Today, a giant poster for THE EXPENDABLES 2 showed up on my dashboard, and my immediate thought was “I need to unfollow this person.” Except, of course, it’s not a person, and I can’t unfollow them. You know this already, because ”brands” is your new Tumblr advertising initiative where branded content is inserted into my main dashboard feed.
Let’s turn back the clock to May 21st, 2012 when you had a fireside chat with MG Seigler about the future of Tumblr. That’s only six weeks ago, but I know how foggy Internet memories can get past 24-hours so I’ll include an excerpt:
There’s the main column, which is content that you subscribed to, which is very precious to us. It’s very important for us to maintain that. What we’ve basically said is we’re not touching that.
Question: “Are you going to totally rule out the idea of putting more promoted content from not people that you follow in that main feed?”
I won’t rule it out. I will say it’s incredibly precious to us.
So I guess it took six weeks for you to give up on the idea of the main feed being incredibly precious and very important to maintain.
I know that it’s Tumblr’s prerogative to come up with whatever legal monetization schemes they want, and I know it’s important for Tumblr to come up with a business model that works. I use Tumblr on a daily basis, and it’s in my interest that it become an economically sustainable platform. Beyond that, I love that Lionsgate are forward thinking and have been working with Tumblr on marketing and advertising initiatives. I have a horse in that race, as Lionsgate are going to be releasing my film YOU’RE NEXT, and I’d love to see YOU’RE NEXT marketed on Tumblr.
That said, is it too much to ask for a consistent view on the ethics of incorporating advertising on the dashboard?
I’ll end with some more of your thoughts from the May 21st fireside chat, talking about Twitter’s approach to advertising inside the main feed:
It’s troubling when that American Express ad is injected into your feed, and you’re like “Get this out of here, this isn’t something that I’ve subscribed to, it’s a little bit offensive to see it inline.”
You were right. Seeing the ad for THE EXPENDABLES 2 injected into my Tumblr feed is troubling. I wanted to get it out of there, as it wasn’t something I subscribed to. And yes, it’s a little bit offensive to see it inline.
P.S. - To take the sting out of me attacking an aspect of your business model, I’m going to pay to highlight this post. So I guess my two cents are actually worth two bucks.