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Type of businessTumblr_header_cell_0_0_0 SubsidiaryTumblr_cell_0_0_1
FoundedTumblr_header_cell_0_1_0 February 2007; 13 years ago (2007-02)Tumblr_cell_0_1_1
HeadquartersTumblr_header_cell_0_2_0 New York City, United StatesTumblr_cell_0_2_1
Founder(s)Tumblr_header_cell_0_3_0 David KarpTumblr_cell_0_3_1
Key peopleTumblr_header_cell_0_4_0 Jeff D'Onofrio (CEO)Tumblr_cell_0_4_1
IndustryTumblr_header_cell_0_5_0 Microblogging, social networking serviceTumblr_cell_0_5_1
EmployeesTumblr_header_cell_0_6_0 411 (as of June 2017)Tumblr_cell_0_6_1
ParentTumblr_header_cell_0_7_0 Tumblr_cell_0_7_1
URLTumblr_header_cell_0_8_0 Tumblr_cell_0_8_1

Tumblr (stylized as tumblr and pronounced "tumbler") is an American microblogging and social networking website founded by David Karp in 2007 and currently owned by Automattic. Tumblr_sentence_0

The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Tumblr_sentence_1

Users can follow other users' blogs. Tumblr_sentence_2

Bloggers can also make their blogs private. Tumblr_sentence_3

For bloggers many of the website's features are accessed from a "dashboard" interface. Tumblr_sentence_4

As of August 12, 2019, Tumblr hosts over 475 million blogs. Tumblr_sentence_5

History Tumblr_section_0

Development of Tumblr began in 2006 during a two-week gap between contracts at David Karp's software consulting company, Davidville (housed at Karp's former internship with producer-incubator Fred Seibert's Frederator Studios, which was located a block from Tumblr's current headquarters). Tumblr_sentence_6

Karp had been interested in tumblelogs (short-form blogs, hence the name Tumblr) for some time and was waiting for one of the established blogging platforms to introduce their own tumblelogging platform. Tumblr_sentence_7

As no one had done so after a year of waiting, Karp and developer Marco Arment began working on their own tumblelogging platform. Tumblr_sentence_8

Tumblr was launched in February 2007, and within two weeks the service had gained 75,000 users. Tumblr_sentence_9

Arment left the company in September 2010 to focus on Instapaper. Tumblr_sentence_10

In early June 2012, Tumblr featured its first major brand advertising campaign in conjunction with Adidas, who launched an official soccer Tumblr blog and bought placements on the user dashboard. Tumblr_sentence_11

This launch came only two months after Tumblr announced it would be moving towards paid advertising on its site. Tumblr_sentence_12

On May 20, 2013, it was announced that Yahoo and Tumblr had reached an agreement for Yahoo! Tumblr_sentence_13 Inc. to acquire Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. Tumblr_sentence_14

Many of Tumblr's users were unhappy with the news, causing some to start a petition, achieving nearly 170,000 signatures. Tumblr_sentence_15

David Karp remained CEO and the deal was finalized on June 20, 2013. Tumblr_sentence_16

Advertising sales goals were not met and in 2016 Yahoo wrote down $712 million of Tumblr's value. Tumblr_sentence_17

Verizon Communications acquired Yahoo in June 2017, and placed Yahoo and Tumblr under its Oath subsidiary. Tumblr_sentence_18

Karp announced in November 2017 that he would be leaving Tumblr by the end of the year. Tumblr_sentence_19

Jeff D'Onofrio, Tumblr's President and COO, took over leading the company. Tumblr_sentence_20

The site, along with the rest of the Oath division (renamed Verizon Media Group in 2019), continued to struggle under Verizon. Tumblr_sentence_21

In March 2019, SimilarWeb estimated Tumblr had lost 30% of its user traffic since December 2018, when the site had introduced a stricter content policy with heavier restrictions on adult content (which had been a notable draw to the service). Tumblr_sentence_22

In May 2019, it was reported that Verizon was considering selling the site due to its continued struggles since the purchase (as it had done with another Yahoo property, Flickr, via its sale to SmugMug). Tumblr_sentence_23

Following this news, Pornhub's vice president publicly expressed interest in purchasing Tumblr, with a promise to reinstate the previous adult content policies. Tumblr_sentence_24

