Between that moment and attracting investors including Richard Branson and the
110million or so blogs it now hosts, Karp has built a site often described
as in his own image. “The last thing we want to do is compete with someone.
That’s for bankers,” he told the New York Times.
Today 20billion or so monthly page views are driven by an eclectic mixture of
charts, entertainment, celebrity and ephemera. It’s an online scrapbook that
boils the web down into what Tumblr’s users think are the most interesting
The attraction to Yahoo is both that young crowd and the fact that Tumblr has
not yet thoroughly monetised its proposition. Karp has often said he doesn’t
see the business as about selling page views but rather about a way of
getting to a valuable, targeted audience.
It remains to be seen if Yahoo is the company to make that happen, but Karp
has reportedly committed to stay at the business for at least four years.
His theories, for instance that comment sections online bring out the worst
in people, often ring true, but it will be a brave corporation that lets him
stick with them. And key to that may be the most challenging for this
relationship: in 2010 Karp said traditional web advertising, on which Yahoo!
is founded, “really turns our stomachs”.