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First POST: The Acquisition

BY Nick Judd | Monday, May 20 2013

Promising not to "screw it up"

  • Yahoo buys Tumblr: The deal announced this morning is worth approximately $1.1 billion. Founder David Karp writes: "We’re not turning purple. Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing. And our mission – to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve – certainly isn’t changing."

    In a post on Tumblr, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer writes, "We promise not to screw it up."

    Mayer explains: "Tumblr’s tremendous popularity and engagement among creators, curators and audiences of all ages brings a significant new community of users to the Yahoo! network. The combination of Tumblr+Yahoo! could grow Yahoo!’s audience by 50% to more than a billion monthly visitors, and could grow traffic by approximately 20%."

    Tumblr is an increasingly valuable forum for politics, becoming one of several channels the Obama campaign used to reach younger voters after many operatives already found that new blogs there have a short set-up time and media posted there can spread rapidly. By the time the Obama campaign launched on the platform, a small group of politicos already knew it was a prime tool for rapid response and the other aspects of ideological knife-fighting that have become part of 24-hour social media culture.

    But Tumblr also has a politics of its own — community norms and terms-of-use policies that the company has already had to establish in some thorny areas, like blogs advocating one type of self-harm or another. And of course, there's all the porn. Mayer's note this morning intimates that her company sees Tumblr as a big advertising opportunity, while Tumblr might benefit Yahoo's search tools — what will that do to the delicate balance Karp & Co. are trying to strike?

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