On August 12, 2019, Verizon Media announced that it would sell Tumblr to Automattic—operator of blog service WordPress.com and corporate backer of the open source blog software of the same name—for an undisclosed amount. Tumblr_sentence_25

Axios reported that the sale price was less than $3 million, a significant decrease over Yahoo's original purchase price. Tumblr_sentence_26

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg stated that the site will operate as a complementary service to WordPress.com, and that there were no plans to reverse the content policy decisions made during Verizon ownership. Tumblr_sentence_27

Features Tumblr_section_1

Blog management Tumblr_section_2


  • Dashboard: The dashboard is the primary tool for the typical Tumblr user. It is a live feed of recent posts from blogs that they follow. Through the dashboard, users are able to comment, reblog, and like posts from other blogs that appear on their dashboard. The dashboard allows the user to upload text posts, images, videos, quotes, or links to their blog with a click of a button displayed at the top of the dashboard. Users are also able to connect their blogs to their Twitter and Facebook accounts; so whenever they make a post, it will also be sent as a tweet and a status update.Tumblr_item_0_0
  • Queue: Users are able to set up a schedule to delay posts that they make. They can spread their posts over several hours or even days.Tumblr_item_0_1
  • Tags: Users can help their audience find posts about certain topics by adding tags. If someone were to upload a picture to their blog and wanted their viewers to find pictures, they would add the tag #picture, and their viewers could use that word to search for posts with the tag #picture.Tumblr_item_0_2
  • HTML editing: Tumblr allows users to edit their blog's theme HTML coding to control the appearance of their blog. Users are also able to use a custom domain name for their blog.Tumblr_item_0_3

Mobile Tumblr_section_3

With Tumblr's 2009 acquisition of Tumblerette, an iOS application created by Jeff Rock and Garrett Ross, the service launched its official iPhone app. Tumblr_sentence_28

The site became available to BlackBerry smartphones on April 17, 2010, via a Mobelux application in BlackBerry World. Tumblr_sentence_29

In June 2012, Tumblr released a new version of its iOS app, Tumblr 3.0, allowing support for Spotify, hi-res images and offline access. Tumblr_sentence_30

An app for Android is also available. Tumblr_sentence_31

A Windows Phone app was released on April 23, 2013. Tumblr_sentence_32

An app for Google Glass was released on May 16, 2013. Tumblr_sentence_33

Inbox and messaging Tumblr_section_4

Tumblr blogs may optionally allow users to submit questions, either as themselves or anonymously, to the blog for a response. Tumblr_sentence_34

Tumblr also offered a "fan mail" function, allowing users to send messages to blogs that they follow. Tumblr_sentence_35

On November 10, 2015, Tumblr introduced an integrated instant messaging function, allowing users to chat with other Tumblr users. Tumblr_sentence_36

The feature was rolled out in a "viral" manner; it was initially made available to a group of 1500 users, and other users could receive access to the messaging system if they were sent a message by any user that had received access to the system itself. Tumblr_sentence_37

The messaging platform replaces the fan mail system, which was deprecated. Tumblr_sentence_38

The ability to send posts to others via the Dashboard was added the following month. Tumblr_sentence_39

In November 2019, Tumblr introduced "group chats"—ephemeral chat rooms surfaced via searches, designed to allow users to share content in real-time with users who share their interests. Tumblr_sentence_40

Posts disappear after 24 hours and cannot be edited. Tumblr_sentence_41

Original content Tumblr_section_5

In May 2012, Tumblr launched Storyboard, a blog managed by an in-house editorial team which features stories and videos about noteworthy blogs and users on Tumblr. Tumblr_sentence_42

In April 2013, Storyboard was shut down. Tumblr_sentence_43

In March 2018, Tumblr began to syndicate original video content from Verizon-owned video network go90, as part of an ongoing integration of Oath properties, and reported plans to wind down go90 in favor of using Oath properties to distribute its content instead. Tumblr_sentence_44

This made the respective content available internationally, since go90 is a U.S.-only service. Tumblr_sentence_45

Usage Tumblr_section_6

Tumblr has been noted for the socially progressive views of its users. Tumblr_sentence_46

