Global Economics

Behind the Garage with Playboy


Behind the Garage with Playboy

Photograph by Hugh Arnold/Gallery Stock

Tumblr’s terms of service are pretty clear: Sexual material is welcome. It just asks that such posts be tagged as NSFW, noting that its users include many people “from a variety of locations, cultures, and backgrounds with different points of view concerning adult-oriented content.” (And, presumably, some people who work in offices with open seating plans.) … Yahoo may have to tread carefully with suggestive content. There are reasons why Tumblr is popular with young people. Prudishness is not high on that list.
—Joshua Brustein, If Yahoo Buys Tumblr, What Will It Do with All That Porn?, Bloomberg Businessweek, May 17, 2013.

I blush. Well actually, no, I did not blush. In the three, count them, three times I have tried to set up, use and expand my Tumblr space…I have failed.

A) The site is charmingly clumsy and has stayed that way. It is purposeful in not being slick. I have no idea where this goes after the first Marissa tantrum. The new Yahoo Weather is a use-every-morning app and is the polar extreme to everything I have seen, done and heard about Tumblr.

B) Tumblr is not Twitter. I am not an expert here, but Twitter has audiences, plural. Tumbler has a single cohort stereotyped as earnest Brooklynites wearing plaid shirts earnestly crafting earnest poetry. They eat 999 artisanal calories a day. (I understand this is unfair but carries an earnest and too-close truth.)

C) The porn. Once, twice, three times I have swung and missed at Tumblr. I can give you near-10 reasons. None of them matter. Joshua Brustein nails the absurdity, the desperation, the greater-fool sense of this transaction in trying to describe the “porn” that has kept Tumblr afloat. You want Bloomberg Surveillance associated with that?

This will be interesting.

A supposed $1,000,000,000+ for Tumblr to cash in, make good to deserved partners, and go up against Twitter and Facebook.

A supposed “first move” for Team Mayer to… Well, that’s the point. I have no clue what they will do.

My guess is Yumblr! will lose the porn in the first instance. Planet Tumblr will be forced to watch reruns of Game of Thrones or head outback, behind the garage with Playboy. Discuss.

Keene hosts Bloomberg Surveillance 7-10 a.m. ET on 1130 AM in the New York metro area and nationally on SiriusXM 113.

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