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Yahoo will pack Tumblr with ads, starting with the dashboard

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Marissa Mayer was crystal clear on speaking about her motives for buying out Tumblr – advertising, advertising, advertising. Be it a long time coming, or Mayer’s influence, Tumblr is prepping to on-load a lot more advertising.

Tumblr is reportedly starting to test in-stream ads according to the company’s ad sales pitch deck leaked to Business Insider after the acquisition announcement. Tumblr is courting beta launch partners and offering prime real estate on both its user’s dashboard and Tumblr’s Radar for a pretty penny – $200,000, to ballpark the figure.

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What this means is that these “native” ads – ads that look like any other user-generated post – will show up on the news feed-like page called the dashboard that shows you what your friends and the people you’re following are publishing. It’s a move that Tumblr has avoided for the most part, instead relegating ads to areas off to the side called the “Radar” and “Spotlight.” But those ads are easy to ignore.

Tumblr has made no secret of its attempts to monetize its platform. For a company with $125 million in funding on an $800 million valuation, it raked in a paltry $13 million in revenue by the end of 2012. As we all know now, however, Tumblr found a buyer. With Yahoo’s hands on the hip network, you can’t be surprised that the company intends on packing Tumblr with ads. In fact, not only will the new in-stream ads be rolled out but Mayer has plans to work with bloggers to put up ads on their site as well.

Tumblr has more than 300 million monthly unique visitors, although that figure is debatable since the pitch deck notes 225 million monthly unique. 24 billion minutes are spent on the site per month, with 120,000 new signups daily. These are stats that advertisers have reportedly been salivating over and eager to promote their content for a hefty price. So what is it that these beta testing advertisers would be getting for $200,000?

The leaked ad sales pitch deck says that advertisers would get 10 desktop Radar posts between May 21 and June 21 and each post stays up there for a full 24 hours. And of course at the same time, these beta advertisers will be the first to test out the in-stream posts for 21 days between June 1 and June 21. These ads aren’t targeted, by the way.

Tumblr has committed itself to keeping itself devoid of banner ads at the expense of rather minimal ad revenue generated from its existing ad products, unlike social networks like Facebook. But regardless, promising not to screw it up, Yahoo is confident that Tumblr will turn a profit by 2014.

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Hate it or love it, Tumblr’s in-stream ads are a go, and the first partnership hitting the site is between the platform and ... Denny’s. 
Yahoo needs to turn a profit now that Tumblr is under the watchful eye of Marissa Mayer and Yahoo, which paid $1.1 billion for its network of creative, young users and their surplus of "cool" content. Yahoo's is certainly trying to evolve it's image, although launching in-stream ads with Denny's feels like an odd choice. 
The Denny's ads, and the rest like it, are now going to show up on the dashboard. Not only will posts from your friends be showing up, so will these new native ads – ads that look like they belong with the rest of the posts on the platform – from brands like AT&T, ABC, Ford, GE, Pepsi, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. If you’re following a brand, how can you tell that you’re looking at an ad? You’ll see a dollar sign ($) at the top right-hand corner of the post.

In 2012, Tumblr brought in $13 million in revenue, which might sound like a big number, but it's respectively low. Tumblr's advertising products, “Radar” and “Spotlight," weren't enough to draw in the big bucks, as it turns out. They were more subtle than the new native in-stream ads are, but the attempt is to try and give these advertisements more eyeballs while also making them fit into the Tumblrsphere.
Despite the attempts to maintain harmony, Tumblrers are reacted as you probably assume they are: Badly. The many users who have been enjoying the freedom of ad-free browsing in their dashboards don't have many nice things to say about the change to their dashboards. 

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Hey Yahoo, here are a few hints about what Tumblr users want, as written by Tumblr users

It’s been mere days since Yahoo officially announced its acquisition of Internet’s beloved Tumblr, and already concerned netizens are dishing out not-so-optimistic reactions to the billion-dollar deal. It’s over, people ... Tumblr is now Yahoo’s newest toy. Doubt it all you want – there’s nothing we can do about it.  No wait, there is! There may be a bit of hope left for those worried about Tumblr’s future, and it’s been used in haste to create a Tumblr suggestion box.
Created by Tumblr aficionado Andrew Stichbury, HowTheyCouldImprove is basically one avid user’s opinion on what needs improving when it comes to his favorite social media site’s functionality. “I love Tumblr, it's an excellent concept, presented in a minimalist approach with amazing results,” Stichbury explains in his blog’s disclaimer. “But I often find myself curious as to why it is I often need or want features that should just be there.” 
Stichbury’s blog is currently only four pages long, but with the recent Yahoo-Tumblr merge, his suggestions may play an important part in maintaining (if not improving) Tumblr’s existing cool-kid-on-the-social-media-block status. Here are some of his more basic propositions:

Simple HTML formatting for Tumblr description
Fixed sidebar on Tumblr dashboard
Moderator privileges for non-admin group blog members
Ability to switch between Tumblr profiles when asking a question
Quick edit option for Tumblr profile photo
Infinite scroll plus page number, so you can hit backspace to land on the page you were just on. 

