When acquisitions take place in the social media world, the new parent companies release statements proclaiming nothing will change. If previous evidence is to be believed, that is very rarely the case. While Tumblr has been part of the Yahoo network for two years, it has largely remained true to its users. However, rumor has it that some staff shuffling between Tumblr and Yahoo could result in changes for Tumblr.
Business Insider reports:
Yahoo is planning a big reorganization that will bring Tumblr more closely into the company, instead of allowing it to be run as a largely independent business unit.
Apparently, Tumblr is unlikely to meet a $100 million revenue goal set by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s this year. According to Business Insider sources, there are changes taking place that will result in Yahoo will be exerting tighter control over Tumblr’s monetization strategies, and the network may also be handed to Simon Khalaf, former CEO of Flurry.
This news released on the same day as a change to Tumblr’s dashboard, and users have been quick to blame Yahoo for perceived interference with the site. Tumblr has been largely independent since the acquisition, but it seems change is on the way.
None of this should come as a surprise. As with other acquisitions, it is only a matter of time before the new parent company exerts more power to realize return from their investments. Tumblr has already introduced ads, sponsored posts, and since October of last year has offered video ads. And of course, Tumblr users are none too happy about changes made to the site layout to accommodate these ads.
Tumblr’s story at Yahoo echoes a familiar pattern in tech acquisitions. Acquired companies are able to operate somewhat independently for a time, but eventually they are brought in line with the core brand. As these services are brought in line, support for third party apps and deference to the early adopter users decreases. Slowly the larger company brings all services in line, and audiences are expected to put up with the changes.
These changes often result in backlash; there’s no doubt that people hate change. It’s possible that Yahoo might alienate the Tumblr audience with its push for change, or the company will see the fruits of its acquisition in the form of more brands looking to engage with Tumblr users.