Yahoo buying Tumblr is digital gentrification.
— Jason Chen (@diskopo) May 19, 2013
The question of the weekend is: “Why did Yahoo! spend one-third of their cash on hand to buy a company that by all accounts is about to run out of money?”
And here are some fairly sober answers, including: “if you were given 1.1 billion dollars, would you be able to build a service used by more than ten million people for more than an hour a month? You could not. That’s a bigger audience than American Idol, or for that matter anything else (except Facebook or Twitter).” That’s very attractive!
(I mean of course if you gave me $1.1 billion I’d be like “screw blogging, let’s PUT SOME CATS ON THE MOON AND START CIVILIZATION OVER,” but I suppose that’s not really relevant.)
— Rusty Foster (@rustyk5) May 20, 2013
And here’s Yahoo’s CEO: “The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance user experience.” That is quite literally the money quote. But, AWESOME! Hooray, someone invented advertising that will enhance user experience finally! I cannot wait for it to be unleashed on the Internet at last!
Of course, and here’s Tumblr’s CEO: “Fuck yeah.” Oh… well said, sir.
The real question before us: will Tumblr always be a safe space to put our complaints about the TSA opening our James Deen dildo boxes? Only time will tell, see you in 2017.
FLASHBACK: Picture it, February 2009. Tumblr’s then-lead developer Marco Arment mocked talk of a Yahoo! purchase of Tumblr (rumored sale price: circa $50 million): “I hope they let me work on some of the many exciting projects at Yahoo! Who needs a high rank at a small company in New York? I want to move to California and get stuck in traffic every day on the way to my midlevel engineering job where I sit in a cubicle all day and can’t make any product decisions while working on something nobody will ever see to manage regional ad clickthrough stats tracking.” Good stuff.