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All your most pressing Yumblr buy-out questions answered, Tumblr style
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Do you hear it? Do you hear that sound? Those are the deafening screams of rebloggers mourning the loss of their beloved Tumblr. Yes, the reactions might be premature, but you can't blame Tumblrers for their grief: The platform has been something of an island for misfit toys in contrast to the massive, all-purpose networks of Facebook and Twitter.
Tumblr is the back alley to Facebook's popular kids' cafeteria table.
It is the Ally Sheedy to Twitter's Molly Ringwald.
At least it was. Now Tumblr is owned by Yahoo, a company with a reputation thick with missteps and a lack of interest in the deepest, darkest pockets of the Web. So is play time over? Did the adults realize we were having a raging house party and come to stop all our fun? Not necessarily. As with every deal like this, there are pros and there are cons; Yahoo's resources mean that the dreaded Tumblr downtime and glitches (something that plagues us users) could be a thing of the past. And the team will have far more dollars and devs at its disposal.
But you know all that by now - you're not new here! You, dear netizen, have been on the M&A merry-go-round before! So instead of your run-of-the-mill pros and cons list, why don't we just dive in and answer the most pressing questions about how Yahoo is going to ruin or not ruin Tumblr?
Is Yahoo going to ruin Tumblr's underbelly (the Tumblrbelly, if you will)?
It's no secret that Tumblr isn't your average social network. It's a blogging platform that found its footing in encouraging creation over comments. It's home to much of the Internet's weirdest places; places that are essentially inside jokes between the writers and readers - it's a community made of communities made of communities. There are infinite ring-arounds here and it's pointless to try and explain or categorize the many things Tumblr is and is home to. So I won't.
But there exists a darker side to Tumblr, admist the reaction GIF and Brony blogs - and that's straight up porn. Turns out there's a lot of it: According to a TechCrunch article, 16.6 percent of Tumbl's traffic leads back to NSFW blogs and 8.02 percent of outbound traffic is from adult websites. You can bring up the "what is porn and what is art?" argument if you want, but I think a company that until very recently had an exclamation point and smiley face associated with its logo is going to think something like (warning: very NSFW) this is porn.

Thankfully this made it past the filter - and so it shall remain.
Still, Yahoo says it won't be restricting this content. "We don't intend to [censor]. Almost all user-generated content services have issues with adult content," Mayer said at today's press event. "Tumblr has less of that than any of its peers. We will continue to use the NSFW tool Tumblr already has so users who aren't looking for it won't stumble onto it."
Of course if there's a site with users that love to post pictures that ride the very thin line between art and porn, it's Tumblr. What makes it past the NSFW feature is surprising (warning: this apparently is SFW but ... it's not, OK?).
The hypothetical problem surfaces with ads - Yahoo will need to make sure it isn't placing brands ads next to porn, a technical issues that a company like Yahoo is more than capable of handling. And on the subject of ads, Mayer explained that through the partnership, the two companies want to increase ad engagement without "disrupting" the user experience.
If you want to cut through the pacifying speech a little, that means that - yes, there are absolutely going to be more ads. But consider the fact that Tumblr was doing this anyway, putting lots of time and energy into its ad monetization platform, so the inevitable is happening. It's happening sooner and with input from an outside source, but given that Mayer comes from an ad-targeting background with a little company called Google, you might feel more confident in how this will all play out. Or maybe you feel worse ... I don't know your life.
The dashboard, which already has ads, will probably have more - but they probably won't look all that different. Blogs that are seeing a lot of traffic might be approached to run ads, although this won't happen without the creator's permission.
What about fandom, free speech, and copyright?
If for some crazy reason you thought that the Yahoo buyout meant that all the quirky-to-mind-baffling fandom pockets of Tumblr we're going to be wiped away ... then you are an adorable, adorable simpleton. Did you know that gullible is written on the ceiling?
Did you look?! Oh man, you so did!
Now that I'm done being a huge jerk, here's the deal: Yahoo isn't going to play fun police and go digging into Tumblr to find all the weird Tumblelogs that wouldn't fit in anywhere else on the Internet. Your Garfield Minus Garfields, your Supernatural erotica, your Law & Order & Food ... they are safe from the judgy eyes of old guys at Yahoo. I know what you're picturing. It's this:

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