LOS ANGELES—Yahoo’s board of directors has voted to acquire Tumblr for a reported $1.1 billion. All Things Digital said yesterday the vote was taken at an undisclosed time, but that it was procedural anyway. “Sources close to the board said the acquisition was a foregone conclusion and was unanimously approved,” ATD reported.
While many reports have speculated on what Yahoo will do with all that porn, the supposed quandary was apparently not a significant consideration for the board. Saturday, Peter Kakfa mused on a few ways Yahoo could either deal with its new porn or dispose of it. Shortly after the news of the vote was leaked (i.e. unofficially announced), he received an email.
“Now that the deal is done,” he wrote in an update to his Saturday story, “a Tumblr backer has piped up to offer a more concise version of my argument: ‘Non-story. Tumblr is the Internet. It’s a dashboard follower model, opt-in.’ That would have saved me a bunch of typing!”
That sounds to us as if Yahoo will live with things as they are for a while. At least they know what they’re getting into. Interesting times.
In a conference call Monday morning, Yahoo CEO Melissa Mayer spoke directly if obliquely about the "porn question" in a way that should relieve any immediate concerns people might have that their non-brand safe Tumblr pages will be disabled anytime soon, if at all.
According to Huffington Post, Mayer on the call "emphasized that Yahoo wants to 'let Tumblr be Tumblr,' which she suggested would include allowing its numerous X-rated accounts to continue pumping out pornography undisturbed.
"Asked by an investor how Yahoo would balance user and advertiser interests with regard to Tumblr content that is 'not as brand safe as the rest of Yahoo' -- content that presumably includes posts by sexually explicit Tumblrs such as 'Red Hot Porn,' 'Porn and Weed' and 'Secretary Sex' -- Mayer noted that the diversity of Tumblr's content was 'exciting' because it allowed Tumblr, and by extension Yahoo, to reach a far wider audience."
Mayer did not use the word "pornography" during the call, HuffPo noted, but she nonetheless broke corporate ground by referring to adult fare on Tumblr in surprisingly positive terms. "I think the richness and breadth of content available on Tumblr—even though it may not be as brand safe as what's on our site—is what's really exciting and allows us to reach even more users," she said.
That truly is a remarkable atatement.