#53)

@sorry your heinous Dude.

@hman Too much? I should delete my tumblr, shouldn't I?

SeanP (#4,058)

@sorry your heinous at once.

Murgatroid (#2,904)

At the very least, anyone who posts the video for Toni Braxton's "You're Makin' Me High" (as it shows up on my Dashboard once every two months) should get an automatic highlight.

hman (#53)

Remember when a post like this would make ZERO SENSE to me? (Me neither.)

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)


Art Yucko (#1,321)

it's like curated tags, for akjdsfkals;fdlksdf;alsdl;asdfasdf.

BardCollege (#2,307)

I would pay upwards of 12 bitcoins for the pleasure of highlighting my awl comments.

riotnrrd (#840)

Will the Awl accept flooz and beenz?

brianvan (#149)

Don't encourage them, Choire! It'll make money for them, but, everything being relative, it's a loser. They do have unclaimed customer goodwill to soak up, and I'm sure it adds up, but…

Ignoring the signal/noise ratio issues that it creates, how many active users with $5-$10/mo of spending money do they have? And how many of them have reasons to keep dipping into the jar? I see maybe up to 200,000 people spending an average of $10 per year. Great money to bring in, except they're burning about 5x that money and there are no other revenue streams that are as profitable.

The other thing about this is that their corp clients only have to spend $1 to promote one message, so it doesn't scale with users. And certainly no one would follow a feed that posts more than 600 messages a month, and certainly no corporation is paying anyone to generate a multiple more of that kind of volume for social media feeds, so that is the max amount of money that a major affiliate could spend. That's a low ceiling. Maybe you'll get a thousand companies at most spending that kind of money within Tumblr? Now we're approaching profitability for Tumblr, except no one will have a usable dashboard if each of those content-puny posts are reblogged the average 9 times that Tumblr cites in statistics. That's 5.4 million posts per month of catalog feed shit, and God knows how many forced pageviews. I don't think there are enough active users with enough time and $$$ to consume that much advertorial "look at me!" content.

Keep in mind that this really does little or nothing to add value to any regular consumer's publishing efforts, and does a lot to entangle everyone's reading habits.

So soon enough this will all fall apart because that's what happens to unsustainable systems of selling attention to retailers.

Thing is, don't say anything that encourages other people to talk about Tumblr as if it was winning their line of business! Popular, blue-eyed or not, they still have a lot to prove! And everyone is rushing to crown David Karp because it seems that is how all the usual suspects keep the VC pyramid scheme going – don't fall for it!

JeanetteHay (#238,264)

Well, if they had charged a whole lot of money for that option, I might have called it a scam. There are people who would pay that dollar for the highlighted post. This is something that Facebook is also exploring now.

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