a competitive edge

Tumblr stays ad free and breaks out in hipness as Twitter ages

Tumblr stays ad free and breaks out in hipness as Twitter ages

If you're on the internet, you've probably visited a Tumblr site lately, whether it was Texts From Hillary, Beyoncé's vacation photos or Corgi Addict. But what you won't find on Tumblr — at least not yet — is ads.

Tumblr is a prime example of how a blogging community can survive without traditional advertising. The microblogging platform and social media website receives an average of 4.5 billion hits a week, with a collection of 50 million blogs producing 20 billion posts.

With all the hype surrounding social media platforms as the latest free marketing tools, brands have turned to Google ads and Twitter's promoted tweets and trends for promotion and search engine optimization. But Tumblr CEO and founder David Karp is deliberately avoiding those types of revenue streams, instead continuing to focus on users first and foremost.

Karp says that he never had brands in mind to utilize Tumblr, but digital marketers are thinking otherwise, with companies and media platforms from The New Yorker to IBM utilizing the platform. Tumblr also recently inked a deal with Spotify, potentially adding an additional music component to the site.

"You look in fashion, creative writing, photography, music, so many of these creative circles,” Karp said at the opening of the company's new office, “and we have these really substantial communities that now live on Tumblr."

Aside from the initial introduction of highlighted posts selling for $1, and purchasing and selling themes, Karp plans to add "a set of nuanced creative tools for users" for visibility and social content. The goal of the new tools is to feature breaking news and not to be taken advantage of by brands who are hungry for promotion.