Blogging, Technology, Tumblr, Wordpress

Get Yourself a Tumblelog Today!

Let’s move away from Twitter and make space for the new kid in the block, Tumblr! I’ve never really been fascinated by Twitter/Jaiku/Pownce because they lack the power of customization and are very restricted in their usage. Tumblr is a tumblelog that “slightly more structured blogs that make it easier, faster, and more fun to post and share stuff you find or create.” It’s a Twitter-meets-WordPress kind of thing, if you will. Most of you often find links, photos, videos or quotes that we would like to share and in case you don’t want to make it into a blog post, you can just post it to your tumblelog. So, technically, these are shorter than traditional blog posts, but longer than your Twitter updates. The sign up process is really simple and easy. All that you’ve got to do is enter an e-mail address, user name and password and you’re done! This is my Tumblr page, if you’re interested.

Tumblr has a number of amazing features that will make you want to get an account ASAP!

  1. Free domain mapping- How cool is that? Especially for WP.com users who pay $10 per year to get the same service.
  2. You can upload one MP3 song, less than 5 MB in size, every day! Yay!
  3. Embed videos directly from the internet or upload your own videos.
  4. You can also make a link post, that shares only a web page link.
  5. You can also share “chat conversations”. I haven’t tried this…but apparently, you can post chat transcripts from MSN/Gtalk/Yahoo/AOL etc.
  6. There are some really cool themes to choose from. Most of these themes are only single columned. This is the one of the major differences between having a full blown blog at WP.com/Blogger and having a tumblelog at Tumblr. But I did see a couple of two column themes (including A Bus Full of Hippies) too.
  7. Most of the themes are totally customizable. You can edit the CSS/HTML and add Java scripts.
  8. You can also “Follow”people, like you do in Twitter. Others can also follow you.
  9. Fully functional RSS feeds.
  10. Amazing “Archives” system- The way Tumblr archives all your posts is such a beauty. Just take a look at the Archives of any of the tumblelogs that have been featured on the Front Page.
  11. Upload your personalized avatar, which also doubles up as your tumblelog’s favicon.

Basically, there are no restrictions to what you can do. Feel free to write just a line updating your status or talking about something else, if you want to.

However, I did find some restrictions:

  1. As of now, there is no in-built comment system, but Tumblr does plan to introduce this very soon. But you can use a third party comment service provider, such as Haloscan or Disqus.
  2. I couldn’t find any way by which I can check the “Stats”. This is not really a drawback, because we need to understand that a tumblelog is different from a blog. So, we can’t really expect all the features. But yes, you can see the number of people who are following you. On second thoughts, I’m sure you can use Sitemeter or Google Analytics or a similar stats service easily, by adding the HTML code to the sidebar (in case you use a two column theme).

If you would like to know about Tumblr, then take a look at the Help page. I signed up for their service two weeks back, but didn’t start using it until today. I’ll be regularly adding lots of things to it.

Edit: Just found an interview by Tech Confidentialย  where David Karp says that 40% of the traffic comes from referrals.

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25 thoughts on “Get Yourself a Tumblelog Today!

  1. Actually, I saw that website only today because timethief has shifted her WP Help blog onto Tumblr and it does seem kind of interesting and the features do seem to die for. Will try it as soon as I have more time on my hands.

  2. Ruhi:

    I agree with Poonam. The font is a tad hard to read. Please to reconsider ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also – with all these platforms, I cannot help but ask that crucial question: monetisation is happening HOW?? Until they cross the bridge, businesses may not see any use for them.

  3. Ish- Yeah, it’s freaking awesome! I wouldn’t shift my blog there, but I’m definitely going to be doing lots of short updates at Tumblr because there are so many interesting bits that I come across all the time and I don’t have enough material to convert them to a post. I totally got sold out when I read that we can even upload one song Every_Day! If you take a look at the other tumblelogs, you’ll notice that they are more of a video/music/quotes small tidbits kind of log and it really works very well when you don’t have the time to blog.

    Plus, there is a small bookmarklet that can be used with the browser and you can post stuff as you surf. ๐Ÿ™‚ Please get yourself an account ASAP!

    Poonam- Oh you have? That’s cool! I haven’t come across anyone at WP.com using it. Check out some of the featured tumblelogs on the front page…I really liked them.

    Sorry about the fonts- didn’t realize that they were so difficult to read. I’ve changed the font family. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Shefaly- Just made the changes. It should be fine now (Except for the Large Caps in the Sidebar; don’t know how to get rid of that. Hopefully, someone will be able to tell me).

