I just noticed today that Tumblr has started running ads in the sidebar of the Dashboard. This still is from an ad for the independent film BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. I hear the film is great, and you should go see it, but that’s not the point of this post…
Almost exactly two years ago, I tried to advertise my independent film THUNDER SOUL via a paid directory feature on Tumblr (the only Tumblr advertising option in 2010). I was told that I wasn’t allowed to advertise the film’s blog because the film’s blog didn’t have enough followers. Here was their response to my email query:
Hi, Keith. Before you can be eligible for a paid directory feature, your blog must attain a fairly large number of Followers on it [sic] own. Because we [sic] the number of Followers needed is subject to change and because we don’t want spammers to try to game the system, we do not publish a specific Followers number.
So, keep posting great stuff and gathering more Followers. Eventually, you should be eligible for a paid directory feature. Thanks for your patience.
This was my reply:
It’s unfortunate to hear this. It appears I do have a blog that has enough followers (720 for The Ultimate Productivity Blog), unfortunately that’s not a blog I have any interest in advertising. I have no interest in spamming or in “gaming the system.” I just want to pay money to Tumblr to promote my legitimate blog on a directory listing. This is particularly frustrating for tumblr blogs that are designed for specific independent films, where by the time we have the popularity and followers that you are looking for we probably wouldn’t be interested in purchasing a paid directory feature. Seems like a bit of a Catch 22.
I guess the trick was that I needed to wait two years and be a division of major corporate conglomerate News Corporation.
But seriously, I’m glad that Tumblr have found a way to start generating revenue. I just hope they also open their advertising system to independent voices that are trying to build awareness. It would be pretty crappy for an independent blogging system like Tumblr to only provide paid advertising opportunities to big brands.