Tumblr, the immensely popular but profitless blogging platform, just turned on its first set of paid “sponsor products” (Tumblr doesn’t like to call them “ads”). Even though the company resisted running ads on its network for a long time, it announced that it would launch this platform about two weeks ago at Ad Age’s Digital Conference in New York. For the most part, the new ads don’t intrude on Tumblr’s users blogs. Instead, the company is using its Radar and Spotlight features to highlight content from its advertisers/sponsors.
Tumblr Radar, the company says, gets about 120 million daily impressions. The feature is meant to showcase “the most creative and interesting media” on the Tumblr network and advertisers will “get a dedicated share of attention, with the opportunity to gain thousands of new followers, likes and reblogs.” Spotlight, says Tumblr, “drives tens of millions of follows each week.” Content from sponsors will now be “featured front-and-center” here.
Less than a month ago, Tumblr’s CEO David Karp still told AdAge that he would rather sell the company’s desks than put regular ads in the site. Instead, he said, Tumblr was more interested in finding ways to make some of its users attention available to brands.
It’s worth noting that Tumblr’s president John Maloney left the company yesterday. It’s unclear if his move had anything to do with today’s launch.