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February 23, 2011

Tumblr Debuts Curation Feature For Post Tagging

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Tumbler Explore Page TinyTumblr wants bloggers to tag their posts, while giving users the ability to find those tags in an easy to navigate setup, that’s why today they announced their new Explore Page.

The page uses a writers tags to show posts in a more “democratic” method, literally any tag can appear on the company’s explore page, bringing more readers to a bloggers Tumblr pages. The tags are met with images for those tags which provides a nice Web 2.0 appearance.

Tumblr visitors will also see the “Tumblr Wire” at the top of the page which shows the top tagged topics.

For users looking for constant information on a certain Tag they can also setup alerts via their Dashboard which means a YouTube news blogger would do well to always use the YouTube tag in their posts to reach their core audience.

The tagged feature only helps users already inside the Tumblr community of course Tags help with SEO so if you aren’t using them already you should be.

Now if we could just get Tumblr to add top posts to their front page, rather than providing a simple “Sign Up” option perhaps the site could bring in more traffic for people looking for top curated posts from the popular blogging platform. read more

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January 29, 2011

Tumblr Explains Growing Pains

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After suffering massive downtime in December due to their immense growth, the engineers at Tumblr have posted explanation in order to help fend off critics regarding the platform’s stability.

As we break through our past bottlenecks, we are simultaneously faced with growth like we’ve never seen before. Our challenge is not only to support the current audience of 55 million, but to getahead of more than 250,000,000 new pageviews each week. […]

This morning we suffered an outage for nearly an hour starting at about 7am EST. The proxy server that handles the vast majority of incoming requests failed, and its automatic backup also failed because of an unrelated networking issue. It took us longer than hoped to correct the multiple causes, but we’ve put systems into place to make sure that even another double failure won’t cause an outage like this in the future. (Tumblr Staff Blog)

Note: Emphasis theirs.

Tumblr has faced some sharp criticism within the blogosphere, especially after one of the founders sent a cold reply to a tech blogger who was outraged regarding the services less than stellar uptime record.

While Tumblr’s growth has been nothing short of impressive, hopefully the company can find a way to stabilize their servers, as they are one of the few blogging platforms that seems to be gaining popularity amongst the youth.

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January 28, 2011

Guess Which Smartphones Tumblr Favors?

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The Tumblr team has recently revamped the mobile layout for their micro blogging social network which should please users boasting one of two smartphones.

The new layout makes it easier for users viewing their Tumblr blog upon an iOS or Android device to not only create content, but also easily alter settings within their dashboards.

While Tumblr is also planning on making their blogs viewable for Blackberry fans, the company doesn’t seem to have an immediate interest in making their sites mobile friendly for users carrying Windows Phone 7, Nokia or even webOS devices.

The lack of interest beyond Blackberry, iOS and Android could also signal that the startup has no immediate plans to introduce native apps upon other smartphones, leaving the task to third party developers to fill in the gap (often at a premium).

Although its understandable why Tumblr isn’t committing to other platforms (as they are busy trying to keep their servers up in response to their tremendous growth), hopefully the company will in the future consider taking an agnostic approach to smartphones, something their rival WordPress has done.

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December 27, 2010

Who’s Stealing Tumblr’s Name On Windows Phone 7?

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Although Tumblr does have official apps upon Blackberry, iPhone and Android, they have yet to release an official app for Windows Phone 7.

Unfortunately it looks like a third party developer (by the name of “sefirot”) has decided to cash in on Tumblr’s lack of official presence by naming their app after the micro blogging site.

Although technically the app is called “Tumblr.” (with a period at the end), it’s doubtful that Tumblr’s lawyers are going to let the app pass unchallenged lest users confuse it for the official app (which can easily damage Tumblr’s brand).

While Tumblr doesn’t seem to mind third party developers utilizing their name within an app (which Ad Astra Consulting did with WPTumblr), it is doubtful that they will be thrilled with the idea of someone using their corporate name which is trademarked.

Ironically something similar happened to Twitter last year (although the company quickly changed the name to TwitterKiss later on) and I would not be surprised if Tumblr’s lawyers contact Microsoft in order to have the app removed or renamed before the year is out.

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December 22, 2010

Promoted Blogs For Tumblr: Good Idea Or Bad Idea?

TumblrDespite receiving a large amount of investment funds, media attention and massive traffic (which resulted in a major outage earlier), Tumblr has for the most part focused on growth rather than formulating a business plan.

However after a Tumblr employee revealed the companies plans on helping users find relevant sites, some are wondering whether the company will consider advertising via promoted blogs (sort of like Twitter’s promoted tweets) in order to help bring in more revenue for the micro blogging platform.

This is pretty cool in and of itself, but something tells us this might be the start of a new advertising play from Tumblr. After all, the Tumblr blogs that are highlighted in these channels are going to get a slew of new followers. And the companies that are increasingly starting Tumblr blogs to market themselves want to get more followers for their Tumblr blogs. So it would make sense for Tumblr to sell some spots in these channels (with all disclosures, of course). (Business Insider)

Even though this idea would help the micro blogging site bring in some revenue (among other ideas), truth be told Tumblr has for the most part avoided advertising of any kind (although users can insert their own ads upon their sites for free).

Currently Tumblr makes most of its revenue through selling premium themes as well as for listings within its blog directory, although the latter users can obtain for free if their sites become popular enough.

