The recent acquisition of upstart Tumblr, the popular blogging platform, by legacy search engine Yahoo, created a flood of headlines and news items.
While the deal stands to make David Karp, the young founder of Tumblr very rich, once again, the lesson I learn from these types of mergers and shifts is priceless. And the lesson is this: If you are going to put any time, effort or money into your own website or blog, you have to own it.
MONETIZING YOUR READERS
As the six million bloggers who have built their online presence on the free blogging platform will soon find out over the weeks and months ahead, Tumblr will be pressured into monetizing all those users who have been building their online homes for free on the service. The rent will have to be paid.
And by “paid,” I mean the likelihood of accepting ads on your site. While it’s too early to know at this point what type of ad spaces or programs will be rolled out across the vast network of blogs the ads are coming in some way, shape or form. Ads that you may or may not have any control over.
I totally get that Yahoo bought Tumblr in order to instantly increase their street cred in the social media space. And just like Facebook has stumbled in monetizing it’s millions (or is it billions now?) of users, Tumblr may have similar issues in integrating Madison Avenue marketing across the Wild West Tumblr platform.
DON’T BE SEDUCED
So what does this mean to you?
As we’ve said over and over, if you’re any degree of serious about your online presence, you need to own your own website/blog lock, stock and barrel. Having a Tumblr site — however easy to use and wonderful it may be (we even have one, too) , is like renting your home not owning. Anything can happen — it can be changed, sold or altered in any way the owner chooses and you are at the mercy of those decisions. Remember GeoCities? Yahoo bought that popular free website business in 1999 and then shut it down a few years later. I’m not saying the same thing will happen in this case, but who really knows?
So do yourself a favor and invest in your own business by owning your own website. Owning your own site really means hosting your own site. And with hosting costs averaging about $120 a year or less, can you really afford not to?