    Even I don’t know how they are monetizing their small ventures. Most of them seem to have been started by 2-3 techies staying somewhere in the Silicon Valley. Businesses- if you mean the IT Industry- love these kind of small start ups. See what happened to Youtube ๐Ÿ™‚ From what I can see, the founders try to support their start up businesses as long as they can, and then look for a buyout. Don’t know how else they make money. I know that Tumblr received around $750,000 sometime back and this helped David Karp a lot with the development. Take a look at his tumblelog . And while you are there, click on this link where NY Observer has interviewed David Karp and asked him about the monetization part and how he’s making money. That should answer your question.

  4. thanks for the post. i plan to sign up soon just for the heck of it, but that free domain mapping thing really interests me. i still think wp.com can’t be beat from the community sense.

    changed skins again, have you? i love the flowers at the bottom. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Sulz- Even I signed up just for the heck of it two weeks back and started using it yesterday and it’s really good for sharing small stuff ๐Ÿ™‚ The domain mapping is something that’s realllly cool. I do have a domain lying around; so I’m going to use that.

    Yes, I changed the skin yesterday! The flowers look so pretty to me. Btw, you can use the Bus Full of Hippies theme in your tumblelog for free. Someone ported it to the tumblr format.

  6. ooh, nice! but i think i’d want to try something new there. ๐Ÿ™‚ going to sign up end of this month (i have a thing for dates. 31 jan 2008 sounds nicer than 20 jan 2008 ๐Ÿ˜› ).

    Sulz: When I saw the Bus Full of Hippies theme for Tumblr, you were the first person that came to my mind and thought that you will love it, in case you don’t renew your Custom CSS thing in March. ๐Ÿ™‚ Signing up at the end of the month sounds crazy! LOL. Anyway, I’m happy that you’ll be signing up. So, I got two people to sign up- You and Ish.

  7. @ Ruhi: Thanks for changing the font.

    As for “..the founders try to support their start up businesses as long as they can, and then look for a buyout. Donโ€™t know how else they make money”, that is not what I wanted to find out.

    Selling up is the VCs’ and the Founders’ exit strategy; that is not how the business makes money. In fact, lawsuits on IP violation grew tremendously since Google bought YouTube, now that YouTube is now owned by a company with deep pockets rather than being a poor start-up. So Google won’t make money off YouTube for a long time.

    As far as I know there is no strategy to make money apart from advertising.

    As a parallel between Facebook and LinkedIn, I know the latter makes money and clearly does that through subscriptions, job ads placed by companies and additional services such as InMail. They also sometimes allow companies to sponsor specific areas of their Answers section. There are some other sponsored links on profile pages now as well. And sponsored news streams. Groups are also charged for higher levels of service. All these things make money for the business, not for the founder’s pocket.

    I am not sure how these businesses survive except by draw-down on VC money and VCs do not care for creative businesses, just a rapid exit with a stonking multiplier..

    Too bad.

  8. Shefaly,

    As far as I know there is no strategy to make money apart from advertising.

    These small firms often sell a part to VC firms. This is not necessarily an “exit” strategy. If you read the link that I posted in my earlier comment, then you must be aware that Karp sold 25% of Tumblr to a small group of investors for 750,00$. Right now, there are no ads from what I can see. But in the future, they do plan to introduce ads and some premium memberships.

    The user base of Tumblr is still very small – only around 200k, wheras FB and LI are very big. I don’t think we should be comparing the two. By the time Tumblr reaches that stage, it will definitely introduce advertising and other paid services.

    About the Google buying Youtube bit- I had predicted that right then that Youtube won’t be the same and the price that Google has paid is way too much. Google paid a premium to keep the competition out. Google Videos never did that well. They didn’t want Yahoo to buy Youtube and even MSN was introducing Soapbox that time. And now, we know that Soapbox sucks. Anyway, they can afford it. A company that has billions of dollars in hard cash in its balance sheet can afford ‘wasting’ some money during the rapid expansion phase, right?

  9. @ Ruhi:

    I did not say that getting VC money in is the exit strategy. It is for neither party. I said: “Selling up is the VCsโ€™ and the Foundersโ€™ exit strategy” in which case it is selling to someone else in a transaction, a trade sale or an IPO.

    What you call “selling” 25% is an equity investment from the VCs. It does not make money for founders; it valuates the firm notionally, and for the founder to own 100% of zip is not better than owning 75% of say $3M valuation, so he gives away equity.

    The funds thus obtained provide money to fund its operations – not make him richer as the link above suggests – and then the VCs expect to see a multiplier through enhanced intrinsic value in the firm. This enhanced value has to be delivered through regular operations. Both the founder and the VC make money when there is an IPO or a trade sale.

    All this still does not tell me how the ongoing operations make money for the company. What is the business model? How is the revenue made and what are the plans to grow it?

    “I donโ€™t think we should be comparing the two.” Are you saying that they should only think of making money when they have a lot of subscribers? Before that what?

