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Yahoo CEO promises not to screw up Tumblr

Posting in Technology

Yahoo announced today it has agreed to buy microblogging site Tumblr in a $1.1 billion all-cash deal that will bring in a much younger audience and up the tech giant's cool quotient.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's main message to Tumblr's 300 million monthly unique visitors: we promise not to screw it up.

From Mayer:

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.

Karp issued similar reassurances.

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.

There appears to be some who are already worried. Matt Mullenwag, CEO of Wordpress parent company Automattic wrote in a post today that his service saw more than 72,000 imported posts from Tumblr in one hour on Sunday night, following reports of the acquisition. Normally, the site imports 400 to 600 posts an hour. However, Mullengwag has followed up on his initial comments to clarify that some people are reading too much into the import numbers and that he doesn't expect an exodus from Tumblr.

Mayer sees Tumblr benefiting from Yahoo's personalization technology and search infrastructure. In turn, Yahoo's media network and search experiences will be richer with Tumblr's 50 billion blog posts.

The combination of Tumblr and Yahoo could grow the tech giant's audience by 50 percent to more than a billion monthly visitors and could grow traffic by about 20 percent, Mayer wrote in a post announcing the deal.

Aside from letting Tumblr be Tumblr, Mayer is committed (and said so on a press call today) to monetizing the popular microblogging site. Mayer said she would bring Yahoo's newly launched streaming ads product to the site, reported VentureBeat.

Photo: Tumblr

— By on May 20, 2013, 2:56 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure