The Tumblr community often calls itself the Wild West of the Internet, and that’s not wrong. A text post with over 70,000 notes says it’s best: “Tumblr is my favorite social media site because the place is literally deserted for celebrities. There is no verification system, no algorithm to speed up their posts, it is a completely legal waste for them. “

But like any social media company, Tumblr needs to keep itself afloat to keep its users sharing the exclusive fan art, inaccessible sheetposts, and overly personal diaries hidden under the “read more” button. Yesterday, Tumblr announced a limited beta test of its Post + subscription feature, which – if all goes according to plan – will eventually allow Tumblr users to post passable content to customers who pay 99 3.99, $ 5.99 or 99.99 per month.

Image Credits: Tumblr

Tumblr is far from the first social media platform to generate revenue this way – Twitter is bringing a super follow and tip jar feature, and this week, YouTube also announced a tipping feature. Instagram is also working on its own version of Twitter’s SuperFollow that allows users to create “exclusive stories”. But on a website with a community that prides itself on being a “complete lawless trash can” for anyone with a platform (for Will Wheaton and Neil Gaiman, who just does vibe), the move toward paid content is not welcomed with open arms. .

Monetization is a double-edged sword. No Tumblr artist is considered unfit to link to a third-party patron or co-fi site on their blog, where their most enthusiastic followers can access Pavil’s content or send them tips. So Post + Tumblr seems like a clear way to generate revenue – instead of directing followers to other websites, they can create a way for fans to support creators on their own platform while taking a 5% cut. This is not unreasonable, given that Twitter will charge 3% of revenue from its new monetization tools, while video-centric platforms such as YouTube and Twitch will charge 30% and 50%, respectively. But Tumblr is not Twitter, or YouTube or Twitch. Unlike other platforms, Tumblr does not allow you to view other people’s follower counts, and cannot verify any accounts. It’s not easy to tell if the person behind the popular post has 100 followers or 100,000 followers and users like it that way. But Post + changes, giving bloggers an icon next to their username that looks like Twitter Blue Check.

A Tumblr post + creator profile

Tumblr this week sent Post + to a select group of hand-picked creators, including Caiju, a writer and astrophysicist. The platform announces Post + on a specific new blog for this product instead of its established staff blog, which users know to check for big announcements. So, as the most public user given public access, the 24-year-old blogger was the target of a violent crackdown on angry tumblrits who did not want to turn their favorite social media site into a hypercapitalist hell. When Caijujuno received death threats for the beta test post +, Tumblr employees intervened and condemned the harassment against Post + users.

“We want to hear what you like, what you want and what concerns you. Even if it’s not very nice. Let us know Tumblr has written on his staff blog. “We will never accept the targeted harassment and threats that these creators endure from these creators. […] What they are doing is investigating a feature. “

Prior to creating their post, a representative of Tumblr’s staff reached out directly to Caijo to investigate the answers behind it, but Tumblr could only do so after the user had already been threatened to use their product.

“I felt like a victim, because they didn’t announce the post and only gave it to a few people. When I was just trying to pay for medical, I landed in the crosshairs of the user base. Bill giving people the option to pay for stuff,” Said. “I knew there would be a bit of a reaction because users hate any kind of change in Tumblr, but I thought the backlash would be on the staff, and the beta testers would be saved from most of it.”

Why do Tumblr users view monetization as such a threat? There is no question as to whether it is worthwhile to support the creators, but rather, if Tumblr is able to host such a service. Multiple long-term, enthusiastic Tumblr users who spoke to TechCrunch referred to an incident in late 2020 when people’s blogs were being hacked by spam bots that posted relentless ads for the Ray-Ban Ban Summer Sale.

“Tumblr is not the best coded website. Facilities are easy to break down, ”Caijuno added. “I think trusting Tumblr with your financial information would have gotten any response.”

Tumblr users were also concerned about the effects on Post + ‘s privacy – in limited beta, Post + users only have the ability to block people who subscribe to their blog from contacting Tumblr support. In cases of harassment by a subscriber, this can weaken the blogger in a potentially dangerous situation.

A spokesman for Tumblr told TechCrunch that this fall, our U.S. Next to our launch for all based creators, Post + will allow creators to block subscribers directly.

Yet, Extremely Genline General Z-Irs, which now owns 48% of Tumblr, knows that the platform will not be able to survive if it does not raise enough money to pay for its staff and server fees. In 2018, Tumblr lost about a third of its monthly pageviews after all NSFW content was banned – since then, the platform’s monthly traffic has remained relatively stable.

Image Credits: Similar web

A former Tumblr employee told TechCrunch that the facility + which has become a post has started as a tip jar. But the high-ups in Tumblr – which don’t work directly with the community – redirected the project to create a paved subscription product.

“I think the tip jar will be greatly improved,” said the creator behind the Tumblr blog general-horoscope. Developed on Tumblr by the main audience, they make a living by patrons, but they don’t look post + attractive for their business. “External services [like Patreon] The more options, the more benefits, the better price points and as a creator I like to choose how I present them to my audience. “

But the pebble subscription service is different in the collective eyes of Tumblr. For a site that thrives on Fandom, creators creating fan art and imagination worry that putting this derivative work behind Pavol – which Post + encourages them to do – will land in legal trouble. Even a large fanfiction site does not archive itself, prohibiting its users from linking to sites such as Petron or Co-Fi.

“Built-in monetization businesses, corporate accounts, usually attract people who come there to make money and provide other content to others,” the general-horoscope said. “It changes the culture of the platform.”

Around Tumblr, disgruntled users are rushing to their followers to take a post + response survey to express their frustration. The staff welcomes this.

“Like any new product launch, we expect a healthy discussion from our users that will change the dynamics of how special people use Tumblr,” a Tumblr spokesperson told TechCrunch. “All of this feedback will not be positive, and that’s okay. Constructive criticism fuels how we make products and will ultimately make Tumblr a better place. “

The Tumblr voice community has been empowered over the years to question whether new revenue streams through the platform seem so organic that it is possible to establish it. What makes Tumblr’s user support for the site seem protective – despite their lack of staff – that sets it apart from social media juggernauts like Facebook, which can put the e-commerce front and center without further scrutiny. But even after three years of devastating pornography bans, Tumblr’s growth seems difficult without removing the people who make the social network unique.

Platforms like Reddit and Discord float by selling digital goods like coins to reward top posters or special emojis. Each company’s financial needs are different, but Tumblr’s choice to monetize with Post + Highlights the company’s lack of understanding of the desires of its own community.