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Yahoo-Tumblr News Causes Miniscule Exodus of Tumblr Users

tumblr-logo[1]Yesterday’s news story that Yahoo had made an offer to buy Tumblr does not appear to be sitting well with a number of Tumblr users; some active opponents are now protesting the deal with a virtual walkout.

WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg reported on his blog last night that:

Imports have actually spiked on the rumors even though it’s Sunday: normally we import 400-600 posts an hour from Tumblr, last hour it was over 72,000.

I’m sure that a lot of the stories about this will make a big deal out of the spike, but it’s not all that large a figure when considered either in terms of Tumblr users or of the number of posts that service currently hosts.

A brief check of the Tumblr about page will show that Tumblr currently supports over 108 million different blogs that contain over 50 billion blog posts:

tumblr about page


Assuming the exodus remains constant at 72 thousand posts an hour, it will take close to 707 thousand hours (or over 29 thousand days) to transfer all the content off of Tumblr.

Suddenly that number is not so impressive, is it?

My point is that we have yet to see a serious negative reaction from more than a tiny vocal minority. While I expect the rate of exodus to increase, in absolute terms it’s really not all that amazing. And even if we assume that there are other Tumblr users fleeing to other services, we’re still not seeing a huge number of users abandoning the service.

If I were Tumblr I would not be concerned about the exodus until it reaches and holds at at least million posts an hour. That is still only a tithe of Tumblr users but it is also a significant number of the most active and most vocal members. A good part of the value of Tumblr is the community of users (and not just their content). The most active users are the linchpin of the community, and if they go elsewhere the community could wither on the vine.


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Joe Nonsense May 20, 2013 um 10:04 am

Well with WP 3.6 coming, bringing the additions of much better handling of post formats and themes dedicated to using the feature, migrations could increase dramatically.

Felix May 20, 2013 um 4:15 pm

Ah, but you’re assuming that all the Tumblr defectors are going to Only there are countless other places where they can go. Imagine this spike multiplied by a hundred, or a thousand — places who simply aren’t bragging about it. Yet.

Nate Hoffelder May 20, 2013 um 9:59 pm

Except there aren’t a hundred different good services to flee to. And given WordPress’s high profile, they probably account for a third of the fleeing, if not more.

Felix May 21, 2013 um 12:05 am

On the contrary, there is an infinity of good services, if you count all the providers where you can just get a shared hosting account and install WordPress yourself.

Nate Hoffelder May 21, 2013 um 8:59 am

Speaking as someone who has done just that, I think it is a lot more work than most people will want to bother with.

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