While the idea of promoted blogs probably makes sense on paper, it’s still unclear how users would react to marketers attempting to “invade their space” (which could result in a backlash from users).

Either way hopefully the company can find a way to generate some revenue in the not-to-distant future, especially since Tumblr may be one of the few platforms that can actually combat the decline of blogging as a whole.

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December 18, 2010

Tumblr Catching Up To WordPress.com

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After dethroning Typepad in order to secure the bronze, it looks like Tumblr rise continues unabated as the company has revealed just how large the Tumblr universe is.

This has been an incredible year for Tumblr. What started as a fun experiment has grown into one of the largest networks on the web, serving billions of views across more than 11 million blogs.

It’s an unparalleled privilege to spend every single day building a product used by so many extraordinarily talented people. We are constantly in awe of your creations and projects, your communities and thoughtfulness. Every person on our team has been moved by this community in one way or another.

Nonetheless, all of this new attention has led to some serious growing pains over the last few months. (Tumblr Staff Blog)

Tumblr’s fast growth has come at a painful price, as the site was previously down for over 24 hours after the team attempted to update their servers in order to deal with the extraordinary growth of the site.

Tumblr’s 11 million blogs puts them within striking distance of WordPress.com, who currently boasts over 15 million blogs (although if include self hosted blogs that number balloons to over 32 million).

As far as traffic goes, WordPress.com is destroying Tumblr according to Compete.com and Quantcast, which may indicate that WP.com is much better at SEO than its micro-blogging rival.

While Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com) assimilation of Windows Live Spaces should help put some distance between the two platforms, 2011 could be the year in which Tumblr jolts ahead of WP.com (at least as far as the number of blogs go).

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December 7, 2010

Tumblr Returns After 24 Hours Of Downtime

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TumblrIn the movie The Social Network Jessie Eisenberg, starring as Facebook CEO/Founder Mark Zuckerberg discovers that his business partner Eduardo Saverin has taken all the money from their business account, Mark becomes angry when he realizes that server payments could be missed, resulting in site downtime, which leads Mark to explain to Eduardo that Facebook is the site that “Never” goes down and that their users expect that type of service. I bring that scene up because the Tumblr team must be kicking themselves after just coming back online from a 24 hour downtime hiatus caused by server issues.

While the exact cause of the issue which occurred during a scheduled maintenance period has not been released, Tumblr team members have mentioned “database cluster issues” as a culprit.

Tumblr does appear to be taking everything in stride, mentioning that downtime is an issue that startups have to deal with when working on a shoestring budget with a small team of tech minded individuals. According to their blog, the upgrade was “more work than our small team was prepared for.” read more

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December 6, 2010

3 Things To Do When Tumblr Resurrects Tumblr

As many of you are very aware of, Tumblr (the micro-blogging platform that put the fear of reblogging into Typepad, WordPress and LiveJournal) has been down for almost 20 hours.

The company has thus far suffered one of the worst outages in social blogging history, worse than most (if not all) of the fail whales that plagued Twitter back in the day.

While Tumblr will eventually resurrect the site back from the brink (as they have plenty of cash to hire extraordinarily engineers and purchase more servers), here are a five things users can do when Tumblr resurrects Tumblr. read more

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November 23, 2010

Need To Tumble On Windows Phone 7? There’s An App For That!

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It looks like Tumblr fans upon Windows Phone 7 have another reason to rejoice as a third party company has created an unofficial app for Microsoft’s latest smartphone.

Simply titled WPTumblr, the app was created by Ad Astra Consulting which allows users to reblog, like and catch up on Tumblr blogs that you subscribe to (aka follow).

Thus far the Windows Phone 7 app supports all 7 Tumblr formats and allows users to upload images, although unlike the official Android, iPhone and Blackberry brethren, Ad Astra’s app does suffer from one critical flaw.

New Post Page screen capture.  WPTumblr supports all seven native post types.  Currently you can only submit music/videos via URL since the WP7 framework doesn’t allow direct access to your music or video libraries. (Official WPTumblr Blog)

Ironically this limitation may convince Tumblr (the company) to wait until Windows Phone 7 matures a little bit before creating an official app (as all of Tumblr’s official mobile apps support video uploading).

Currently Ad Astra Consulting is selling WPTumblr for $0.99 within the Windows Phone Marketplace, and as far as I can tell they are the first company to launch a blogging platform for WP7 (note: WordPress is rumored to be working on an app for the platform as well).

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November 12, 2010

Tumblr Raises Secret War Chest

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Unlike Squarespace who was very upfront regarding how much cash they were able to raise from investors, the micro blogging company is being rather quiet regarding the size of their latest investment.

Tumblr has raised a “very big and competitive” round of financing from top Silicon Valley VC firm Sequoia Capital, we’ve learned. […]

The NYC-based blogging startup’s founder David Karp and president John Maloney went out to the Valley looking for money last month, and it sounds like they came back winners. (Business Insider)

Despite lacking a strong business model (outside of premium themes and listings that is), Tumblr’s interest from investors is probably due to the micro blogging site’s skyrocketing rise (at the expense of Typepad nonetheless).

The company also boasts a high retention rate for users (up to 80%), with the site is quickly gaining the attention of celebrities, one who (more or less) ditched Twitter and asked his followers to embrace Tumblr instead.

Tumblr thus far has declined to publicly disclose the size of the investment (although we will update the post if we hear any figures), although whatever the figure it should be enough to keep the lights on long enough for the company to figure out a way to become profitable in the not so distant future.

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