David Karp, the 26-year-old founder of the blogging tool and social network, Tumblr, has a unique idea about the ways a blog should look and function. The website does not display “follower” counts, and most of the interaction occurs on the “dashboard,” behind the scenes, as opposed to on someone’s profile page.
According to a profile of Karp done recently by the New York Times, the young entrepreneur wants advertisers to view the blogging space as an area to promote creative campaigns to a valuable audience. He does not agree with the optimization of services method that drive Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Karp has made Tumblr the way he wanted, so-much-so that his first employee, Marco Arment, told the Times that, “Tumblr is David.”
Thus far, Tumblr has been used to make up more than 60 million blogs with combined page views of 17.5 billion a month. The site does not contain a comments section, due to the fact that Karp thinks it tends to “bring out the worst in people,” and he prefers to take features out rather then add more and more with each updated version of the site. Though, users can reblog a post and add their own input, it only shows up on their blog, not the original poster’s blog. Karp did this because, as he told the Times, “If you’re going to be a jerk, you’re looking like a jerk in your own space, and my space is still pristine. That’s how you can design to make a community more positive.”
Last year, the site was valued at $800 million, but is, like many other Web companies, facing complications with raising money for the site. Just before Facebook’s valuation, Karp began to talk about advertising, something he had never before considered. thus far, the company has made some of their money off of collecting data that advertisers want, but has not yet allowed direct advertisements onto the site. The company currently has over 100 employees, and its office is located in the Flatiron District in Manhattan.
Karp’s current solution to combining advertising with the aesthetics that Tumblr is centered around is to force advertisers to be just as creative as the Tumblr community. Tumblr has signed on a number of sponsors, like Adidas and Calvin Klein, that have generated more than $150,000 in revenue in one month. Brands can now elevate their presence on the website by sponsoring the site. This approach may seem to “breezily marginalize” the advertising strains that have demolished other companies, but Karp asserted, “ the emphasis on feeling over data is exactly what made Tumblr popular.”