In 2011, the service was most popular with the teen and college-aged user segments with half of Tumblr's visitor base being under the age of 25. Tumblr_sentence_47

In April 2013, the website received more than 13 billion global page views. Tumblr_sentence_48

User activity, measured by the number of blog posts each day, peaked at over 100 million in early 2014 and declined in each of the next three years, to approximately 30 million by October 2018. Tumblr_sentence_49

As of May 2019, Tumblr hosts over 465 million blogs and more than 172 billion posts in total with over 21 million posts created on the site each day. Tumblr_sentence_50

Adult content Tumblr_section_7

Tumblr has been noted by technology journalists as having had a sizable amount of pornographic content. Tumblr_sentence_51

An analysis conducted by news and technology site TechCrunch on May 20, 2013, has shown that over 22% of all traffic in and out of Tumblr was classified as pornography. Tumblr_sentence_52

In addition, a reported 16.45% of blogs on Tumblr exclusively contained pornographic material. Tumblr_sentence_53

Since July 2013 and its acquisition by Yahoo, Tumblr has progressively restricted adult content on the site. Tumblr_sentence_54

In July 2013, Tumblr began to filter content from adult-tagged blogs from appearing in search results and tag displays unless the user is logged in. Tumblr_sentence_55

In February 2018, Safe Mode (which filters "sensitive" content and blogs) became enabled by default for all users on an opt-out basis. Tumblr_sentence_56

On December 3, 2018, Tumblr announced that effective December 17, all images and videos depicting sex acts, and real-life images and videos depicting human genitalia or "female-presenting" nipples, would be banned from the service. Tumblr_sentence_57

Exceptions are provided for illustrations or art that depict nudity, nudity related to "political or newsworthy speech", and depictions of "female-presenting" nipples in relation to medical events such as childbirth, breastfeeding, mastectomy and gender reassignment surgery. Tumblr_sentence_58

The rules do not apply to text content. Tumblr_sentence_59

All posts in violation of the policy are hidden from public view, and repeat offenders may be reprimanded. Tumblr_sentence_60

Shortly prior to the announcement, Tumblr's Android app was patched to remove the ability to disable Safe Mode. Tumblr_sentence_61

The change has faced wide criticism among Tumblr's community; in particular, it has been argued that the service should have focused on other major issues (such as controlling hate speech or the number of porn-related spambots on the service), and that the service's adult community provided a platform for sex education, independent adult performers (especially those representing LGBT communities who feel that they are underrepresented by a heteronormative mainstream industry) seeking an outlet for their work, and those seeking a safe haven from "over-policed" platforms to share creative work with adult themes. Tumblr_sentence_62

Tumblr stated that it is using various algorithms to detect potential violations, in combination with manual reviews. Tumblr_sentence_63

Users quickly discovered a wide array of false positives. Tumblr_sentence_64

A large number of users scheduled protest actions on December 17th. Tumblr_sentence_65

On the day the ban took effect, Tumblr issued a new post clarifying the new policy, showcasing examples of adult images still allowed on the service, and stating that it "fully recognized" its "special obligation" to serving its LGBT userbase, and that "LGBTQ+ conversations, exploration of sexuality and gender, efforts to document the lives and challenges of those in the sex worker industry, and posts with pictures, videos, and GIFs of gender-confirmation surgery are all examples of content that is not only permitted on Tumblr but actively encouraged." Tumblr_sentence_66

Wired cited multiple potential factors in the ban, including that the presence of adult content made the service unappealing to potential advertisers, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (a U.S. federal law which makes websites liable for knowingly assisting or facilitating illegal sex trafficking), as well as heavy restrictions on adult content imposed by Apple for software offered on the iOS App Store (which similarly prompted several Reddit clients to heavily frustrate the ability for users to access forums on the site that contain adult content). Tumblr_sentence_67

Corporate affairs Tumblr_section_8

Tumblr's headquarters is at 770 Broadway in New York City. Tumblr_sentence_68

The company also maintains a support office in Richmond, Virginia. Tumblr_sentence_69

As of June 1, 2017, Tumblr had 411 employees. Tumblr_sentence_70

The company's logo is set in Bookman Old Style with some modifications. Tumblr_sentence_71

