Reading about Yahoo’s acquisition of tumblr at least creates some notional hope in my mind that I may have contributed to the blogging site’s $1.1 billion cash price tag. After all, I have so far written 958 posts on the tumblr edition my blog. If I could quantify my share from $1.1 billion, I would write to David Karp to send me at least a quarter, as in 25 cents.
As someone who has created content for over three decades, I find it extraordinary that I too am a sucker for blogging sites and social networking sites such as Facebook by offering them content absolutely free. I can understand that those who do not write for a living indulge themselves by expressing half-baked opinions about everything under the sun. (Never mind the paradox of opinions not getting fully baked under the sun.)
There is no excuse for a professional like me to get lured into the same trap. And yet, here I am, morning after morning for close to five years* without missing a day, writing this blog for zero remuneration. The only thing that explains this idiocy is that I treat my blog as an appetizer that sets me up for my other writing that does actually pay. There is, of course, an element of exhibitionism that propels such steadfast commitment to daily blogging.
Coming back to the acquisition, it is obvious what motivated Yahoo! to reportedly put down $1.1 billion in front of Karp and his investors. Yahoo! wants to reclaim some of its online primacy and sees in tumblr a reservoir of the demographics that might help the company. According to Quantcast, which measures websites in terms of their user base, Tumblr had 216.9 million global users. It is that user base that Yahoo! covets.
News reports suggest that tumblr’s ad revenues in 2012 were $13 million and the company had hope to generate $100 million in ad revenues this year. That target may have been very hard to achieve. Mercifully for tumblr, the Yahoo deal is on the verge of being announced. By acquiring tumblr’s 217 million global users, Yahoo! hopes to buy what it reasons is a commercially exploitable demographic resource.
I like to think I have the craftiness to use the platform provided by the various blogging sites to my advantage. Of course, I have no empirical evidence to support that claim. The only advantage, if one can call it that, is that blogging keeps you alive/current/relevant on the net. Perhaps as a professional journalist that visibility has an eventual commercial consequence. The idea is that those who might like to commission me as a ghost writer or simply to offer me an occasional assignment may choose to go through my writings on these blogs and feel sufficiently aroused to try and consummate the relationship. Excuse the sexual undertones but it is just an online trick to draw more traffic.
Speaking of online traffic, I have just signed up with Quantcast to quantify traffic to my various sites. One of the cool tools that Quantcast offers is my very own, “private” real-time tracker that lets me view who is coming to my site. I have monitored it for about 30 minutes at the time of writing this post. The result? Not a soul has shown up. It is a desolate place so far where an unsuspecting occasional surfer might crash.
*Including today, I have written 1806 posts on my Typepad blog. That makes it about five years.