Dear Marissa and David,
Joe here. I’ve used all of Tumblr’s competitors extensively and I settled on Tumblr because it’s mindfully-designed, community-focused, and dead simple. The lack of ads helped, but more important to me than services with no ads are services that do have ads at least respecting their users enough to have decent ads.
Keep ads for The Bachelorette out of my dashboard feed. Please consider presenting users with relevant ads. Scan my blog, the tags i use, the words I like, the stuff I link to. After all, you own it. So look at it. Run it through an algorithm and spit out some sort of value which you can key to a set of sponsored posts that, based on their weighted relevance to my interests and the things I cover on my blog, may actually be interesting to me. This is more palatable to users and more valuable to advertisers than showing me some random woman running around on the beach.
Over and over again.
Despite my never clicking it or reblogging it or seeing it without making an angry face and swearing never to watch that goddamn show. This dashboard spam does not bode well for Tumblr’s future at Yahoo, and that makes me sad, because I like Tumblr, and I rather like both of your styles, to the extent I can know anything about them from reading things on the Internet or watching you do interviews.
You said you wouldn’t fuck this up, but the glut of sponsored posts in my feed tonight about something I’ve never given any corner of the web any reason to think I care about suggests otherwise. Turn it around while you still can.
Change Yahoo, change Tumblr a bit if you must, but why not change advertising and the typically adversarial relationship between advertisers and target audiences while you’re at it?
in other words, don’t shove bad ads in our faces. If we wanted that we would turn on the TV or some other medium that can only collect data in really clumsy inaccurate old ways.
You’ve disrupted plenty of things, why not this?
If you ever want more advice, get in touch. I’ve got lots of ideas.