In 2010 Tumblr CEO David Karp told the Los Angeles Times that his company was “pretty opposed to advertising. It really turns our stomachs.”
Fast forward to 2012 and a system that receives more than four and a half billion pageviews per week and that stomach turning attitude seems to have disappeared. Speaking at the Ad Age Digital Conference this week Karp announced that Tumblr would start to serve ads through the company’s “Featured” section of Tumblr’s dashboard. While that section receives only a small fraction of Tumblr’s overall reach (120,000 impressions per day) it still signals that the company is moving to a more open business strategy.
Advertisers will be able to pay for space beginning May 2.
The announcement comes just a few short months after Tumblr announced “highlighted posts” which allows users to pay $1 to receive more visibility for their work.
Tumblr now operates more than 52 million Tumblr blogs which have churned out more than 21 billion posts.
In the meantime the company doesn’t yet have any plans to create a full advertising network on their system that would allow Tumblr to capitalize on the billions of pageviews it receives. It’s possible however that in the future the company could create a system much like Google Adsense which in turn would allow users to place Tumblr ad network code on their Tumblr accounts and earn money for their work while Tumblr takes a cut of the profits. As Karp explains:
“We have about 4.5 billion impressions a week. There’s value in that to advertisers…”