    I have spent years advising both investor and investee companies, and the lack of focus on robust business models – and too much focus on exit strategy – is what sank the ship the last time around too. Serious clients still want to know these companies will be around before that invest their time – even when they are sitting on piles of hard cash – in any of the technologies.

    The trouble with techie businesses is too soon they become so enamoured of their own technology that they forget that the real purpose of a company is to make money, not to exist, not to ‘enable dialogue’ or some such lofty BS.

  10. @ Shefaly:

    //The funds thus obtained provide money to fund its operations – not make him richer as the link above suggests – and then the VCs expect to see a multiplier through enhanced intrinsic value in the firm.

    Yes, that’s exactly what I meant.

    //All this still does not tell me how the ongoing operations make money for the company.

    Haha! Most of these operating-from-a-small-apartment start ups hardly make any money, from what I know. It has zero revenue.

    They just won a Crunchie for Viral Marketing. I haven’t seen any formal business model till now. From what I can understand, they plan to grow their user base to a million by the end of this year and are ‘not worried about money for 15 months’. How feasible this is, I really don’t know! I would love to see some plans of expansion and I haven’t seen anything substantial so far. Neither have I heard anything about revenue generation in the mean time. All that I’ve read about is the infusion of capital from some investors.

    Probably they want to make do with that investment until they get more users and then start looking into ads and paid services? They are too afraid of losing their small user base now…that is what it looks like…is this really a good move? I don’t know.

    If they have a decent user base, then roping in some great advertisements shouldn’t be a problem.

    Are you saying that they should only think of making money when they have a lot of subscribers? Before that what?

    No, that is not what I meant. You gave an example of how FB and LI are making money right now. Tumblr is still very small and doesn’t even have the user base that FB and LI have. Tumblr will take a long time to reach there- at least a year (optimistically speaking). Have you taken a look at Soup, Pownce, Twitter or Jaiku? None of them have the kind of money that FB and LI have.

    that they forget that the real purpose of a company is to make money, not to exist, not to โ€˜enable dialogueโ€™ or some such lofty BS.

    I don’t know how that’s happening in this cas e. I see zilch services from where they could be making money.

  11. @ Ruhi

    Not worrying about money for 15 months gives the company a burn rate of $50K a month (assuming 750K is all he has got) – which is a tad much for a company operating from a kitchen table. I would love to see the breakdown of costs – although a chunk must go to server and hosting costs, and the rest must be marketing and indeed things that pass for marketing. You just gave him free PR!

    I gave an example of LI because it at least had a clear revenue model from the start. FB’s advertising activity is increasing but frankly except when I am researching a product, I have never clicked on an ad link. I do not know people who do either.

    It seems every generation is now going to see a boom-bust cycle in their lifetime – on internet time which is 7 times faster than human time. ๐Ÿ™‚ It is the turn of the 20-somethings now.

  12. Shefaly- I know I gave him free PR, but I really liked the service. We can mash up all our feeds- so it can serve as a “mega feed”. Also, it’s much easier posting random things I come across while surfing using the bookmarklet. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh God, look at me…I really talk like a techie.

    We might never know the breakdown of costs. And you know the funny thing? Tumblr is accepting resumes! Haha…Karp and only one other guy are full time employees. He has two other part time employees.

    I have never clicked on those FB ads or LI ads either. I would like to meet some people who do click on them though- to learn what they really “perceive”.

  13. Pingback: Case for Tumblr « Changing Way

  14. Shefaly- ROFL. I have seen this video tons of times, but it’s one of the best out there. The funniest part is “Blog, blog blog all you can..” And then they show Scoble writing something on the white board to the tune of “Blog even when you are wrong”. ๐Ÿ˜‰ How appropriate is that?

  15. ROFL, that video is hilarious. They even have Scoble naked, omg that was the best. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Ruhi: Seeing Scoble naked can never be a good thing. ๐Ÿ˜›

  16. anurag.s says:

    @ R & Shefaly: Can you enlighten me about the basic biz-model of web2 businesses..like how do they make money…I am more of a brick and mortar man, who knows how money is made in real business…but how do these guys make money..who pays them, why do they them,,,and all that…
    it would be of great help…

  17. anurag.s says:

    GOOGLE has too much of information…and sifting thru them is a kala ‘art’…
    arre ha… any ebook link for that sondi & white book…. i have been following damodaran…

    Ruhi: search on esnips.com. Damodaran is also a good book. Btw, if you want to talk about CFA, then comment on my other blog or email me. ๐Ÿ™‚ let’s not highjack this thread.

  18. Agreed seeing him naked can’t be a great thing but it’s funny. He’s actually got skin! I thought he would be all microchips and processors under the clothes! ๐Ÿ˜›

  19. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day.
    It’s always helpful to read articles from other authors and practice something from their websites.

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