Tumblr Introduces Sponsored Posts to Dashboard, Some Users Complain

Tumblr dashboard - sponsored posts

Tumblr has added sponsored posts to its Web dashboard, and not all users are happy. Some are saying “told you so,” believing the move is somehow related to Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr.

In an official post on the Tumblr blog, VP of Sales Lee Brown explained, “Since we launched our first sponsored post on Tumblr Radar one year ago, we’ve been proud to see our partners bring their most creative work to Tumblr. Their posts have already earned more than 10 million likes and reblogs.”

“Today, we’ll start to bring sponsored posts to your Dashboard on the Web. Just like in our mobile apps, these posts will simply blend in with the posts from the blogs you follow,” Brown wrote.

Tumblr sponsored posts will be designated with a little dollar symbol in the upper right hand corner of the post.

The Push to Monetize Tumblr

For the uninitiated … the dashboard is the place you see when you log in to your own Tumblr account. It’s where you see posts of those you follow, or ones that Tumblr suggests.

In that respect it’s similar to the Twitter stream or the Facebook newsfeed. Inasmuch as sponsored content has infiltrated those areas on Twitter and Facebook, it’s hardly surprising that Tumblr has followed suit.

Nor is the concept of sponsored posts new to Tumblr. This recent announcement is merely an expansion of the number of places where you will see sponsored posts. As Lee noted, the platform launched its first sponsored posts a year ago on Tumblr Radar, which is the company’s Tumblr account.

In the Small Business Trends Tumblr dashboard we already see small sponsored ads from the Radar blog, on the right siderail (see image above with red arrows pointing to a sponsored message). We did not show you the new sponsored posts in the main column — simply because we have yet to see any in our dashboard stream.

This move would expand sponsored posts to appear not just on the siderail, but also in the main column mixed in with other posts of Tumblr blogs you follow.

This is in addition to sponsored posts that Tumblr introduced to its mobile app last month.

Reaction to Tumblr Sponsored Posts

TechCrunch reports that Tumblr founder David Karp had always planned to use sponsored posts to eventually monetize the site.

Nevertheless, some users blamed the change on the recent announcement that Yahoo would be acquiring Tumblr for $1.1 Billion.

Tumblr sponsored posts reaction #1

Others seemed simply not to care:

Tumblr sponsored posts reaction #1



Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

6 Reactions
  1. Shawn Hessinger

    Interesting news, Josh, and probably an inevitable reaction from at least some Tumblr users. Still, blaming the Yahoo deal at this point doesn’t make much sense. It seems a lot of this was already likely in the pipeline, and Tumblr, like all such “free” services, must have a revenue stream of some kind.

  2. The complaints seem to be coming from the younger users, based on what I saw a few days ago. Plus, I think it’s just human to resist change initially.

    Every business needs to eventually “sell out” if they want to advance their product. I think the “sell out” tag is a little harsh. Some people just envy another’s success and are usually the loudest.

    As long as the ads don’t interfere the experience, people will tolerate and eventually accept it as the norm. I had a hard time even getting a Sponsored Post to appear on my personal feed.

    • Anita Campbell

      Hi Josh,

      Yes, I imagine that some will complain, but soon they will forget. People put up with a lot in exchange for a free platform.

      – Anita

  3. Joshua,

    Changes like that will always yield negative remarks. But I agree with Anita, Tumblr users will be getting used to the ads and they will soon let it be. Some users will quit, but that’s the cost of acquisition and change of policies.

    And yes, Yahoo! does need to recoup its investment…

  4. It reminds me of how much everyone complains when Facebook changes the layout. They cry and want to go back to the last version…until the next update where they cry and want to stay on the version they so despised before. Anita hits it on the head. People will be very tolerant when the platform is free.