Yahoo Acquires Tumblr, XXX Accounts to Stay

May 20, 2013 11:45 AM PST

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Yahoo announced its $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr, the social networking blogging behemoth noted for its creative base and risque content.

Amid fears of a corporate sweep-up, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer publicly assured site users that Yahoo plans to “let Tumblr be Tumblr”; and yes, that means the XXX accounts get to stay.

Mayer implied that the “brand safe” ethos of Yahoo would not extend to the less inhibited blogger platform that hosts explicit Tumblrs like "Red Hot Porn," "Porn and Weed" and "Secretary Sex" and features a pornographic site as one of its top 20 blogs.

"I think the richness and breadth of content available on Tumblr — even though it may not be as brand safe as what's on our site — is what's really exciting and allows us to reach even more users," Mayer said.

"One of the ways to start measuring our growth story here is around traffic and users and this obviously produces a lot of that,” she continued. “In terms of how to address advertisers' concerns around brand safety, we need to have good tools for targeting."

Tumblr founder David Karp said last June that 2-4 percent of Tumblr traffic is porn-related.

Tumblr’s community guidelines are simple and nonrestrictive, stating, “If you regularly post sexual or adult-oriented content, respect the choices of people in our community who would rather not see such content by flagging your blog as "not suitable for work" (NSFW). This action does not prevent you and your readers from using any of Tumblr's social features, but rather allows Tumblr users who don't want to see NSFW content to avoid seeing it.”

Despite Mayer’s reassurances to preserve Tumblr’s current community, many Tumblr users remain wary. Inflammatory memes featuring Mayer and Karp have been circulating over the weekend.

“Yahoo can’t be that stupid,” theelitehuntingclub posted. “Take away your porn and you just destroyed a good investment.”

However, Tumblr’s limited profits may have been the driving force to make a deal with Yahoo, Bloomberg reported. In 2012, Tumblr made only $13 million in revenue.  

“We’re not turning purple,” Karp wrote in his blog, defending the acquisition.

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