Funding Tumblr_section_9

As of 2011 Tumblr had received about $125 million of funding from investors. Tumblr_sentence_72

The company has raised funding from Union Square Ventures, Spark Capital, Martín Varsavsky, John Borthwick (Betaworks), Fred Seibert, Krum Capital, and Sequoia Capital (among other investors). Tumblr_sentence_73

In its first round of funding in October 2007, Tumblr raised $750,000 from Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. Tumblr_sentence_74

In December 2008 the company raised $4.5 million in Series B funding and a further $5 million in April 2010. Tumblr_sentence_75

In December 2010 Tumblr raised $30 million in Series D funding. Tumblr_sentence_76

The company had an $800 million valuation in August 2011. Tumblr_sentence_77

In September 2011 the company raised $85 million in a round of funding led by Greylock Partners and Insight Venture Partners. Tumblr_sentence_78

Revenue sources Tumblr_section_10

In an interview with Nicole Lapin of Bloomberg West on September 7, 2012, David Karp said the site was monetized by advertising. Tumblr_sentence_79

Their first advertising launch started in May 2012 after 16 experimental campaigns. Tumblr_sentence_80

Tumblr made $13 million in revenue in 2012 and hoped to make $100 million in 2013. Tumblr_sentence_81

Tumblr reportedly spent $25 million to fund operations in 2012. Tumblr_sentence_82

In 2013, Tumblr began allowing companies to pay to promote their own posts to a larger audience. Tumblr_sentence_83

Tumblr Head of Sales, Lee Brown, has quoted the average ad purchase on Tumblr to be nearly six figures. Tumblr_sentence_84

Tumblr also allows premium theme templates to be sold for use by blogs. Tumblr_sentence_85

In July 2016, advertisements were implemented by default across all blogs. Tumblr_sentence_86

Users may opt-out, and the service stated that a revenue sharing program would be implemented at a later date. Tumblr_sentence_87

Criticism Tumblr_section_11

Copyright issues Tumblr_section_12

Tumblr has received criticism for copyright violations by participating bloggers; however, Tumblr accepts Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notices. Tumblr_sentence_88

Tumblr's visual appeal has made it ideal for photoblogs that often include copyrighted works from others that are re-published without payment. Tumblr_sentence_89

Tumblr users can post unoriginal content by "Reblogging", a feature on Tumblr that allows users to re-post content taken from another blog onto their own blog with attribution. Tumblr_sentence_90

Security Tumblr_section_13

Tumblr has been forced to manage spam and security problems. Tumblr_sentence_91

For example, a chain letter scam in May 2011 affected 130,000 users. Tumblr_sentence_92

On December 3, 2012, Tumblr was attacked by a cross-site scripting worm deployed by the Internet troll group Gay Nigger Association of America. Tumblr_sentence_93

The message urged users to harm themselves and criticized blogging in general. Tumblr_sentence_94

User interface changes Tumblr_section_14

In 2015, Tumblr faced criticism by users for changes to its reblog mechanisms. Tumblr_sentence_95

In July 2015, the system was modified so that users cannot remove or edit individual comments by other users when reblogging a post; existing comments can only be removed all at once. Tumblr_sentence_96

Tumblr staff argued that the change was intended to combat "misattribution", though this move was met by criticism from ‘ask blogs’ and ‘RP blogs’, which often shortened long chains of reblogs between users to improve readability. Tumblr_sentence_97

In September 2015, Tumblr changed how threads of comments on reblogged posts are displayed; rather than a nested view with indentations for each post, all reblogs are now shown in a flat view, and user avatars were also added. Tumblr_sentence_98

The change was intended to improve the legibility of reblogs, especially on mobile platforms, and complements the inability to edit existing comments. Tumblr_sentence_99

Although some users had requested such a change to combat posts made illegible by extremely large numbers of comments on a reblogged post, the majority of users (even those who had requested such a change) criticized the new format. Tumblr_sentence_100

The Verge was also critical of the changes, noting that it was cleaner, but made the site lose its "nostalgic charm". Tumblr_sentence_101

Userbase behaviour Tumblr_section_15

While Tumblr's userbase has generally been received as accommodating people from a wide range of ideologies and identities, a common point of criticism is that attitudes from users on the site stifle discussion and discourse. Tumblr_sentence_102

