In what can only be called an exodus, WordPress’ co-founder Matt Mullenweg posted on his blog Sunday night that over 72,000 new blog posts were imported within a single hour. This is a massive spike considering that WordPress usually just sees 400 to 600 imported posts on most Sundays. It’s a tiny percentage of Tumblr’s 50.9B posts but it’s an important consideration that Tumblr – and now Yahoo – cannot ignore.
Yahoo is officially buying Tumblr for a lot of cash. $1.1 billion to be precise. This move makes a few people very happy and very rich. But Tumblr’s content creators – you and me – are the primary reason Yahoo is buying the site. Unfortunately, that content engine isn’t very happy.
WordPress will likely have another banner day as even more Tumblr users look for alternative platforms to host their saucy Brony slashfic.
Tumblr is currently an unfettered corner of the Internet. Nearly anything goes, and with that users have enjoyed this freedom to create a vast variety of blogs and sites. Anything from questionable pornography to vegan cooking blogs are hosted on Tumblr. While Yahoo promises to keep Tumblr independent, it’s unclear whether this includes maintaining Tumblr’s loose posting guidelines.
This has happened before. A small percentage of Instagram users loudly quit the service when Facebook purchased the social network. Likewise, Facebook is losing users as it becomes an established service. WordPress is likely going to be the largest benefactor of Tumblr’s exodus. As Mullenweg notes, the two services have long enjoyed a close relationship. It only takes a few clicks to import a Tumblr site to a WordPress install.
Tumblr users are afraid Yahoo is going to ruin it. After all, Yahoo has set that precedent after scooping up sites like Geocities and del.icio.us only to abandon development and let the sites rot in the Internet sun. But the Yahoo of today is not the Yahoo of yesterday.
Yahoo is booming under Marissa Mayer. The company is a on buying spree, scooping up hot startups, resulting in the acquisition of content, talent, and, press coverage. If anything, Wall Street likes what Yahoo is doing as the company’s stock price is up nearly 71% for the year. But despite Yahoo’s frank promise that it will not screw up Tumblr, a social network is only as strong as its users and in a very direct way, Yahoo is already screwing up Tumblr.