So, as many of you may know, Yahoo’s board yesterday approved the purchase of Tumblr by Yahoo for the sum of $1.1 billion. Many users went absolutely mad about the announcement and someone went as far as to create a Tumblr page to show all of people’s rage. Considering that Yahoo is still considered to be a search engine, most people just don’t understand how a company like Yahoo could take something like Tumblr and make it even better.
That is, until today. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, yesterday said that she would not screw up Tumblr, but Tumblr is a very unique social media website where people post funny things, both appropriate and inappropriate and they get reshared time and time again. Tumblr is the perfect example of viral media. Yahoo understands this, but at the same time needs to be careful not to disturb what makes Tumblr fundamentally popular and viral.
She stated, "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."
Up until today’s Flickr announcement I really had no idea whether or not Yahoo could be trusted with Tumblr. Flickr used to be THE place where photographers would post their photos in the best quality possible and it was simply the best place to find the best photos on earth. What happened over the course of the last few years was that Flickr became stale, their prices remained flat and their platform stale. People started to leave Flickr for sites like 500px that had newer, fresher interfaces and easier ways to make their content viewable and presentable.
Today’s New Flickr announcement really shows what the new Yahoo under Marissa Mayer is all about. Content. Yahoo didn’t just change the interface that Flickr uses and make it look better. They also gave users 1TB of free photo storage, which enables people to use Flickr as their sole source of photography storage AND sharing. What this means is that users will upload all of their photos to Flickr and share them using Flickr, which will drive traffic to Flickr like never before. By giving people 1TB for free, they enable the content creators to drive traffic to the site and focus on quality.
In my own personal experience, I have been a user of Flickr since 2008. In that time, I slowly began to move away from the site for the reasons mentioned above. However, with today’s 1TB announcement and the new interface for both the web and mobile, they’ve won me back. Not only that, but I’ll be posting all of my photos to Flickr in full resolution and then sharing them to Facebook, so they can’t be butchered by Facebook’s photo algorithms. I also like their business model, which is to give you 1TB for free and to offer you to get ad free for $50. You can also double your storage to 2TB by paying $499 a month. This second option will likely only be used by professionals, but 2TB in the cloud is an awesome off-site backup solution to support anyone’s 3-tiered backup system for images.
Their mobile app overhaul is similar to what they did with the website, however, their mobile app was in a little better condition than the website was. The most recent iteration of the mobile app was somewhat of a metro-style interface that seemed like they had built a Windows Phone application and then ported it to Android and iOS. Now, this new app feels unique and complementary to the web interface, the experience actually feels very similar and natural. Also, I was browsing around the web app and noticed that some of my panorama photos actually had their aspect ratio preserved, which made me really happy because Facebook butchers them into tiny images to make them fit.
Overall, I’m very happy with what Yahoo has done with Flickr, yes it did take them some time, but I’m more than impressed. Now that they’ve spent a billion on Tumblr, I’m interested to see what they can do with Tumblr to make it better, because they’ve clearly done that with Flickr and lots of photographers and regular people alike are very happy today.