Microblogging has been a booming success for Twitter but a bust for many other start-ups that jumped on the bandwagon. An exception to this is Tumblr, who seemed to fill the gap between 140 characters and a full service blogging platform. Tumblr has experienced steady growth since its launch in 2007. The latest traffic stats from Compete report that Tumblr received nearly 2.5 million uniques and 7 million visits for the month of April.
David Karp, founder of Tumblr, touts the stylish tumblelogging platform as “sexy as hell” but the design is not the only sexy thing about Tumblr these days. In fact, many of Tumblr’s most popular blogs are producing content for mature audiences only. Traffic data from Quantcast shows that 16/20 (80%) of the top blogs at Tumblr are primarily focused toward publishing adult content. What’s more, a few of those are quite disturbing and may even border on unlawful depending on the jurisdiction. It is currently unknown whether or not if Tumblr’s staff is aware of such activities.
Quantcast’s demographical data suggest that Tumblr may be attracting the wrong type of users for its blogging platform. According to Quantcast, visitors not only have any affinity for adult content on Tumblr but on other sexually suggestive sites as well. Tumblr’s audience is comprised primarily of young adult males that have an affinity for a variety of things such as humor, politics, science, men, fashion, and teens. Albeit Quantcast, like every traffic measurement solution, isn’t perfect there appears to be a clear trend for adult content publishing at Tumblr.
Ning, a roll-your-own social networking platform, recently purged itself of adult content publishers. This occurred after receiving heat from the press, possibly being in violation of Google AdSense’s terms of service (no adult content allowed), and in lieu of Gina Bianchini’s comments that adult social networks don’t pull their own weight in terms of generating revenue for Ning. In Tumblr’s case, however, the Google AdSense terms of service (TOS) may not be relevant as it doesn’t appear that Tumblr is serving ads via Google. The ads that are being served on these Tumblr blogs are more inline with the content that they display (i.e. adult, mature) and done so by their owners (not Tumblr). The crux of the matter may hinge on whether or not users are permitted to display advertising on their Tumblr blogs at all.
Interestingly, Tumblr’s own TOS states that, “Subscriber represents, warrants and agrees that it will not contribute any Subscriber Content that”… “(d) is libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, abusive, indecent, threatening, harassing, hateful, offensive or otherwise violates any law or right of any third party”. Of course the question is: what’s Tumblr’s definition of pornographic, indecent, or offensive and are these blogs in violation of Tumblr’s TOS? For that answer, we’ll have to wait and hear what Tumblr’s people have to say about it, but for now I would like to hear your thoughts on the issue. Are these Tumblr-hosted blogs pornographic and in violation of Tumblr’s own TOS? Do you think they are offensive or indecent? If so, what do you think Tumblr should do about this, if anything?If you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page or subscribe to our NetworkedBlogs profile.
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