Yahoo! and Tumblr just officially announced their engagement to the world and they're already playing damage control. They're doing their best to calm your fears of Yahoo! digging its long, purple claws into Tumblr and ruining it forever. "I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr!" Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer announced this morning. "Everyone, I’m elated to tell you that Tumblr will be joining Yahoo," Tumblr CEO David Karp added on the Tumblr staff blog. It's official. They're together forever now.
Almost immediately after Yahoo!'s $1.1 billion cash deal to acquire Tumblr was first reported over the weekend, there was outcry. Tumblr users started screeching from every corner of the internet, in many different languages, in many different GIFs, about how they were scared Yahoo! would get its gross, old and purple all over Tumblr's young, shiny and blue physique. Mayer and Karp have heard your screams and they're promising they won't mess this up.
From the joint press release (emphasis all ours):
Per the agreement and our promise not to screw it up, Tumblr will be independently operated as a separate business. David Karp will remain CEO. The product, service and brand will continue to be defined and developed separately with the same Tumblr irreverence, wit, and commitment to empower creators.
From Marissa Mayer's personal note:
We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.
From David Karp's personal note:
Before touching on how awesome this is, let me try to allay any concerns: We’re not turning purple. Our headquarters isn’t moving. Our team isn’t changing. Our roadmap isn’t changing. And our mission – to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve – certainly isn’t changing.
So if you didn't quit get the message they're trying to stress: Yahoo! knows you're scared it will ruin Tumblr. That's why Karp is going to stay on for at least another four years, per the agreement, and run the company. Anytime the olds try and change Tumblr for the worst, he'll be there to stop it. Or at least take the blame. The turning purple fear was something we directly addressed yesterday, too.
Mayer is also really getting into the Tumblr spirit. She used this GIF to lead her announcement:
Perhaps the biggest sign that Tumblr won't change after the Yahoo! purchase is the way the new tech god billionaire, Tumblr's Karp, signed off his announcement. It's a pretty good sign Mayer's strict corporate policies haven't penetrated the Tumblr mind set yet. "Fuck yeah," Karp said.
Update 10:10 a.m.: Marissa Mayer just finished answering questions on a conference call with investors and journalists alike. Karp was at an "all team" meeting at Tumblr HQ so he couldn't join the call.
She spent a good portion of the call echoing the sentiments above. That Yahoo! will not change Tumblr very much at all. "We want to let Tumblr be Tumblr," she repeated. But that doesn't mean there won't be changes.
Mayer said Tumblr's maligned search function would likely get a Yahoo! powered overhaul. She also said they want to "introduce a very light ad load" to Tumblr's dashboard. They're also going to look at putting ads on select Tumblrs, but only with the blogger's permission. One reporter asked her about the unseemly side of Tumblr, the stuff that isn't "brand safe," like the the porn. Mayer isn't planning on getting rid of any of that. "The width and breadth of content on Tumblr is what's exciting and has allowed it to reach more users," she said. Yahoo! will use "targeting tools" to steer content away from those blogs and towards more brand and user-friendly content.
Ultimately Yahoo! plans for Tumblr to be a big part of their 2014 revenues but they aren't expecting this to make money right away. At one point someone asked if she was worried about monetization. She responded with a Social Network reference about not trying to make money when you don't know what you are yet. And that was that. There's a press event later in the afternoon where Karp and Mayer will both be present