Yahoo! – Tumblr, Flickr and then some… ?

If you think Facebooks acquisition of Instagram involved an incredibly large amount of money, think again: As of yesterday, Yahoo! has announced to acquire Tumblr for an amount of money even larger. Things to follow are more or less as expected: Y!’s Marissa Mayer promises to not screw things up and some sites, such as wordpress.com, obviously sees the first users fleeing from Tumblr in course of that.

Hmmm. I am not sure what to think of that. Leaving the amounts of money involved here aside for a moment: I am curious to see how this will, in the end, turn out for both Yahoo! and Tumblr. Especially, I wonder whether it will keep running Tumblr the way it used to run by now, assuming that, these days, it seems Yahoo! is perceived by many as “just” a large corporate structure, and this also can be seen all along the lines of the Tumblr acquisition: In the past, many people (including myself) obviously used Tumblr as sort of a digital representation of a napkin for collecting images, snippets of text, quotes and anything else that in some way seemed worth noting or collecting. There wasn’t a real understanding of or identity associated with Tumblr, it just was “Tumblr”. By now, all of a sudden, it is next to Yahoo!, and the message that comes across is a whole load of analysts talking fuzz about Yahoo! utilizing Tumblr to “extend its service offerings to that younger target group so far attracted by Tumblr yet not reached by Yahoo!s other offerings” – yes, maybe Yahoo! will benefit from people perceiving Tumblr as “fresh”, “innovative” and “creative”; but maybe, worse, Tumblr will suffer from people perceiving Yahoo! as a business-first operation that didn’t feel “innovative” or “fresh” at all throughout at least half of the last decade..

In the end, it’s just guessing, and we’ll see what will happen to both. After all, if there’s anyone out there likely to push Yahoo! forth, it definitely might be Marissa Mayer. And, maybe, in the end, they’ll do well after all, as the Tumbl acquisition wasn’t the only thing that changed at Yahoo! yesterday: It seems that, without too much ado, Flickr has seen a major update technically, both the web version and at the very least the Android app (can’t comment on the iOS one). As to be expected, there’s already quite a dispute going on in the Flickr forums on whether this is or ain’t a good thing visually. In the end, it seems the first major update in quite a while, and by now it finally is on par with what other inferior photo sharing communities tend to offer these days. Visually well done, at least, and I am sure this way they got all it takes to attract new users.

Unfortunately, all along the way, they removed their original “Pro” / paid subscription model, turning it into an annual fee to “just” keep you from seeing any advertisement in your stream. I seriously hope this will see reconsideration as, before, “Pro” was all about paying for service and getting something in advance, and be that just for being a “paying customer” and not completely at the mercy of a commercial provider. I just refreshed Flickr Pro a while ago, and thought I’ll keep doing so in the future, too. Again I am unsure…

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