It’s been a wild ride the past year for Marissa Mayer, the ex-Google executive and current President & CEO of Yahoo!. She took over a near-dead company in Yahoo! and begun a process to bring the once eminent tech giant back to prominence. Some of her decisions have included modifying the company culture, cutting part of its global workforce, and streamlining Yahoo! apps to remove the dead weight (while at the same time building new interactive applications, such as the new Yahoo! weather app that has a superb user experience component). However, she made gigantic shock-waves unrivaled by any other decision during the course of her tenure when the company announced the acquisition of the popular social media and blogging platform, Tumblr, for an impressive $1.1 Billion.
Social Media World Rages over the Acquisition
Immediately after the deal was announced, social media sites went ablaze with negative criticism, lamenting this potential disaster. As a popular social blogging platform, Tumblr has quickly risen to prominence as a source of highly interactive multimedia content, as well as a community of bloggers seeking an alternative to the WordPresses and Blogspots of the online world. Within the realm of social media, it’s normal for loyal users to panic when their favourite sites are acquired by larger corporations: in fact, this was similar to when Google purchased YouTube and Facebook purchased Instagram.
“Promises Not to Screw It Up”
Yahoo! anticipated the rampant criticism coming their way by prefacing their official press release with one simple line: Promises Not to Screw It Up. Unfortunately, commencing a press release with a promise not to mess up will not easily quell the fear of regular users. With more than 300 Million monthly unique visitors, Yahoo! needs to ensure that it has a strategic plan in place to monetize Tumblr’s traffic, while at the same time keeping the user experience relatively unchanged. Mayer seems to realize the potential backlash of this deal, promising to let “Tumblr be Tumblr”.
Potential for Yahoo!
This could either be a breakthrough deal for Yahoo!, or it could be the death knell of the former search engine marketing giant. For Tumblr, this is an opportunity to make the platform more robust and add to it’s existing set of features…but more likely than not, it’s a chance for CEO and founder, David Karp, to cash-in big time. For Yahoo!, it provides long-term potential in two forms: (1) owning a social media networking hub, and (2) lucrative opportunities through selling advertising space. Yahoo! can now boast that it owns one of the largest social media sites, giving it a golden goose to compete with Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Additionally, it provides Yahoo! with a site that attracts more than 300M unique monthly visitors, translating into a potential goldmine for online advertising revenue streams and cross-promotional activities to keep Yahoo! relevant in this digital age.
Image credit to Mashable.