Though there have been some reports of flattening Tumblr traffic following its acquisition by Yahoo, the platform today hosts close to 200 million blogs, which are updated over 94 million times per day. Among these bloggers is a smaller group of “power users” who have always looked for a bit more functionality than what Tumblr offers out-of-the-box.
For 24-year old web developer Atesh Yurdakul – now better known as just “the XKit guy” – his issue with Missing E was not Tumblr’s distaste for it, but its own missing options and settings.
“It didn’t have all the features I wanted, such as XPreview…and several other tweaks I wanted,” he says, referring to a notification preview option, which was not available at the time. “So I started writing small userscripts.”
XKit emerged from those userscripts around three years ago, when Yurdakul realized that he could compile all the scripts into a single extension, while also replicating some of Missing E’s functions so as not to have to run two extensions.
Over the years, the XKit’s user base has slowly grown, and now has around half a million users, Yurdakul now estimates. Most of these users (65-70 percebt) are from the U.S. and Canada, though he himself is based in Istanbul.
The XKit software itself is open source, and Yurdakul only asks for donations. Those vary wildly with some months seeing less than $200 coming in, while other months see $1,000. However, for Yurdakul, who learned to code from his dad when he was around 10 years old, building XKit seems to be more of a labor of love, rather than an attempt to earn a living.
He also works part time at a software company, he tells us, while attending university.
With the new XKit iOS application, Yudakul may soon have another avenue for generating revenue, however. The new app won’t include in-app purchases or ads, but it does cost $1.99 to download.
XKit For iOS
As with XKit on the web, the native app offers a full Tumblr client with a good number of features that the official Tumblr app doesn’t have, including the ability to Mute, Blacklist, reply to Notifications, and more.
It also offers “Smart Safe Dash,” which blocks pictures from known NSFW blogs as well as a “Safe Dash” feature which hides all photos until you tap on them.
This is helpful because even though there seems to be a limit to the tags and blogs you can query on mobile, there are still ways to see adult content – like by going to a blog by name and following it, or by going to a sometimes ‘softcore’ tag like #selfshots, for example. And accidentally pulling up this content while in public, of course, could be embarrassing.
At the bottom of the XKit app, you can navigate between your Dashboard, Inbox, New Post view, Notifications and “Other” tab, which is where you can view more blogs, explore tags, manage your blacklist and muted users, change themes, and adjust a variety of options.
Meanwhile, XKit for iOS also offers its own customized reblog window, where you can write, remove or append a caption to a post. You also do things like change the quality of your rich media uploads from the new post screen, block blogs, disable GIFs, and much more.
The end result, for regular Tumblr users, is a much more powerful application.
Today, “the XKit guy” has a good-sized fandom on Tumblr which may be why Tumblr has left him alone for now. How Yahoo/Tumblr will respond to him further encroaching on its mobile turf with this new app, however, remains to be seen.
Yurdakul says it’s too soon to talk numbers for the new XKit mobile app since it only launched a couple of days ago. But his personal blog post about it already attracted nearly 27,000 likes on Tumblr to give you an idea.