Tumblr's only viable business model is posting crap

While Elon Musk struggles to get people to give Twitter $8 a month for a blue checkTumblr had an idea: what if they offered users $8 for not one but two blue checks?

Yes, you can legally buy two blue checks for your Tumblr blog. For the low, low price of $7.99. As Tumblr wrote in official post, “It’s cheaper than some other places considering you get not one but TWO bookmarks for your blog.”

If you keep paying Tumblr, you can get even more blue checks. Want 10 blue checks? That would be about $40.

Tumblr has struggled to monetize its entire existence. Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo (TechCrunch’s parent company) for $1 billion in 2013, but when it was sold back to Automattic in 2019, it was worth it only $3 million.

Tumblr’s success as a social media platform has been in even greater jeopardy ever since prohibited porn in 2018 to protect its presence on the App Store. Just in the last year, Automattic has tried to make Tumblr money through paid browsing without adsa subscription product and a tip jar, marking some of the first paid features for creators on the long-running blogging site. Yet despite the increase homesickness for Tumblr, the platform failed to significantly increase its user base from no pornwhen you lose 30% of web traffic.

Tumblr’s initial launch of the Post+ subscription was a a mess, as consumers worried about how the harsh reality of capitalism would change their fandom paradise. But Tumblr users have proven extremely willing to pay for two things: ad-free browsing and posting crap.

According to data from SensorTower, Tumblr’s mobile app has seen roughly $507,000 in user spending since April. This was the month Tumblr announced Blaze, a feature that allows users to promote their own posts. not by chance Blaze debuted on April 20 with price points ending at $4.20.

On a platform like Facebook, promoted posts are usually for businesses. On Tumblr, Blazed posts are usually used to get other people to witness your damn content.

Tumblr’s most popular in-app purchases (April to November 10, 2022). Image Credits: SensorTower

Since Blaze’s launch, Tumblr’s top five in-app purchases have been ad-free browsing (monthly and yearly), two price points for Blaze, and … crabs. Yes, crabs. In July Tumblr added feature that lets you send someone crabs that dance around their dashboard for a day, and the crabs have now generated more in-app purchases than Post+.

Tumblr’s paid push for Twitter verification has just launched, so we can’t say how profitable it will be yet. But if Tumblr’s history is any indication, it should be a financial hit, as Tumblr users seem to really want to buy things that are worthless.

According to analytics firm Similarweb, Tumblr hasn’t experienced a significantly growth in monthly visits globally on mobile and desktop after it launches creator monetization features in the summer of 2021. However, Tumblr is generating a bit more interest now that we live in a world where Elon Musk owns Twitter. Other alternative social networks also saw an influx of new users – Mastodon has almost doubled its user base so far this month.

Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic (the company that owns Tumblr), tweeted that downloads of the Tumblr app have increased by about 58% in the past week. This could be because Twitter now looks more like a hellish site than Tumblr under Musk’s ownership, or because Tumblr just changed its community guidelines. Tumblr now allows nudity, but not “visual depictions of overtly sexual acts.” Some netizens took this policy change to mean that pornography is making a comeback, but last time we checked, pornography generally falls under the category of “visual images of a sexually explicit act.”

If you’re looking to retire from Twitter as Elon Musk settles in as its new owner, I don’t want to break it to you: Tumblr might not be your salvation (unless you’re an ex-Superwholock fan whose new favorite book is Gideon the Ninth,” in which case you’re probably still on Tumblr). But to be fair, probably none of the Twitter alternatives floating around – no, not even Mastodon — will become the new Twitter.

Regardless, Tumblr already has something that Twitter doesn’t: two blue ticks.

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