In addition, several incidents involving serious behaviour from the userbase have been publicised in recent years; these include the ‘Independence Day raid’ in 2014, in which users of Tumblr attempted to raid 4chan, only for the raid to backfire when 4chan retaliated, as well as an incident in 2015, in which members of the Steven Universe fandom drove an artist to the point of attempting suicide over their artwork, in which they drew characters thin that are typically seen as being 'fat' in the show. Tumblr_sentence_103

In 2018, Kotaku reporter Gita Jackson described the site as a 'joyless black hole', citing how the website's design and functionality led to 'fandoms spinning out of control', as well as an environment which inhibited discussion and discourse. Tumblr_sentence_104

Promotion of self-harm and suicide Tumblr_section_16

In February 2012, Tumblr banned blogs that promote or advocate suicide, self-harm and eating disorders (pro-ana). Tumblr_sentence_105

The suicide of a British teenager, Tallulah Wilson, raised the issue of suicide and self-harm promotion on Tumblr as Wilson was reported to have maintained a self-harm blog on the site. Tumblr_sentence_106

A user on the site is reported to have sent Wilson an image of a noose accompanied by the message: "here is your new necklace, try it on." Tumblr_sentence_107

In response to the Wilson case, Maria Miller, the UK's minister for culture, media, and sport, said that social media sites like Tumblr need to remove "toxic" self-harm content. Tumblr_sentence_108

Searching terms like "depression", "anxiety", and "suicide" on Tumblr now brings up a PSA page directing the user to resources like the national suicide lifeline, and 7 Cups; as well as an option to continue to the search results. Tumblr_sentence_109

There are concerns of some Tumblr posts glorifying suicide and depression among young people. Tumblr_sentence_110

Politics Tumblr_section_17

In February 2018, BuzzFeed published a report claiming that Tumblr was utilized as a distribution channel for Russian agents to influence American voting habits during the 2016 presidential election. Tumblr_sentence_111

Despite policies forbidding hate speech, Tumblr has been noted for hosting content from Nazis and white supremacists. Tumblr_sentence_112

In May 2020, Tumblr announced that it will remove reblogs of terminated hate speech posts, specifically Nazi and white supremacist content. Tumblr_sentence_113

Censorship Tumblr_section_18

Several countries have blocked access to Tumblr because of pornography, religious extremism or LGBT content. Tumblr_sentence_114

These countries include China, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and Iran. Tumblr_sentence_115

In February 2016, the Indonesian government temporarily blocked access to Tumblr within the country because the site hosts pages that carried porn. Tumblr_sentence_116

The government shortly reversed its decision to block the site and said it had asked Tumblr to self-censor its pornographic content. Tumblr_sentence_117

Adult content ban Tumblr_section_19

In November 2018, Tumblr's iOS app was removed by Apple from its App Store after illegal child pornography images were found on the service. Tumblr_sentence_118

Tumblr stated that all images uploaded to the service are scanned against an industry database, but that a "routine audit" had revealed images that had not yet been added to the database. Tumblr_sentence_119

In the wake of the incident, a number of Tumblr blogs—particularly those dealing primarily in adult-tagged artwork such as erotica, as well as art study and anatomy resources—were also deleted, with affected users taking to other platforms (such as Twitter) to warn others and complain about the deletions, as well as encourage users to back up their blog's contents. Tumblr_sentence_120

Tumblr subsequently removed the ability to disable "Safe Mode" from its Android app, and announced a wider ban on explicit images of sex acts and nudity on the platform with certain limited exceptions. Tumblr_sentence_121

Tumblr decided to use an automatic content recognition system which resulted in many non-pornographic images being removed from the platform. Tumblr_sentence_122

Recognition Tumblr_section_20

In August 2010, Tumblr was named as a finalist in Lead411's New York City Hot 125. Tumblr_sentence_123

Notable users Tumblr_section_21

Celebrities who use Tumblr include Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Zooey Deschanel, John Mayer and Zayn. Tumblr_sentence_124

On October 21, 2011, Tumblr became the first blogging platform to host Barack Obama's blog. Tumblr_sentence_125

See also Tumblr_section_22


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumblr.